Essiac tea is an herbal tea used to treat cancer. It was made famous by a Canadian nurse by the name of Renee Caisse (1888 - 1978). She said she got the recipe for Essiac tea from an Indian healer after he used it to cure the breast cancer of Caisse's friend.

The name "Essiac" is "Caisse" spelled backwards. Renee Caisse used Essiac tea as a cancer treatment at her clinic in Bracebridge, Ontario from 1935 to 1942 when it was closed down by government authorities. Despite the lack of scientific evidence, many people claim their cancer has been cured or that they have obtained relief from their suffering by using Essiac tea.

Although the original recipe for Essiac tea is not known, it consists primarily of Burdock, Indian Rhubarb, Sorrel, and Slippery Elm. All of these four plants are known to have anti-cancer properties, although Essiac tea has never been proven as a cancer cure.

Japanese studies have identified an anti-mutation compound in burdock root, and another compound found in burdock called Benzaldehyde is known to be an effective cancer treatment.

Animal studies have pointed to compounds found in Indian Rhubarb as having anti-cancer properties. Some of these same compounds are also found in Sorrel.

Slippery Elm contains small amounts of beta-sitosterol and polysaccharide. Both of these substances are effective against leukemia.

Some researchers believe that Essiac tea contains anti-cancer properties but that the doses are too small to be effective for treating human cancer. Larger doses of Essiac tea are not practical since they have a purgative effect.

Despite the lack of evidence Essiac remains one of the most popular alternative cancer treatments. There are widespread anecdotal reports on its effectiveness, but many of these reports were from patients receiving mainstream treatment while using Essiac. Any cancer patients who would like to try Essiac tea are advised to use it as a supplement to their regular treatment program.

Essiac Tea Recipe 

Essiac tea is inexpensive and easy to prepare. There are several companies which claim to have the "original" recipe, but Caisse never revealed the formula. Those who wish to make their own Essiac tea can follow this simple recipe:

Mix together

1/2 cup cut Burdock root
3/8 cup powdered Sheep Sorrel        
2 heaping tablespoons powdered Slippery Elm bark
1 teaspoon powdered Indian rhubarb

Mix the ingredients well and add them to 2 gallons of boiling water. Boil at a reduced heat for 10 minutes then cover the pot and let it sit in a cool spot for 10 - 12 hours. Re-heat it to just below the boiling point then strain the tea and pour it into sterilized bottles. Keep refrigerated until used.