Modern medicine is a wonderful example of human progress. Many previously dreaded conditions can now be dealt with by a simple course of antibiotics or other advanced drugs. However, scientific progress doesn’t have to mean rejecting all the old ways out of hand, and many traditional remedies can still have powerful benefits for everyday health and the treatment of illness. One of these popular alternative remedies is Essiac tea, a deceptively simple combination of wild herbs with some remarkable properties.
What is Essiac tea?
Essiac tea is an ancient herbal mixture which was rediscovered for western medicine in the 1920s by a Canadian nurse, Rene Caisse (her surname is spelled backwards gives rise to Essiac’s name).
It was first used as an oral or intravenous treatment for cancer sufferers to relieve their symptoms, slow down the progression of the disease, and generally improve the quality of the patients’ lives.
Following the wide success of the treatment, the formula was refined and developed over years of research and clinical trials with Caisse’s medical partner, Dr Charles Brusch, who later became the personal physician of President John F. Kennedy.
The main Essiac tea ingredients
The basic formulation of Essiac is a blend of four wild herbs which grow in Ontario, Canada. These wilderness herbs have a long history of use in the traditional medicines of the Ojibwa indigenous people, and they consist of the following.
- Burdock root, rich in vitamin A and selenium, and thought to stimulate a healthy immune system while improving digestion.
- Indian or Turkish rhubarb root, a gentle laxative and powerful detoxifier, particularly of the liver.
- Sheep sorrel, another detoxifier, this time mainly of the kidneys through its diuretic properties.
- Slippery elm inner bark, believed to reduce mucus build up throughout the body, improve digestion, and soothe inflammation of tissues and organs.
While these four herbs form the foundation of the Essiac remedy, it’s not unusual to find extra herbs or plant extracts added to the basic mixture to tweak the benefits in a particular direction. These added ingredients often include red clover, watercress, kelp, and blessed thistle.
What are the health benefits of Essiac tea?
The Essiac formula is widely recommended by herbal medicine experts for use in the treatment of cancer, along with many immune disorders.
It’s important to note that while Essiac has a strong following and many devotees, it should be viewed as a treatment that’s most effective alongside standard medicine and not a replacement for it.
That said, adding Essiac tea to your health regimen can offer the following powerful benefits.
- Boosts your immune system to more effectively fight many conditions.
- Reduces tissue inflammation and relieves pain.
- Improves gastrointestinal function.
- Detoxifies your body and removes waste compounds.
- Helps to boost cellular repair and renewal, important in the treatment of cancer.
How often should you drink it?
The amount of Essiac tea you should consume depends on the reason you’re taking it. If you’re using it as a preventative measure, as an aid in keeping your immune system in good shape, or to relieve the symptoms of minor ailments, then a dosage of around two ounces a day is recommended.
However, for treating serious complaints such as cancer, the dosage can rise to three ounces taken three times daily. To repeat, it’s important that this should be in addition to conventional treatment for chronic or acute conditions, and you should speak to your physician before taking any serious treatment decisions.
It’s also important to note that high dosages can have occasional moderate side effects in some people. These can include nausea and intestinal problems, thanks to Essiac’s powerful effects on the digestive system, and for this reason it’s not recommended for use while pregnant or breastfeeding.
Can you make your own?
Although the specific formulations used in commercial Essiac products are generally kept as trade secrets, it’s perfectly possible to enjoy the benefits of this herb combination by putting together your own tea. It will be just as effective, and most likely cheaper.
Homemade Essiac tea recipe
To do this, mix together the following ingredients in a sealable jar before storing in a cool, dark place.
- 28oz cut burdock root.
- 16oz powdered sheep sorrel.
- 4oz powdered slippery elm bark.
- 1oz powdered Indian or Turkish rhubarb root.
To make the tea, stir one ounce of the mixed herbs into 32 ounces of water in a saucepan, bring to the boil, and cook on a high heat for 10 minutes while covered. Leave the mixture to cool, preferably overnight.
The next day, bring the tea back to just short of boiling point, then strain it finely into sterilized bottles and leave to cool.
Store the result in a cool place out of direct sunlight, refrigerate after opening, and use as needed.
Increasing numbers of people believe that complementary medicine can play an important role in promoting health and well-being, used as a valuable aid to scientific medicine as part of a holistic approach. Essiac tea is esteemed by thousands of alternative medicine devotees, and its many reputed benefits make it a choice well worth exploring if you want