Originally from Canada, Essiac tea is an herbal remedy that was discovered for its many benefits when a nurse named Renee Caisse, started promoting it about 100 years ago.
She claimed that the remedy had been given to her by an Ontario Ojibwa patient she treated.
The name ‘Essiac’ is actually the nurse’s surname spelled backwards and it has been gaining in popularity due to its reported health benefits. The Ojibwa reportedly used it for purifying the body and maintaining a balance between body and spirit.
What is Essiac Tea?
Essiac tea is prepared by boiling four herbs that have certain biochemical properties. Each of these herbs has therapeutic value, but together they create a symbiotic effect that is much more than the sum of the individual herbs. The original Essiac tea, as adopted and promoted by the Canadian nurse, contained the following four herbs.
- Burdock root ((Arctium lappa),
- Sheep sorrel (Rumex acetosella),
- Slippery elm bark (Ulmus rubra),
- Turkey rhubarb (Rheum palmatum) or Indian rhubarb root (Rheum officinale)
Herbal tea prepared from these four herbs is among the most popular herbal remedies for treatment of cancer patients on chemotherapy. It is also used as palliative care of patients with terminal cancer. The ingredients of Essiac tea have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and support the immune system.
With the passage of time, new formulations have emerged and a modified version of Essiac has appeared. This new formulation includes the following ingredients and is sold as Flor Essence.
- Blessed thistle
- Red clover
Despite this modification, the original formula, the 4-herb version, remains more popular as it has a proven record that goes back many years. It has been curing patients ever since the late 1920s; the time when Renee Caisse started treating her aunt and step father who were suffering from cancer.
This article discusses only the original formation of Essiac tea.
How to Prepare Essiac Tea
The original 4-herb formulation is available in a pre-mixed bag or may be sourced separately to prepare Essiac tea.
- 6 1/2 cups of cut burdock root
- 1 pound of powdered sheep sorrel herb
- 1/4 pound of powdered slippery elm bark
- 1 ounce of powdered Turkish rhubarb root or Indian rhubarb root
The ingredients are mixed thoroughly and stored in a dry, dark place. One ounce of the herbal mix should make about one quart of Essiac tea at a time after boiling it without a lid for 10-20 minutes.
Health Benefits of Essiac Tea
Essiac tea has various health benefits and can be used for different purposes. The specific actions that it helps with are detailed below.
Boosts the Immune System
Herbal remedies focus on the underlying cause of the disease by strengthening the body’s inherent capacities to self-heal. This is in contrast to traditional allopathic medication that simply mask symptoms of the disease.
Herbal remedies like Essiac tea make permanent healing possible. Laboratory investigation of Essiac tea conducted in 2007 and published by Seely et al in the International Journal of Cancer Research and Treatment, reveal that Essiac tea helps in increasing the activity of cells associated with the efficient working of the immune system.
Works as an Anti-Inflammatory Agent
Essiac stimulates the immune system to restrict the release of chemicals associated with inflammation. As an anti-inflammatory agent, Essiac is particularly helpful in treating pain and inflammation associated with a number of medical conditions including arthritis, cancer and a number of other infections including respiratory tract infection and HIV.
A Potent Antioxidant
The antioxidant property is the specific trait that the Ojibwa used the original 4-herb formulation for. They used it to purify the body and maintain balance between body and spirit. This directly refers to the antioxidant properties of Essiac.
Antioxidants are scavengers of free radicals. The creation of free radicals is the by-product of certain essential biological processes like oxidation. This is because of the reactivity that these process cause and lead to the high-energy particles ricocheting wildly in the body. Free radical oxidation is known to affect the cell cycle and potentially lead to
- Malignant cancer
- Coronary heart disease
- Alcohol induced liver damage (more than alcohol itself)
- Parkinson’s and a host of other age-related conditions.
Some of the most powerful antioxidants included in this herbal concoction are:
- Vitamins A, C and E
Each one of the four ingredients of Essiac is rich in these antioxidants. The significant antioxidant effect of Essiac has been observed in laboratory investigations and published in the 2007 report mentioned above.
It was observed that Essiac was a far more potent antioxidant than green tea, red wine, black tea and cocoa. Usefulness of Essiac in cancer and in delaying other age related symptoms arise mainly due to this antioxidant property of the herbal remedy.
Other Health Benefits of Essiac Tea
There is a long history of anecdotal evidence in support of Essiac’s health benefits.
But unfortunately, this herbal remedy remained hidden from the public for a long time.
The credit of bringing it to the forefront lies with Dr. Charles Brusch at the Brusch Medical Research Center, personal physician of President Kennedy and Dr. Gary Glum.
Some of the health benefits of Essiac tea mentioned by these eminent professionals and Renee Caisse are detailed below.
It should be noted that there is little research to prove these health benefits as yet and that efforts are being made to prove or disprove these claims.
- Taken regularly, Essiac tea inhibits accumulation of fatty deposits in arteries and therefore keeps cholesterol in check.
- Promotes liver health.
- Aids in healthy digestion.
- Combats parasites in the body including the digestive system.
- Limits the harmful effects of heavy metal poisoning.
- Restores energy levels.
- Acts as a powerful detoxifier.
- Improves functioning of body organs including muscles.
- Delays aging.
- Strengthens bones, joints and ligaments making the body less vulnerable to injury.
- Stimulates the nervous system and boosts brain health.
- Aids in absorption of water and other fluids in body tissues and maintains potassium and sodium levels.
- A potent detox agent, it cleanses the body of toxic deposits in fat, liver, bone marrow, bladder and other parts of the body.
- Helps in expelling mucus and keep the respiratory canal clean.
- Acts as a blood purifier.
- Controls blood sugar levels.
Herbal remedies are holistic in nature and attack the root cause of the disease. The focus of Essiac tea is to strengthen the ability of the body to restrict invading pathogens. It works simultaneously to improve mental health and promote a sense of overall well-being too.
Get your dried, organic herbs, organic essential oils, bulk spices, loose leaf organic teas (including Essiac Tea!) and aromatherapy supplies at the place where we shop – StarWest Botanicals!
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