ESSIAC: An Ojibwa Indian Remedy

By Sandy McKelvey

Cancer strikes one in three Americans, and traditional medicine attacks this disease with surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. Alternative treatments are being prescribed, yet few Americans take advantage of them. Many people don't know of their existence. Take this case of Essiac, an herbal remedy which has been credited with restoring health to many cancer victims.

In 1922, A Canadian nurse, Rene Caisse, first discovered the herbal formula from a hospital patient whose breast cancer had been healed by an Ontario Indian medicine man. In 1924, she administered the "tea" to her aunt, who was in the final stages of inoperable stomach cancer. After months of taking the tea, Rene's aunt recovered and lived another 15 years. Defying skeptics, Rene began treating cancer patients, using the herbal tea, and it became known as Essiac, her named spelled backwards. She reportedly healed thousands from 1924 until she died in 1978 at age 90.

Over the years, many prominent physicians have voiced their support for the efficacy of Cassie's medicine, including Dr. Charles Brusch, President John F. Kennedy's personal physician, Dr. Brusch, who worked with Rene Caisse from 1959 to 1962, treating many cancer patients. After ten years of research, he came to the conclusion that "Essiac has merit as a cure for cancer." He even declared that he had cured his own cancer with it.

The principal herbs in Essiac include burdock root, turkey rhubarb (or Indian rhubarb), sheep sorrel and slippery elm bark, whose synergistic interaction contributes to the therapeutic effect. Caisse theorized that one of the herbs in Essiac reduced tumor growth and that the other herbs acted as blood purifiers, carrying away destroyed tissue as well as infections thrown off by the malignancy. She also speculated that Essiac strengthened the body's innate defense mechanisms, enabling formal cells to destroy abnormal ones as nature intended.

Even if a tumor didn't disappear, Caisse maintained that ir could be regressed, then surgically removed after six to eight Essiac treatments with much less risk of metastasizing and causing new outbreaks. "If there is any suspicion that any malignant cells are left after the operation," she stated, "then Essiac should be given once a week for at least three months, supplying the body with the needed resistance against a recurrence."

"In the case of cancer of the breast," she wrote, "the primary growth will usually invade the mammary gland of the opposite breast of the auxilla, or both. If Essiac is administered either orally or by hypodermic injection, into the forearm, the secondary growth will regress into the primary mass, enlarging it for a time, but when it is localized it will loosen and soften and can then be removed without the danger of recurrence." Caisse spoke from personal experience, having administered Essiac injections to gravely ill patients, always under the supervision of a physician.

Essiac tea also seems to help diabetics. One patient who had diabetes was evaluated by Dr. Frederick Banting, one of the discoverers of insulin. He reported that the tea seemed to regenerate the ability of the pancreas to produce insulin.

Whether a native myth, a true cure, or simply an immune boosting preventative, this herbal formula for the treatment of cancer and other immune deficient diseases is seeing a resurgence in public awareness and interest.

For information on Ojibwa Tea, contact Herbs for Life, P.O. Box 40082, Sarasota, FL 33242. Phone (941) 377-7400 or (941) 349-2095. FAX (941) 378-9915.

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