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Essiac: A Cure for Cancers?

(The information on this page was gathered from various sources on the internet and edited together. We have no way of verifying its claims, other than those relating our personal experiences.)

The New Rainbow Bridge no longer handles Essiac; it’s available through most quality health food and herbal stores, in various brands and names. We used to use the Gaia brand, shown in the photo below. If you can’t find it locally, contact Gaia at (800) 831-7780 or visit them on line at www.gaiaherbs.com.

A couple of years ago, as part of our continuing effort to find better herbal treatments for the ailments that plague ferrets, we discovered a blend that’s been in the background for a number of years as a cancer treatment. Called Essiac, it came with a startling quantity of anecdotal evidence that it really works.

Further research uncovered a vast quantity of information on this secret miracle cure. Here’s what we found:

The Essiac StoryEssiac2a.jpg (50778 bytes)

Essiac has a proven track record: In test after test, Essiac has been shown to be an effective treatment for many types of cancer. In addition, it has been shown to:

  • kill parasites in the body
  • detoxify the body
  • remove heavy metals
  • strengthens the immune system

It has also been found effective in treating AIDS, lupus, chronic fatigue syndrome, diabetes, and many other illnesses. But even with all the impressive data collected over the years, the mainstream medical community continues to ignore Essiac.

The History of Essiac

Rene Caisse was a nurse in Canada. In 1923, one of her doctor’s patients, a woman with terminal cancer, made a complete recovery. Inquiring into the matter, Caisse found that the woman had used an herbal remedy given to her by an Ojibway Indian herbalist.

Caisse visited the herbalist, and he freely offered her his tribe’s formula. He explained that the Ojibway used their tonic both for spiritual balance and body healing.

The formula consisted of four common herbs. They were blended in such a way that the mixture had greater curative powers than any of the four herbs themselves. The four herbs were Sheep Sorrel, Burdock Root, Slippery Elm Bark, and Rhubarb Root.

With her doctor’s permission, Caisse began to administer the herbal remedy to other cancer patients who had been assumed incurable by the medical profession. Many recovered.

Caisse then began to collect the herbs herself, prepare the remedy, and treated hundreds of cancer cases. She set up a clinic in Bracebridge, Ontario where she administered the herbal remedy free to all who sought her help.

She discovered that Essiac, as she named the herbal remedy, couldn’t undo the damage already done to vital organs. In such cases, however, the pain of the illness was alleviated and the life of the patients was extended beyond what was predicted. In the other cases, where the life support organs had not been severely damaged, cure was often complete, and the patients lived another 35 or 40 years. Some are still alive today.

Caisse dedicated her life to helping these patients. She continued to treat hundreds of patients from her home, without charge for her services. Donations were her only income.

The newspaper coverage of Caisse’s work began to make her famous. Word was also spread far and wide by the families of those healed by Essiac.

Eventually, the Royal Cancer Commission became interested in her work. In 1937, they conducted hearings about Essiac. The Canadian Parliament, prodded by newspaper coverage and the widespread support generated for Caisse by former patients and grateful families, voted in 1938 on legislation to legalize the use of Essiac. Fifty-five thousand signatures were collected on a petition to Parliament. The vote was close, but Essiac failed to be approved as an officially sanctioned cure for cancer, by just three votes.

An interesting side note is that, in the 1960s, Rene Caisse worked with the well-known Brusch Clinic in Massachusetts. Dr. Charles A. Brusch was the personal physician for President John F. Kennedy. After 10 years of research, Dr. Brusch made this statement: “Essiac is a cure for cancer, period. All studies done at laboratories in the United States and Canada support this conclusion.”

What is Essiac?

Essiac contains four commonly occurring herbs:

Sheep Sorrel (Rumex acetosella)

The leaves of young Sheep Sorrel plants were popular as a cooking dressing and as an addition to salads in France several hundred years ago. Indians used Sheep Sorrel leaves as a tasty seasoning for meat dishes, and they baked it into their bread.

Sheep Sorrel belongs to the buckwheat family. Common names for Sheep Sorrel are field sorrel, red top sorrel, sour grass and dog eared sorrel. Don’t confuse it with Garden Sorrel (Rumex acetosa).

Sheep Sorrel grows wild throughout most of the world. It seeks open pastures, rocky areas, and the shoulders of country roads. It is considered to be a common weed throughout the U.S.

The entire Sheep Sorrel plant may be harvested to be used in Essiac. Or, just the leaves and stems may be harvested, allowing the plants to be "reharvested" later. The plant portion of the Sheep Sorrel may be harvested throughout the spring, summer, and fall.

What Sheep Sorrel Does:

Sorrel plants have been a folk remedy for cancer for centuries, both in Europe and America. Sheep Sorrel has been observed by researchers to break down tumors, and to alleviate some chronic conditions and degenerative diseases.

It contains high amounts of vitamins A and B complex, C, D, E, K, P and vitamin U. It is also rich in minerals, including calcium, chlorine, iron, magnesium, silicon, sodium, sulfur, and has trace amounts of copper, iodine, manganese and zinc. The combination of these vitamins and minerals nourishes all of the glands of the body.

Sheep Sorrel also contains carotenoids and chlorophyll, citric, malic, oxalic, tannic and tartaric acids. The chlorophyll carries oxygen throughout the bloodstream. Cancer cells can’t live in the presence of oxygen. It also:

  • reduces the damage of radiation burns
  • increases resistance to X-rays
  • improves the vascular system, heart function intestines, and lungs
  • destroys parasites in the body
  • aids in the removal of foreign deposits from the walls of the blood vessels
  • purifies the liver, stimulates the growth of new tissue
  • reduces inflammation of the pancreas, stimulates the growth of new tissue
  • raises the oxygen level of the tissue cells

Sheep Sorrel is the primary healing herb in Essiac.

Burdock Root (Arctium lappa)

The roots, young stems, and seeds of the Burdock plant are edible. Young stalks can be boiled and eaten like asparagus. Raw stems and young leaves are eaten in salads. Parts of the Burdock plant are eaten in China, Hawaii, and among the Native American cultures on this continent.

The Burdock is a member of the thistle family. Remember the last time you cleaned the burrs from your clothing after a walk in the woods? Chances are, you brushed against a Burdock without realizing it! Burdock is a common pasture weed throughout North America. It prefers damp soils.

The first years the Burdock plant produces only green leafy growth. It is during the second year that it produces the long sturdy stems with annoying burrs. The root of the Burdock plant is harvested. It is harvested from only the first year plants. The roots are about an inch wide, and up to three feet long. As with the Sheep Sorrel, the roots should only be harvested in the Fall when the plant energy is concentrated in the roots. And again, purchase your roots only from a reliable supplier.

What Burdock Root Does:

For centuries Burdock has been used throughout the world to cure illness and disease. The root of the Burdock is a powerful blood purifier. It clears congestion in respiratory, lymphatic, urinary and circulatory systems. It promotes the flow of bile, and eliminates excess fluid in the body.

It stimulates the elimination of toxic wastes, relieves liver malfunctions, and improves digestion. The Chinese use Burdock Root as an aphrodisiac, tonic, and rejuvenator. It assists in removing infection from the urinary tract, the liver, and the gall bladder. It expels toxins through the skin and urine. It destroys parasites. It is good against arthritis, rheumatism, and sciatica.

Burdock Root contains vitamins A, B complex, C, E, and P. It contains high amounts of chromium, cobalt, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, silicon, and zinc. It also contains smaller amounts of calcium, copper, manganese, selenium, and sulphur.

Much of the Burdock Roots curative power is attributed to its principal ingredient of Unulin, which helps to strengthen vital organs, especially the liver, pancreas, and spleen.

Slippery Elm (Ulcus fulva)

The inner bark of the Slippery Elm tree has a long history of use as a food supplement and herbal remedy. Pioneers knew of it as a survival food. The powdered bark has long been used, and is still being used today, as a food additive and food extender, rich in vitamin and mineral content.

The Slippery Elm is a favorite shade and ornamental tree. It is found throughout Canada and the United States. Only the inner bark of the Slippery Elm is used to make Essiac.

What Slippery Elm Does:

Slippery Elm Bark is widely known throughout the world as an herbal remedy. As a tonic it is known for its ability to sooth and strengthen the organs, tissues, and mucous membranes, especially the lungs and stomach. It promotes fast healing of cuts, burns, ulcers and wounds. It revitalizes the entire body.

It contains, as its primary ingredient, a mucilage, as well as quantities of gallic acid, phenols, starches, sugars, the vitamins A, B complex, C, K, and P. It contains large amounts of calcium, magnesium, and sodium, plus lesser amounts of chromium and selenium, and trace amounts of iron, phosphorous, silicon and zinc.

Slippery Elm Bark is known among herbalists for its ability to cleanse, heal, and strengthen the body.

Turkey Rhubarb (Rheum palmatum)

We’ve all eaten rhubarb. Its red, bittersweet stems can be found in supermarket produce shelves each spring. We also eat rhubarb pie, jams and pudding. The Turkey Rhubarb is a member of the rhubarb family, whose roots contain a particularly strong and desirable potency.

The Turkey Rhubarb grows in China. The roots are harvested when the plants are at least six years old. This imported product has more potency than our native rhubarb. Rene Caisse began her Essiac work using the domestic rhubarb root, later discovering that the imported variety was more potent and less bitter. However most of the Turkey Rhubarb imported today is irradiated, so that native rhubarb is once again the rhubarb of choice for Essiac.

What Turkey Rhubarb Does:

Rhubarb, also a well-known herb, as been used worldwide since 220 BC as a medicine. The rhubarb root exerts a gentle laxative action by stimulating the secretion of bile into the intestines. It also stimulates the gall duct to expel toxic waste matter, purging the body of waste bile and food. This cleanses the liver and relieves chronic liver problems.

Rhubarb root contains vitamin A, plus many of the B complex, C, and P vitamins. Its high mineral content includes calcium, chlorine, copper, iodine, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous, potassium, silicon, sodium, sulfur and zinc.

Essiac Has These Therapeutic Benefits:

  1. Prevents the buildup of excess fatty deposits in artery walls, heart, kidney and liver.
  2. Regulates cholesterol levels by transforming sugar and fat into energy.
  3. Destroys parasites in the digestive system and throughout the body.
  4. Counteracts the detrimental effects of aluminum, lead and mercury poisoning.
  5. Strengthens and tightens muscles, organs and tissues.
  6. Makes bones, joints, ligaments, lungs, and membranes strong and flexible, less vulnerable to stress or stress injuries.
  7. Nourishes and stimulates the brain and nervous system.
  8. Promotes the absorption of fluids in the tissues.
  9. Removes toxic accumulations in the fat, lymph, bone marrow, bladder, and alimentary canals.
  10. Neutralizes acids, absorbs toxins in the bowel, and eliminates both.
  11. Clears the respiratory channels by dissolving and expelling mucus.
  12. Relieves the liver of its burden of detoxification by converting fatty toxins into water-soluble substances that can then be easily eliminated through the kidneys.
  13. Helps the liver produce lecithin, which forms part of the myelin sheath: a white fatty material that encloses nerve fibers.
  14. Reduces — and perhaps eliminates — heavy metal deposits in tissues (especially those surrounding the joints) to reduce inflammation and stiffness.
  15. Improves the functions of the pancreas and spleen by increasing the effectiveness of insulin.
  16. Purifies the blood.
  17. Increases red cell production, and keeps them from rupturing.
  18. Increases the body’s ability to use oxygen by raising the oxygen level in the tissue cells.
  19. Maintains the balance between potassium and sodium within the body so that the fluid inside and outside each cell is regulated: In this way, cells are nourished and cleansed.
  20. Converts calcium and potassium oxalates into a harmless form by making them solvent in the urine. It also regulates the amount of oxalic acid delivered to the kidneys, reducing the risk of stone formation in the gall bladder, kidneys, or urinary tract.
  21. Protects against toxins entering the brain.
  22. Protects the body against radiation and X-rays.
  23. Relieves pain, increases appetite, and provides more energy along with giving a sense of well being.
  24. Speeds up wound healing by regenerating the damaged area.
  25. Increases the production of antibodies like lymphocytes and T-cells in the thymus gland, which is the defender of our immune system.
  26. Inhibits and possibly destroys benign growths and tumors.
  27. Protects the cells against free radicals.

Our Personal Experience with Essiac

With the overwhelming evidence and testimony for its use, we just had to try Essiac. Our first experience was with Cookie, a 6-year-old DEW.

Late one night, Diane noticed a mass in Cookie’s abdomen. A midnight exploratory surgery revealed a huge tumor, running up under the ferret’s rib cage, all the way down to press on the bladder. The vet asked if Diane wanted her awakened, or if she should just put her down right there. But Diane wasn’t ready to give up just yet.

She started Cookie on Essiac: 2cc, twice a day. At first, the tumor seemed unchanged; perhaps even getting larger. But then, within a few days, it seemed to begin to shrink. And then it shrank even more.

Within 3 months, the tumor had shrunk to about 1/3 its original size, and seemed to have broken loose from the organs it had in its grasp. Then, sadly, Cookie died.

A necropsy revealed a few interesting facts:

  1. Cookie died from a bleeding ulcer; it had nothing to do with the tumor. At the time we weren’t familiar with the early symptoms of this ailment, and didn’t have a good treatment for it.
  2. Cookie’s tumor was lymphosarcoma; a normally deadly cancer.

Finally, and perhaps the most startling, was the fact that the tumor had in fact shrunk: It was about 1/3 the size it was three months earlier, and was loose. Had she lived, the tumor could now have been removed safely.

Since then, we’ve used Essiac to treat a number of ferrets with various illnesses. Here’s what we’ve discovered.

  1. Essiac seems to have a strong effect on lymphosarcomas. In general, they seem to get larger and firmer at first, and then begin to dissolve.
  2. We’ve had great success in treating ear tumors: Two ferrets’ tumors have disappeared completely using Essiac.
  3. Essiac seems to be helpful in treating nonspecific ailments that defy diagnosis. Ferrets on Essiac seem more alert, more active, and more playful.
  4. Essiac was instrumental in treating a ferret with Megaesophagus: a rare ailment where the esophagus swells shut, preventing food from reaching the stomach. The ferret, Moose, is doing great, and still receives Essiac three or four times a week.
  5. Essiac hasn’t been as successful with inoperable adrenal tumors, but it may have slowed their rate of growth, and made the ferret more comfortable in the time it had left.
  6. We’ve also had good success using Essiac to treat mast cell tumors, by applying it topically to the tumor. Within a week the tumor falls off.
  7. Essiac won’t help with insulinomas; in fact, it actually lowers the blood sugar, so it’s more successful for treating the opposite condition: diabetes.

Using Essiac for Ferrets

Essiac comes in liquid form; the best way we’ve found to use it is to add it to a soup, consisting of half A/D, half water. For others who wouldn’t eat the A/D, we’ve used a little Gerber’s chicken or turkey baby food (Gerber’s doesn’t add onions to their food, so the ferrets seem to like it).

More recently, we started making a soup out of their regular food. We boil water, then add their food and let it sit for a few hours. Then we use a mixer to whip the concoction into a smooth, soupy consistency, about the thickness of tomato soup.

We put a small amount of the soup in a custard cup, and then warm it slightly in the microwave oven. The ferrets seem to go nuts over it.

The amount of Essiac depends on the size of the ferret and whether you’re trying to treat an illness, or as a supplement to maintain good health. Click here to download our dosage recommendations.

Is Essiac a Miracle Cure?

At this point, all we can say is “maybe.” But our results so far have been encouraging enough for us to continue using it, and recommending it to others.

If you’ve had any experiences with Essiac in ferrets, we’d love to hear from you. If you have a ferret you think might benefit from it, all we can say is try it, and good luck.

© 1999, 2009 The New Rainbow Bridge. All Rights Reserved.