1. The History of Essiac Tea

    Essiac (Essiac tea) is a blend of herbs used to make a tea that is believed by many to have unique cancer-fighting properties. Originally used by Native American medicine men, the recipe was rediscovered in 1922 by a Canadian nurse named Rene Caisse as she was attending a woman who claimed to have been cured of her breast cancer with an herbal remedy given to her by a North American Indian shaman in the 1890s. After learning for herself the health benefits of this herbal blend, Rene named her version of the recipe ESSIAC—her last name spelled backwards.


    The Components of Essiac Tea

    As nurse Caisse discovered, the four main herbs that make up Essiac are: burdock root, the inner bark of slippery elm, sheep sorrel, and Indian rhubarb root.  Each herb has unique properties that have been utilized for centuries, both as an herbal infusion as well as topical poultices and plasters.

    > Burdock root

    Used traditionally to help reduce mucus, burdock root has a long history as a curative able to help maintain a healthy gastrointestinal tract, stimulate a healthy immune system, improve weak digestion, and act as a diuretic for water retention and to sweat out toxins through the pores. Chemically speaking, it contains high doses of vitamin A and selenium to help reduce free radicals and chromium in the body to help maintain normal blood sugar levels.

    > Slippery elm

    Slippery elm contains large amounts of tannins and mucilages which are known to help dissolve mucus deposits in tissue, glands, and nerve channels. The inner bark (that used in Essiac) is rich in calcium, magnesium, and vitamins (A, B, C, and K), which have been proven to help nourish and soothe internal organs, tissues, and mucus membranes (affecting the lungs).  It also helps neutralize acids resulting in acid reflux conditions.

    > Sheep sorrel

    Used in traditional folk herbalism to cool the body, induce sweating, and detoxify the body via the skin, a great number of people also advocate its use as a diuretic, helpful in maintaining healthy kidney and urinary functions. Rich in ascorbic acid, mineral oxides, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, silicon, and rutin, it is also thought to nourish the glandular system.

    > Indian rhubarb root

    Known as an especially potent herb, Indian rhubarb root is traditionally used as a gentle laxative that helps purge the liver of toxic buildup and waste. Rich in malic acid, it neutralizes acids due to indigestion, while carrying oxygen to all parts of the body, thus promoting a balance of the entire digestive system.


    The Health Benefits of Essiac Tea

    Now used by people the world over to treat a multitude of health issues and promote general health and well-being, Essiac tea’s primary actions are to remove heavy metals from the body, detoxify the body, restore the body’s natural energy levels, and rebuild the immune system. The result of these actions provides a vast array of health benefits. Essiac:

    > Relieves pain.

    > Regulates cholesterol levels by transforming sugar and fat into energy.

    > Prevents the buildup of excess fatty deposits in artery walls, heart, kidney and liver.

    > Kills parasites in the digestive system and throughout the body.

    > Makes bones, joints, ligaments, lungs, and membranes strong, flexible, and less vulnerable to stress or stress-related injuries.

    > Counteracts the effects of aluminum, lead, and mercury poisoning.

    > Nourishes and stimulates the brain and nervous system.

    > Strengthens and improves the functioning of muscles, organs, and tissues.

    > Clears the respiratory channels by dissolving and expelling mucus.

    > Promotes the absorption of fluids in the tissues.

    > Neutralizes acids, absorbs toxins in the bowel; eliminating both.

    > Removes toxic accumulations in the fat, lymph, bone marrow, bladder, and alimentary canals.

    > Reduces heavy metal deposits in tissues (especially those surrounding the joints) to reduce inflammation and stiffness.

    > Assists the liver in the process of detoxification by converting fatty toxins into water-soluble substances that can then be easily eliminated through the kidneys.

    > Protects against toxins entering the brain.

    > Improves the functions of the pancreas and spleen by increasing the effectiveness of insulin.

    > Assists the liver in producing lecithin, which forms part of the myelin sheath, a white fatty material that encloses nerve fibers.

    > Purifies the blood.

    > Increases the body’s ability to utilize oxygen by raising the oxygen level in the tissue cells.

    > Increases red cell production and keeps them from rupturing.

    > Regulates the amount of oxalic acid delivered to the kidneys, thus reducing the risk of stone formation in the gall bladder, kidneys, or urinary tract.

    > Maintains the body’s balance of potassium and sodium so that cell fluid is regulated; cells are thus nourished and properly cleansed.

    > Protects the body against radiation and X-rays.

    > Speeds up wound healing by regenerating the damaged area.

    > Increases the production of antibodies like lymphocytes and T-cells in the thymus gland, which defend our immune system.

    > Protects the cells against free radicals.

    > Increases the appetite for healthful foods.

    > Decreases sugar cravings due to better blood sugar control.

    > Increases energy available.

    > Boosts mood and leads to an improved sense of well being.


    Essiac Formulas

    Oils and plants.com notes there are now more than 40 different essiac-like products available in North America, Europe, and Australia. One contains eight different herbs, adding red clover, watercress, blessed thistle, and kelp to the original four ingredients. Other common preparations add echinacea, black walnut, or other ingredients such as cat’s claw. Still others include dandelion root, mullein, fenugreek, red root, chamomile, blood root, cinnamon, comfrey, ginseng, golden seal, licorice root, pau d’arco and/or ocotillo. All variations of Essiac, however, must utilize the same main four ingredients to be considered Essiac.

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