Essiac Tea - Hype or Hope? ☕
Hey, Friend! 😊
What happens when you've looked in the most obvious places for healing solutions and you seem to come up short as your healing stalls or your cancer continues to progress? You may go down rabbit holes and sniff them out, one by one, right? That's what happened this week as I prayed about how I could help a friend who wasn't making obvious progress in her healing. I realized that I had never done a deep dive into learning about Essiac tea, so I decided to go for it! I was excited to learn more and hopeful I'd find some gems.
The great news is that there are lots of healing testimonials out there with people who drank Essiac tea! Essiac tea has not been widely studied - I'll mention peer-reviewed research on it later - but it has been widely distributed.
So, what is Essiac tea and where did it come from? Well, the story goes that Rene Caisse, a nurse in Ontario, Canada, found a woman at work who had recovered from advanced breast cancer, which her doctor told her needed to be removed. However, she came across an old Native American man who told her that he could cure her cancer with herbs. She figured she had nothing to lose, so she tried his herbal remedy which came from wild plants right in the area where they were. She drank the tea daily and amazingly, healed completely! It was 30 years later when nurse Caisse came across this woman when she was 80 years old.
Nurse Caisse wrote the combination of herbs down and kept them in her back pocket should she ever need it for herself or someone she knew. It's a good thing she did! A few months later she heard that her aunt had cancer in her stomach and liver and her doctor had given her six months to live at the most. Nurse Caisse knew the doctor as she had worked with him before, and because there was nothing "medically" that could be done, he allowed her to administer the herbs to her aunt under his supervision. Amazingly, her aunt recovered and lived another 21 years after her doctor had given up on her!! (Never give up even if your doctor says you're not going to make it!!)
Because others could see the amazing good she was doing in her community, she was gifted a building for a clinic by her Town Council and treated people there for 8.5 years. Unfortunately however, in 1938 she was called before the Legislature to determine Essiac's legal status. 55,000 people signed a petition for her to be able to continue treating people with the tea, but she lost her case by just 3 votes. She was deeply saddened and had a nervous breakdown when she was no longer able to treat people who were so desperate for help, who she knew she could help. Unfortunately, the powers that be had it out for Rene and she was arrested for practicing without a medical license, even though she never charged anyone for her services and she was seeing and helping 300-600 people per week!! She was even offered $1 million by American businessmen who wanted to buy her formula, but she never sold it. She wanted to keep the blend of the herbs public, which originally included just 4 ingredients until she found that an additional 4 proved to add benefit: burdock root (arctium lappa), powdered Sheep Sorrel including the root (rumex acetosella), powdered Slippery Elm bark (ulmus rubra/fulva), powdered Turkey Rhubarb root (rheum palmatum), blessed thistle, kelp, red clover and watercress. Even though she lost her joy in helping people with their ailments, 600 ex patients came to Ontario to celebrate her 90th birthday. Many people felt they owed their life to her. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_k_nW-b-XmQ&list=PL5B5D2F966DDE5766&index=4
Now I'm going to interject something here - this series of successes sounds a little bit like Dr. Max Gerson's first successful cases using his diet and detox protocol - the first being a woman who had had surgery and was suffering from an infection, followed by another who had also had surgery, and the fact that several people he treated after that did not have any other kind of treatment or injury or infection and they did not heal. (Dr. Gerson didn't believe his therapy should be used alone without additional treatment, but also with something like Coley's toxins.) I find it interesting that the first couple of successes Rene Caisse mentioned involved some other treatment or injury to the body. I don't know the exact proportion of those who experienced other obvious causes of "danger" or not, but many I came across did have some form of conventional therapy, whether chemo, surgery and/or radiation, before or during the time they drank the tea. This evidence supports the Danger Theory of the immune system, which states that the immune system responds not to things which are foreign in the body, but to things that alert the immune system to signs of danger - just like sheepdogs alerting their sheep to approaching threats.
On the positive side, there were reports of wound healing, pain relief, healing vocal cords from a physical injury and tumors disappearing including (and even subcutaneous lymphoma in a dog). I searched mine and Jodi Ledley's survivors spreadsheet and found that there are 16/277 (6%) people in the database who had used Essiac tea and survived at least 5 years from late stage cancer. That was a good start! Next I searched Facebook, including both the Square One support group and the Essiac Tea Users group. Wow - there were so many mentions of Essiac tea that I couldn't go through them all, as each group had over 19,000 and 18,000 members each, respectively. I found a mixed bag of results there, including some positive effects as mentioned above. I also found some short-term survivor stories of people who used both Essiac tea and conventional methods, which I did not weigh heavily as cancer can often recur in a short period of time. That's a tip for ya - be cautious following in the footsteps of someone who healed within the last 5 years, because that's usually the time period in which cancer will recur if it's going to recur. You don't want to do something that could be helpful short-term but come back more aggressively.
Precautions to taking Essiac tea... There were reports of negative effects such as an increase in severity of migraine, stomach upset, loss of appetite, sore ribs, jaundice, elevated liver enzymes and cancer progression. These were not proven causes because there were other factors involved that were not ruled out, such as medications and other supplements, but the symptoms were indeed at least associated with taking the tea. One thing to note with any detoxifying herb, treatment or supplement you take is that if you or a person has been taking medications or has a large buildup of toxins in the body, adverse reactions can occur. Some call it "awakening the beast," when there is a large toxic burden in the body, which undisturbed may not cause significant or noticeable symptoms, but when it's forced out in a rush it overburdens the liver and kidneys. So sometimes it's best to take things slowly, I've learned. I used to recommend a very aggressive approach to detoxification, but as I witness more and more adverse events to detoxification techniques, especially when someone is or has been on a strong medication for any amount of time, I recommend starting more slowly, building up the dose of the detoxifying agent over a period of time. You can start with 1/4 of the regular dose if you're concerned, or somewhere around there.
Now some things about the peer-reviewed medical research... What's usually one of the first places I go to when researching any cancer treatment? PubMed - the National Library of Medicine's database of peer-reviewed journal articles and online books on biomedical topics. There were not many articles related to Essiac tea, but I found the following information, which suggested that it may be beneficial in prostate cancer (the results were mixed) and endometrial and ovarian cancer but detrimental in breast cancer. However, before (if) you decide to move forward with Essiac tea in your regimen, be sure to consult your medical professional or cancer coach to weigh the risks and benefits.
A compound called irilone found in one of the ingredients in Essiac tea, red clover, increased the effect of progesterone in both endometrial and ovarian cancer cell lines. In these cancers, progesterone action is generally associated with positive outcomes; so this could be beneficial for these types of cancer as well as conditions such as fibroids and endometriosis.
This study found that red clover and its isoflavones had different effects on estrogen metabolism in "normal" vs breast cancer cells. In breast cancer cells, metabolism was bent more toward damaging DNA while detoxification was decreased. These data may suggest that especially breast cancer patients should avoid red clover and isoflavone based BDSs when making choices for menopausal symptom relief.
Essiac preparations may be able to inhibit tumor cell growth while enhancing immune response to antigenic stimulation. This may be especially valuable for people who are immune-suppressed!
Cytotoxic effects of Essiac were not found to be different between the control and treatment groups… The good news is that there was no toxicity over 28 days, except in the positive control group treated with paclitaxel, so it had a protective effect on the cells treated with the chemotherapy. "These evaluations suggest Essiac has no marked antiproliferative [anti cancer spreading] effect on the models tested."
Essiac tea: scavenging of reactive oxygen species and effects on DNA damage "These data indicate that Essiac tea possesses potent antioxidant and DNA-protective activity, properties that are common to natural anti-cancer agents. This study may help to explain the mechanisms behind the reported anti-cancer effects of Essiac."
So who has the best Essiac tea? There are around 40 different companies that all claim to have the best, 😆 but two brands stick out the most to me and I can say with confidence that they have worked for people because I've spoken to some of the people who used them or read several stories of people who are still alive after using it. The first is Discount Essiac (click here for testimonials) - Bryan, the owner, will give it away to anyone who can't afford it. Fun fact, his wife runs a gymnastics camp for adults and I used to be a gymnast! I'd love to go monkey around in the gym with them some time. 😄 Bryan also introduced me to our now mutual friend Leonel Mondragon, who wrote a review article (attached below) explaining how Essiac tea prevents damage to DNA from ionizing radiation. This is in preparation for a clinical trial when the funds become available.
The next reputable source of Essiac tea is Blue Moon Herbs. According to the Blue Moon Herbs website, "Mali Klein is an Essiac researcher and author of six books on Rene Caisse and Essiac, including The Complete Essiac Essentials, 2010, Black Root Medicine, the Original Native American Essiac Formula, 2014, and The Essiac Essentials Handbook, 2016. Mali is also caretaker of the world's largest body of Essiac history, the Sheila Snow Fraser Essiac Archive Collection. She had the unique privilege of learning from and working with Sheila Snow and Mary McPherson, who both worked directly with Rene Caisse. However, I don't know if she's correctly interpreting the work of Rene Essiac (just as I do not rely on Charlotte Gerson's interpretations of the work of her father Dr. Gerson to give us the most accurate or best picture of what the Gerson Therapy should be).
That's all I have to say for now about Essiac Tea. ☺ But before you go... Today is the second day of the Turning Months into Years Summit by Dr. Diana Wright, and our friend Theo Hanson got to share his and his wife Kim's story! 😊 Other speakers include Sheena Green (who I'll have to interview for you 😊) and Ann Fonfa (founder of the Annie Appleseed Project) on Day 3, Mike Broadwell on Day 4, Dr. Ralf Kleef and Dr. Diana herself on Day 5. Dr. Diana Wright has an incredible story! She was told she had just months to live after getting diagnosed with stage 4 cancer, but she didn't accept the prognosis. Instead she got to work on healing! I got to participate in a meeting with her and hear her share a bit about her work. She is quite a power house of a woman and she inspires me with her determination, courage and expansive mindset! Dr. Diana also has a documentary called The Unbelievable Plight of Mrs. Wright which has won multiple awards, including the Diamond Award Best Feature Documentary at Minefield Film Festival Feb 2019 and the Best Feature Documentary at ARFF Film Festival Feb 2019. Lastly! I know that much of the world is re-opening, but for many of us we still have restrictions on what we're able to do and life is far from "normal!" For this reason I'm offering my personalized cancer coaching service for 50% off for a limited time. Please go to my coaching page for more info! 💜🙏 Much love and prayers for your health and wellness and that of your loved ones! Chat soon, Bailey 😊🙏🍋