A Guide for the Proper Use of Rene Caisse's Herbal Tea


This booklet is based upon the research and documentation of Sheila Snow and Mali Klein.  Sheila Snow knew and worked with Rene Caisse personally from 1974 to 1977 and she even helped provide herbs for Rene Caisse.  Sheila Snow spent 27 years of her life assembling an impressive Essiac archive collection that she passed on to Mali Klein.  For a comprehensive, well-researched handbook on the proper use of Essiac treatments read THE ESSIAC BOOK by Mali Klein.  The following information is footnoted to give credit to Sheila Snow and Mali Klein and to dispel much of the disinformation about Essiac tea.  According their research it is very important to use Essiac tea properly and to use the same formula that Rene Caisse used, which included sheep sorrel roots.  This condensed, easy-to-use manual was created primarily as a free informational service of for health care professionals and their patients. 


What is Essiac Tea?


Essiac is a pleasant-tasting four-herb tea that was developed from a native American cancer remedy by Canadian nurse Rene Caisse [pronounced “Reen Case”].  The original, native formula consisted of eight herbs but Nurse Caisse never revealed the identity of all eight herbs.  Rene Caisse tested the tea on mice and used it on cancer patients in her Cancer Clinic in Bracebridge, Ontario under the direction of medical doctors.  After fifty years of testing various herbal combinations Nurse Caisse modified the original native formula and eventually reduced it to a decoction of the following four herbs:  cut burdock root (Arctium lappa), sheep sorrel powder, root included (Rumex acetosella), slippery elm bark powder (Ulmus rubra/fulva) and turkey rhubarb root (Rheum palmatum).  This formula was confirmed and entered into the public domain when Rene Caisse's best friend, Mary McPherson, recorded an affidavit in Bracebridge in 1994.  Rene Caisse called her tea "Essiac"--her surname spelled backwards.  Unlike Chinese green tea or black tea, Essiac tea does not contain caffeine.


Were Rene Caisse's Essiac treatments effective?


Rene Caisse operated her cancer clinic under the supervision and observation of a number of doctors.  Based on what those doctors saw with their own eyes, eight of them signed a petition to the Department of National Health and Welfare at Ottawa, asking that Nurse Caisse be given facilities to do independent research on her discovery.  Their petition, dated at Toronto on October 27, 1926, read as follows: 


To Whom It May Concern:  "We the undersigned believe that the 'Treatment for Cancer' given by Nurse R.M. Caisse can do no harm and that it relieves pain, will reduce the enlargement and will prolong life in hopeless cases.  To the best of our knowledge, she has not been given a case to treat until everything in medical and surgical science has been tried without effect and even then she was able to show remarkable beneficial results on those cases at that late stage.[8]


Rene Caisse stated:  "After a few treatments, patients seemed to throw off their depression, fear and distress.  Their outlook became optimistic and as pain decreased, they became happy and talkative.  I can truthfully say that I have in many cases been able to stay the disease and in some really bad cases, prolong life.  In practically all cases, pain and suffering were alleviated so that the patient was not compelled to resort to opiates or narcotics in increasing doses, as usually is the case.  My decoction is a non-toxic drink made from herbs which are of definite benefit for cancer."[2]


Rene Caisse devoted over fifty years of her life to treating hundreds of cancer patients with Essiac.  So effective were her treatments that in 1938 her supporters gathered 55,000 signatures for a petition to allow Rene Caisse to continue treating cancer patients.  A bill was introduced in the Ontario legislature to (allegedly) "authorise Rene Caisse to practice medicine in the Province of Ontario in the treatment of cancer and conditions therein".  Due to the machinations of the medical establishment, the bill failed to pass by just three votes.


What kinds of cancers did Essiac treatments help?


"At least eighteen different types of cancers from the Bracebridge case histories are on record as having been successfully treated with the tea.  This include cancers of:

the breast, cheek, kidney, pancreas, stomach, bladder, oesophagus, jaw, penis, uterus, cervix, ear, lip, prostate, bowel, chin, nose, rectum.  Many of the cancers successfully treated since 1977 are included in the list of early case histories.  Others reported are cancer of:  the brain, tonsils, bone, ovaries, eye, salivary gland as well as lymphatic leukaemia and lymphoma."[4] 


"Essiac's primary function appears to boost the immune system and stimulate feelings of well-being in whoever is using the tea, as well as possibly providing some general remedial value in treating cancerous conditions.  Considering this, Essiac may have some beneficial effect on any cancer, both primary and metastatic, depending on the individual person."[5] 


"In the past, Rene Caisse treated a variety of cancerous conditions, most of them considered beyond all medical help.  Diagnoses then were usually confirmed by clinical examinations, X-rays and sometimes with a biopsy.  Her case histories revealed favorable results in the treatment of all types of facial and head cancers; those of every internal organ, including the liver and pancreas, two of the most difficult to arrest; cancers of the male and female organs, lymph glands and others.  Many patients treated by the nurse improved and some completely healed.  Nor were these improvements limited to cancer cases exclusively.  Cysts, fibroid tumors, chronic mastitis and ulcers similarly responded to her therapy.  Today's cancers treated successfully with this remedy include those already mentioned, as well as tumors of the brain, bone, eye, ovaries, salivary glands, tonsils and even leukemia."[2] 


Why is it important to include sheep sorrel roots in Essiac tea?


The secret ingredient in Essiac tea was discovered by Sheila Snow who obtained letters from Dr. Chester Stock of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.  The following quotes came from these letters written by Rene Caisse to Dr. Stock regarding sheep sorrel solution for testing on mice.  Here is what Rene Caisse stated regarding the importance of using the whole sheep sorrel plant, including the roots:  "The reason I offered to send you more material was because I know you cannot get the entire plant.  You can buy the crushed leaves but they are no good alone.  I found this out when I needed so much, when treating three to six hundred people afflicted with cancer every week for eight and a half years.  I do know that the whole plant is needed."[1] 


"I am very shocked at the way your people are using the materials I sent you.  The way they are preparing it for injections is an absolute waste.  They might as well inject sterile water....They are just using leaves and stems, leaving out the roots.  They are a part of Essiac."[1] 


"Dear Dr. Stock; I am worried about not receiving any reports on the tests.  I thought about the way the lab had been preparing the material for the tests, and why they were not getting better results, so I read over their preparation and found that they were only using the leaves and stems, leaving out the roots, which are very essential in the 'Essiac' for treatments."[7]


How does Essiac tea work on cancer?

In May of 1974 Rene Caisse wrote the following words to Dr. Chester Stock:  "It took years to find out the one herb that actually worked on the growth itself [i.e., Sheep Sorrel].  The other herbs I used to purify the blood and throw off any infection thrown off by the malignant growth as it regressed."[1]

"The research showed Sheep Sorrel, the most acidic ingredient at pH 4.5, to be the one herb that had a directly destructive effect on cancerous cells.  All the initial experiments were carried out on laboratory mice:  'We found that on mice inoculated with human carcinoma, the growth regressed until it was no longer invading living tissue after nine days of Essiac experiments.'"[1]

Rene Caisse described this process in detail in the following three paragraphs: 

"Most importantly, and this was verified in animal tests conducted at the Brusch Medical Center and other laboratories, it was discovered that one of the most dramatic effects of taking this remedy was its affinity for drawing all the cancer cells which had spread back to the original site at which point the tumor would first harden, then later it would soften, until it vanished altogether or more realistically, the tumor would decrease in size to where it could then be surgically removed with minimal complications.[2]

"In certain cases and at certain stages of the disease, the cancer would act as if it were 'coming to a head', similar to an abscess. It would then break down and slough away.  These people all reported that when the mass breaks, it isn't like pus but like a cottage cheese substance that comes away.  Still other types will enlarge until the mass is localized, then loosen and reduce in size until there is nothing left, having been absorbed into and carried off by the blood stream and body waste.[2] 

"I found also that no matter where the malignancy may be in the human body, surgery would be much more successful after six to eight treatments of Essiac, followed by further treatments once a week after the operation for a period of three months; then there would be no recurrence of the tumor.  In the case of breast cancers, the primary growth will usually invade the mammary gland of the opposite breast or the auxilla (armpit), or both.  My treatment, I found, reduced the secondary growth into the primary mass, enlarging it for a time.  When it became localized, it was encapsulated and could then be removed without danger of recurrence.  In one instance, a patient with breast cancer was instructed by her doctor to have six Essiac treatments before undergoing surgery.  After the fifth treatment, however, the cancer disappeared, with no recurrence."[2]

The following reactions may occur when treating cancer that demonstrate how Essiac works:

a)  swelling--occurs when metastasised cells gather into the primary tumour.

b) cottage cheese effect--resembling curds and clear liquid, occurs as the cancer breaks up and discharges from either the body orifices or from localised cysts or swellings.  A jelly-like substance can also be discharged or coughed up from the lungs.

c) more frequent passing of urine/defecation and other inexplicable discharges--occuring as the body detoxifies.  If the symptoms are severe, with related nausea and pain, stop taking the formula for a few days until all the symptoms have subsided.  When you start drinking it again, take half an ounce every other day, gradually resuming the original dosage.  Remember that all diseases have a life cycle and a rhythm of their own, so follow your own judgement according to what your body is telling you about the dosage it needs.

d) aching 'on site' and headaches, linked to the detoxification process, have been noted as sometimes occurring when taking Essiac after surgery.  Treat as for (c) and drink more water to flush out toxins from the body.

e) fever or chills--sometimes occurring when the Essiac starts working directly on the cancerous cells.[4]


How to Make Essiac Tea


The following Essiac tea instructions have been simplified as much as possible to save time and to make it easier for people new to Essiac to make the tea.  The supplies for making Essiac tea can usually be found in your local hardware or grocery store in the canning supplies section.  Do not use any aluminum utensils as aluminum can react with Essiac tea. 


Supplies Needed:  Enameled or stainless steel pot with lid.  Canning jars, lids & rings.  Strainer (sieve) and funnel or a glass measuring cup.    


The following recipe is for making one gallon of tea using 1/2 cup of Essiac tea herbs.  You can make a smaller, two-quart batch by dividing this recipe in half.  It is best to make just enough Essiac tea to last about two weeks because Essiac tea is perishable and will eventually spoil in the refrigerator.  You can increase the shelf life of Essiac tea by sterilizing all utensils, jars, rings, lids, etc. in a boiling water bath for at least 15 minutes.  One can skip the sterilization step to save time and therefore one can make Essiac tea in small batches to drink it up quickly before it spoils. 


1.  Pour one gallon of unchlorinated water into pot and bring to a boil.  (Optional:  Add extra water to compensate for water boiling off and water absorption of herbs.)


2.  Add 1/2 cup of dried Essiac tea herbs to boiling water and boil hard for 10 minutes (making sure it doesn't boil over).  (To make a two-quart batch use one half of the packet, i.e., ¼ cup of herbs.)


3.  Scrape down the sides of the pot and allow the tea to sit, covered, in a warm place (room temperature) for about 12 hours.


4.  Reheat the tea in the covered pot until steaming hot, but do not boil it twice.    


5.  Allow the tea to sit covered and undisturbed for several minutes so that the herbs will settle to the bottom of the pot.


6.  Place funnel and strainer (sieve) on top of preheated canning jars.  (If you don’t have a funnel and strainer, you can use a glass measuring cup to pour the tea into the jars.)


7.  Carefully pour off (decant) the liquid from the pot into the canning jars so as to keep most of the sediment out.  Screw the lids on, allow to cool and then refrigerate.  The sediment can be used for poultices or can be discarded.  Some sediment at the bottom of jars is quite usual and acceptable.  Do not filter the tea before bottling.


Discard Essiac tea if it tastes sour or when white mold appears floating on the surface.  Essiac herbs and tea are light and heat sensitive so it is important to store in a cool, dark place.


Recommended Adult Dosage for Essiac Tea


[Note:  The following information applies just to people who are using Essiac tea as a treatment for cancer and not necessarily for other ailments or general health purposes.  Also, it is important to remember that Rene Caisse was using the oral dosages below in conjunction with intramuscular injections of a specially filtered sheep sorrel solution, which is no longer done.]


"Remember that all diseases have a life cycle and a rhythm of their own, so follow your own judgement according to what your body is telling you about the dosage it needs."[4]


According to Sheila Snow and Mali Klein's research, "It was only when the doctors connected with the Resperin Corporation started working with Essiac that Rene began to advise the dose of one fluid ounce diluted in two ounces of warm water before going to bed."[4]  "Rene recommended the 30 ml [one fluid ounce] daily dose for cancer.  Depending on the exact nature and severity of your condition, you may have to consider taking Essiac at this dosage level for a period of up to two years, with 'resting' intervals of perhaps one week off in every four in order to stimulate maximum efficacy of the tea."  "It is our experience that the body seems to resist Essiac at higher doses.  Rene Caisse considered high doses a complete waste of the remedy and risked the possibility of stimulating over-detoxification crises."[5]  [However, it should be noted that Nurse Caisse was also treating cancer patients with sheep sorrel injections in conjunction with the oral tea, too, and sheep sorrel root was a necessary part of the Essiac formula to achieve the results she achieved at the Rene M. Caisse Cancer Clinic.  Most Essiac tea manufacturers do not include sheep sorrel roots.]


"Dosage as a remedy for cancer:  Drink 1 fluid ounce/30ml Essiac once daily, diluted with 2 fluid ounces/60ml of hot water.  This should be sipped (like any hot tea), preferably before bedtime and at least two hours after eating.  Food should not be eaten within one hour of drinking the tea."[3]


"It is very important to use the dosage as recommended, which was based on more than 54 years' experience.  Rene was very concerned about this, which is why she personally administered the dose to her patients.  The herbs are very potent, and in particular Sheep Sorrel can have the effect of enlarging the tumor too quickly, so that it may burst, or a vital organ may be blocked because of its increase in size.  Sometimes the tumors will soften, dissolve into small pieces and be eliminated through the bowel or the urinary tract.  Cancer growths in the breast have been known to become encapsulated within six weeks to three months, and can then be removed surgically with little danger of metastasising in the future.  Cancers of the oesophagus have also become encapsulated and removed cleanly and safely by surgery."[3]


“In the first years of my research I found that some people experience nausea and vomiting when the decoction is too strong, even after it has been diluted with twice the volume of water….I started working with a useful ‘middle way’ ratio, using 10 g. mixed herbs to 1 litre of water, which translates to one fluid ounce measure of the dried herbs to 35 fluid ounces of water….This ratio has worked very well in application, with no adverse side effects, and is well tolerated over a long period of time with occasional rest periods and the option of doubling the dose when necessary.” [6] 


"Depending on special circumstances, very occasionally in her later years, she would sometimes advise an initial dose of one fluid ounce twice daily for the first five, ten or (rarely) thirty days before reducing to one fluid ounce a day.  Rene was always very particular about this because she was aware that sometimes, when patients first began taking the Essiac formula, their tumours might enlarge suddenly as though they were gathering back the cancerous cells that had metastasised.  When that happened, she either gave lighter doses or stopped treatment altogether for a time, to prevent a vital organ from becoming blocked.  It all depended on the nature and position of the tumour.  For example, primary brain tumours rarely metastasise and we have had no reports of this type of swelling when taking Essiac in these cases.  Essiac should never be administered intravenously.  During the early days of Rene's pioneering research, she found that only Sheep Sorrel could be injected intramuscularly as an individual herb."[3]  WARNING:  DO NOT INJECT SHEEP SORREL.  Sheep sorrel solution is no longer injected as it could be dangerous and it is unnecessary to do so.  There are safe, alternative methods of using sheep sorrel solution that are discussed in THE ESSIAC BOOK and the upcoming COMPLETE ESSIAC ESSENTIALS by Mali Klein. 


For pets and children the dosage for Essiac tea should be reduced proportionally depending on body weight. 

How to Use Sheep Sorrel Solution

In April of 1974 Rene Caisse wrote:  "The herb that will destroy a cancer is the dog-eared, Sheep sorrel, sometimes called sourgrass.  The entire plant must be used, picked in the spring before the seeds form, then dried and powdered.  One ounce of the powdered herb put in thirty ounces of pure water brought to a rolling boil and boiled for five minutes.  [This is called a “decoction”]  This would reduce in the boiling to twenty-eight ounces.  Turn off the heat and let stand overnight.  Then pour off liquid into sterile bottles."[1]  When pouring into sterile bottles or jars, one can use a sieve to filter out larger particles.  When using the Sheep sorrel solution, pour slowly from the bottle or jar [decant] so that the sediment, if any, remains at the bottom.  Sheep sorrel solution [decoction] can be made up and used in conjunction with all other Essiac formulae.[7]  The following information on the use of sheep sorrel solution can be found in THE ESSIAC BOOK by Mali Klein, p. 29-30.

Topical:  “Use topically as an undiluted solution, either to bathe the affected area several times daily or to soak sterile gauze swabs to use as dressings.  Change the dressings at least twice every 24 hours.

“Sublingual therapy:  Hold 10 ml [two teaspoons] undiluted decoction in the mouth for 30 minutes twice weekly at bedtime.  Do not swallow.  Please clean your teeth at least half an hour before treatment or half an hour afterwards.  [If you have to spit out the sheep sorrel decoction before the 30 minutes is up, simply use another two teaspoons of decoction to complete the 30 minutes.]

“You may experience some feverish symptoms and/or loose and strong-smelling bowel movements for up to forty-eight hours after using the solution as a sublingual therapy if you have an active cancer mass.

“Mouthwash:  Dilute 10 ml [two teaspoons] decoction with 10 ml [two teaspoons] warm water for use up to five times daily.  Do not swallow.

“Enema or douche therapies:  Dilute 10 ml [two teaspoons] with 10 ml [two teaspoons] spring water warmed to blood heat, for use with a suitable applicator once every third day on going to bed.  For maximum absorption, remain lying prone for at least 20 minutes after application.

"Do not drink Sheep sorrel solution -- it appears to work more effectively unhindered by the normal processes of the digestive system."[6]

For more information about Rene Caisse and Essiac tea read the four books below by Sheila Snow and Mali Klein.  These books are out of print but copies can be found on the internet.  Mali Klein’s new book, THE COMPLETE ESSIAC ESSENTIALS, may be available in 2011.


What other herbs did Rene Caisse use?


In addition to Burdock, Sheep Sorrel, Slippery Elm and Rhubarb, Rene Caisse used the following herbs:  Gold Thread, Cleavers, Juniper, Periwinkle, Prickly Ash, Red Clover, Bearberry, Bloodroot, Watercress and Balsam of Peru.[1] 




1.  ESSIAC:  SECRETS OF RENE CAISSE'S HERBAL PHARMACY by Sheila Snow and Mali Klein, p. 20-31

2.  THE ESSENCE OF ESSIAC  by Sheila Snow, p. 122-126

3.  ESSIAC ESSENTIALS by Sheila Snow and Mali Klein, p. 37-38

4.  ESSIAC ESSENTIALS, by Sheila Snow and Mali Klein, p. 41-46

5.  ESSIAC:  SECRETS OF RENE CAISSE'S HERBAL PHARMACY by Sheila Snow and Mali Klein, p. 113-121

6.  THE ESSIAC BOOK by Mali Klein, p. 24-30

7.  THE ESSIAC BOOK by Mali KLein, p. 123-124


9.  THE COMPLETE ESSIAC ESSENTIALS by Mali Klein & Sheila Snow (© 2010)



 "The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, in diet, and in the cause and prevention of disease."  Thomas Edison

"If people let the government decide what foods they eat and what medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as are the souls who live under tyranny."    Thomas Jefferson

"Unless we put medical freedom into the Constitution, the time will come when medicine will organize into an underground dictatorship....To restrict the art of healing to one class of men and deny equal privileges to others will constitute the Bastille of medical science.  All such laws are un-American and despotic and have no place in a republic....The Constitution of this republic should make special privilege for medical freedom as well as religious freedom."   Dr. Benjamin Rush, signer of the Declaration of Independence

FDA Protection Racket


According to the Journal of the American Medical Association [JAMA], approximately 100,000 Americans die from FDA-approved drugs approved every year.  However, the actual number of deaths is much higher because this was based only on a hospital study.  According to a 174-page report by the U.S. National Poison Data System in 2009, the number of Americans who died from using vitamins, minerals, amino acids or herbal supplements is exactly zero!  Why then is the FDA and FTC aggressively attacking people who sell cancer herbs and other natural remedies?  The answer to this question was given by the most credible witness—Dr. Herbert Ley, former Commissioner of the FDA: 


“The thing that bugs me is that people think the FDA is protecting them.  It isn't.  What the FDA is doing and what the public thinks it's doing are as different as night and day.  First, it is providing a means whereby key individuals on its payroll are able to obtain both power and wealth through granting special favors to certain politically influential groups that are subject to its regulation.  This activity is similar to the 'protection racket' of organized crime:  for a price, one can induce FDA administrators to provide 'protection' from the FDA itself.  Secondly, as a result of this political favoritism, the FDA has become a primary factor in that formula whereby cartel-oriented companies in the food and drug industry are able to use the police powers of government to harass or destroy their free-market competitors.  And thirdly, the FDA occasionally does some genuine public good with whatever energies it has left over after serving the vested political and commercial interest of its first two activities.”  [WORLD WITHOUT CANCER by G. Edward Griffin]




It is important that in cases of serious illness one should consult a competent, experienced naturopathic doctor or integrative medical doctor who has personally examined you.  It is important to remember that each individual's body has specific requirements for nutrition.  Therefore, the information offered in this booklet is for historical and general information only and not to be construed as medical advice or treatment.  The use of herbs and other natural remedies is a natural right.  We assert that each individual human being owns his or her own body and no government has the right to usurp that ownership.  No mere statute or regulation can take away a human right.  This booklet is given free of charge under the jurisdiction and principles of Natural Law.  THEREFORE, all Natural, Human Rights and Freedoms are hereby secured and preserved, any and all mere de facto political laws, codes, regulations, statutes, administrative procedures, government alphabet agencies and/or United Nations treaties to the contrary notwithstanding. 


Health Freedom Info --


{All Rights Reserved.  The ESSIAC MANUAL is intended for use by natural healing professionals and their patients.  The ESSIAC MANUAL may be reproduced and distributed only under the following conditions:  1) that it be free of charge; 2) that it be reproduced in its entirety without any alteration whatsoever; 3) that it not be used to promote or sell a specific Essiac product unless permission is granted by the 4) that anyone wishing to post this information on a website must first obtain permission from the webmaster and include a link to the SHFN website.  Contact the }