WHAT WAS THE ORIGINAL ESSIAC FORMULA?
Health Freedom Info Newsletter -- March 2013
This newsletter focuses on exciting, new information about Essiac tea.
Much controversy surrounds the mystery of the original Essiac recipe. This is primarily due to Rene Caisse keeping the original Essiac recipe secret. Certain companies and individuals claim to know the original formula. However, they are using the word "original" in a different context than the actual source of the formula. In the most strict sense, the original formula came from an "old Indian Medicine Man" in the late 1800s whom Rene Caisse never met. The original formula that she was given (by an English woman) contained eight herbs. And it is not the eight-herb formula that is widely promoted on the internet and sold in health food stores. It appears that Rene Caisse never told anyone what the eighth herb was. She told her trusted friend, Mary McPherson, what seven of those herbs were, but not the eighth. Therefore, the original formula that was used by the Indian medicine man remains a mystery.
However, the more important question is: What formula was Rene Caisse using after fifty years of testing variations of these herbs? In other words, what was the formula that she found worked best for real cancer patients? That question was answered by Mary McPherson who actually made Essiac tea for Rene Caisse in the last few years of her life. When Mary recorded her Essiac formula affidavit in the Town of Bracebridge in 1994, she officially resolved the controversy. Recently, the Sovereigns' Health Freedom Network was privileged to interview one of Mary McPherson's friends.
THE ESSIAC STORY CONTINUES....
After Rene's death in 1978, Mary McPherson continued to provide Essiac tea to people with cancer. Naturally, Mary would have needed help in procuring the herbs to make Essiac tea, and one of those helpers was Barbara Kokotsis.
A living witness to the Essiac story, Barbara Kokotsis, confirmed in a recent telephone interview that sheep sorrel root was indeed part of the Essiac formula. Mrs. Kokotsis also confirmed the final four-herb Essiac formula that Rene Caisse was using at the end of her life. This was the same formula that Mary McPherson revealed in her recorded affidavit in 1994.
In the early 1980s, Mary McPherson gave Barbara Kokotsis a handwritten recipe for the Essiac formula. Mrs. Kokotsis provided this website with a copy of this handwritten recipe, which can be viewed here.
The following excerpts are from this recent telephone interview with Barbara Kokotsis:
Q: When did you first meet Rene Caisse and Mary McPherson?
BK: "I met Rene and Mary in my restaurant. We had a restaurant in Bracebridge, just a couple of streets over from where Rene lived and it was 1977 in my restaurant. So she came in with Mary and they were always sitting in the corner. Mary loved her cheese omelet and Rene loved her steak in a bun so that is where I met them." ["Apollo" restaurant picture on right]
Q: How did you find out about Essiac?
BK: "I became good friends with Mary. She was living not too far away from me. She was an elderly lady and she had a big family—I don’t know how many kids that Mary had—eight or nine, I guess. And so there were parties to arrange--birthday parties and the kids were coming into the restaurant. And so one led to another and Mary told me about what Rene Caisse was doing, what her lifelong ambitions were. That is how I got to know Essiac."
Q: How did you first get introduced to the tea?
BK: "Mary showed me. She had given me the recipe. I’ve got the original recipe from Rene, which Rene had given her and she gave it to me. And so it didn’t take me very long to gather up whatever I could gather up. I was digging up the burdock roots in my back yard. It was all country around where we were so it was easy access. She taught me. She showed me how to identify it, certain things. She taught me how to do the tea. So I did the tea for many, many, many people plus ourselves, our family—two girls, my husband and myself for preventative measures....We had two small children and a business that was just getting off the ground, so my hands were full with gathering up herbs for Mary and I was busy."
Q: So you were just getting burdock and sheep sorrel?
BK: "Yeah. She had somebody that was doing the slippery elm bark. She had a few people that were helping her with gathering up a few herbs. I was, because the burdock was so plentiful in my back yard, and sheep sorrel. So it wasn’t too much of an effort. I dried it for her and then she powdered it."
Q: Did you provide the sheep sorrel root as well?
BK: "Yeah, root and the leaves. There is more power in the roots than in the leaves. So if I could get the root out it would be good but it would be a combination of the two."
Q: Did you say you have a written recipe for Essiac that Mary gave you?
BK: "Yes, I do. I’m pretty lucky."
Q: Would it be possible that you could send me a copy of what she wrote?
BK: "Just a second, I have it right here. I made a photocopy here for Essiac and then the original I’ve got. Bear with me for a second. It says 6 ˝ cups burdock root cut, the slippery elm bark and the Turkish rhubarb and the sheep sorrel and the burdock."
Q: Okay. What were the ratios of the sheep sorrel and the slippery elm and the Turkish rhubarb?
BK: "A quarter pound of slippery elm bark, an ounce of Turkish rhubarb and one pound of sheep sorrel, powdered, and 6 ˝ cups of burdock root....If you buy it today in a health food store, you don’t know what’s in the package if you’re not an herbalist. They can put all kinds of powder in the packages and sell it to you."
Q: Would it be possible to get a copy of that recipe that you have? I would like to put it up on the website if that would be okay with you.
BK: "Yeah, sure I think it is a good idea to do that. I made little notes on the side—I just looked at the recipe and it says: 'behind the house', you know, where I can get the stuff from, you know, dig it out. Different writing, that’s my writing when I say 'behind the house'."
[CLICK HERE to view a copy of this document.]
Q: What other success stories have you had making Essiac tea and giving it to people?
BK: "A good friend of mine, she had arthritis and she was cured with Essiac. I have made tea for I don’t know how many people and they were all claiming success.
"So then I became friends with Mary until she died. I visited her at the old age home in Bracebridge, you know, at the retirement home. Many, many times I brought her stuff--that I know from the restaurant--that she would like."
CLICK HERE for the full interview.
Barbara Kokotsis is selling some of Rene Caisse's original paintings. Mrs. Kokotsis plans to put these paintings on display at the Rene M. Caisse Theater in Bracebridge, Ontario this spring (2013). CLICK HERE to view the paintings.
The following insightful analysis of how Essiac works was recently submitted by herbalist Florita Brillar:
THE ESSIAC MECHANISM
When Rene Caisse treated cancer patients with Essiac, she used trial and error to determine how the herbs functioned. However, since she was not an herbalist, she did not fully understand what the herbs were actually doing to heal cancer. However, she did discover that "The herb that will destroy a cancer is the dog-eared sheep sorrel, sometimes called sourgrass." She further refined the mixture to the four herb formula we know today: Rhubarb root, Slippery Elm inner bark, Burdock root, and Sheep Sorrel with the root included. She knew these herbs were effective and had the dosage figured out empirically. It worked, and that was good enough for her.
She did speculate that some "as yet undiscovered glands" were being stimulated, glands being the cutting edge buzzwords of medical science in the early 20th century. Nurse Caisse was a brilliant clinician, and as such she was well aware that Essiac was raising the overall vigor of the body and helping it to throw the cancer out itself. She was also well aware of the vivid contrast between Essiac's action and that of radiation and chemotherapy.
Radiation and chemotherapy rely upon a warfare model of healing: the cancer is the enemy and must be attacked ruthlessly, at all costs. With conventional chemotherapy, the body is fed poisons right up to the point of death. Since the poisons which are used preferentially attack rapidly reproducing cells, the hope is that the cancer will be killed before the patient dies. Like cancer cells, immune cells and hair cells grow rapidly, and this explains some of the dominant side effects of chemotherapy.
Essiac tea, by comparison, works largely by enhancing the body's natural ability to heal itself. It sets up conditions within the body which discourage cancer cells while stimulating normal body function. There are no known negative direct effects of the herbs- taken in moderation- upon healthy growing cells or organs. Given half a chance, your body can rally its defenses and overwhelm the cancer using natural mechanisms.
Digging through the herbal literature searching for the four Essiac herbs, I have collected a list of effects which work together to heal cancer. Essiac's modes of action mostly fall into four major categories: supplementing and balancing minerals, modulating blood chemistry, stimulating organs and flushing wastes. There is considerable overlap between these as well as some miscellaneous effects. I believe there are also some mechanisms which remain unknown. In particular, most literature on sheep sorrel talks about the leaves and seeds, with little to no focus on the roots. Saying that the roots, unlike the leaves, have a definite strong bitter principle explains very little.
Supplementing and balancing minerals:
Sheep sorrel is extremely rich in potassium salts. Cancer cells prefer a potassium depleted environment, exactly the situation given the Typical Modern Agribusiness Highly Processed Diet (TMAHPD). By flooding the blood with a high concentration of bio-active, membrane soluble potassium ions, cancer cells are directly suppressed. Individual, metastasized cells are especially vulnerable to attack by the immune system, finding themselves adrift in a sea of hostile (to them) potassium. One important factor is the potassium/sodium balance, and to optimize this effect you should restrict salt intake while using Essiac. Skip the TMAHPD, which is high in sodium salts.
Essiac tea is very high in calcium. Unlike the calcium in milk products, this calcium is in a form which is easily absorbed. Among all the wonderful things calcium does for a body, its role in cell growth and regulation is the main benefit here. Bio-available calcium is generally low in the TMAHPD.
Burdock root is high in iron. Iron, unfortunately, can stimulate cancer growth. Sheep sorrel (and, to a lesser extent, Indian rhubarb) provides plentiful oxalate, which binds the iron and flushes it out of your system. This moderation of blood iron concentrations will only take place if you drink water. Oxalate can also build up in your kidneys and hurt them, unless you drink water, and lots of it. This is one reason for taking a break from Essiac every month or so, to give the oxalate a chance to flush out. Rest assured that your iron levels will stay near the optimum so as to not unduly stimulate the cancer, and drink more water.
[Photo above visually shows proper ratio of the four Essiac tea herbs -- burdock root (upper left), sheep sorrel (upper right), slippery elm (lower left) and Turkish rhubarb (lower right).]
Modulating Blood Chemistry:
Essiac tea consumption will raise your blood and interstitial pH (make it more basic and less acidic). Acidic body pH is another result of the TMAHPD; high protein and sugar consumption are what you especially want to forego while using Essiac. Replace them with more dietary fiber and vitamin rich foods. Several of the Essiac herbs help to buffer your pH, but burdock is the most active of these, scavenging medium to large organic acids for eventual flushing from your system. Drink more water to help them on their way.
Cancer cells react strongly to high pH, retreating into established tumors where they can strive to keep the conditions acidic for a while. This might lead to temporary swelling or hardening of a tumor when first using Essiac. Eventually the cancer cells will lose this fight, as the pH gets higher and higher around them. Metastasis is severely suppressed under basic conditions, and will even reverse itself to some extent.
Essiac tea moderates blood sugar levels, mainly preventing spikes in blood glucose. Slippery elm and rhubarb root are primarily implicated in this, although the mysterious sheep sorrel root might play a role as well. This is a fairly common defense in the vegetable kingdom; the plant is, in essence, saying, "eat me and I will actively suppress your nutrition instead of nourishing you." Excess blood sugar is a well known effect of the TMAHPD. Some diabetics find that Essiac tea allows them to control their blood sugars without insulin. As far as cancer is concerned, the lack of high blood sugar levels leaves tumors unable to create new blood vessels in order to fuel their growth.
Essiac tea acts as an anti-inflammatory agent. This is a somewhat miscellaneous effect, but I decided to shoehorn it into the blood chemistry section. Part of the inflammation response is sending a signal to blood cells to accumulate at the site of inflammation. This is exactly what you DON'T want in the case of cancer. Cancer is, to a large extent, similar to an inflammation. Burdock is the main actor here, especially the seeds. To the extent that the TMAHPD contains genetically modified ingredients, inflammation may be a major result, encouraging cancers.
Sheep sorrel root is a powerful astringent. By drying out excess moisture from in between cells, this protects healthy cells from wastes in solution lingering around them. It also prevents cancer cells from building up concentrations of chemicals which allow them to prosper. The tissue can be referred to as “toned”, which is to say it is primed for absorbing the beneficial chemicals present in the blood due to consuming Essiac tea.
Simply put, Essiac tea stimulates the liver, kidneys and colon. These are the big three when it comes to flushing wastes from the body. It very likely also stimulates the pancreas and lymphatic system. As cancer cells die in your body, the wastes from those cells need to go away. Regular waste removal is essential to remain cancer free. The liver, kidney and colon, with major support from the lymphatic system, take care of this for you. Drink more water to help them do their job.
A good reason to take a break from Essiac tea every month or so is to give these organs a rest from constant stimulation. After a weeks rest, continue with the Essiac tea and get these organs revved up again.
Essiac is also a moderate digestive or stomachic, not so much stimulating the stomach as helping the digestive juices to do their job. This will help to keep things as they should be further downstream, allowing for better nutrient absorption and waste excretion. This is one reason to drink Essiac on an empty stomach, as indigestion can result from mixing Essiac and a full load of food. Things can get a little too active.
If I stretch a point, and call the immune system an organ (it isn't really; it could be thought of as several organs working together), I can fit this miscellaneous effect into the organ section. Essiac stimulates your immune system and tonifies it, which is only subtly different. A well functioning immune system can expel cancer from the body; This is the normal state of affairs. Cancerous cells come and go all the time, and your immune system is the main reason you never notice most of them.
The TMAHPD insults your immune system in at least three ways: 1) Herbicides, fungicides and insecticides in your food (and in the air) short circuit the immune system fairly directly, 2) Low nutrient levels- minerals mostly- don't allow your immune system to function as well as it can, and 3) Genetically modified ingredients can confuse your immune system, causing it to give up when it needn't and to overwork when it shouldn't. These effects can lead directly to runaway cancer growth. The increase of genetically modified "food" in the TMAHPD is already leading to a rise in cancers, most notably in children. This will only get worse if it is allowed to continue.
Burdock is the champion here, binding to a variety of toxins and dragging them down to your liver or kidneys for flushing out. Besides from binding organic acids, burdock will bind solvents like acetone and phenol, various CFC's and CHC's, certain pharmaceuticals and food additives, rancid oils, dead cancer cell leftovers, and heavy metals like lead and mercury. These are typically stored in fat cells and in the liver, and all of them can make a contribution to cancer pathology. When the Essiac tea starts binding these up and putting them into your bloodstream, you might notice the effects of them. Most of the potential negative side effects of Essiac tea come about through this mechanism. This will be most pronounced if you are taking larger doses of Essiac and/or not drinking enough water. Practice moderation. Quit or reduce the Essiac for a day and drink more water if the symptoms are bothering you. Drink more water anyway.
Slippery elm comes into its own here; This herb causes a turnover in your mucus, primarily in the colon. Besides from dissolving old mucus, along with the various things bound up in it, mucilage causes all of that slimy messy type stuff to be excreted. Burdock also has some mucilage, but slippery elm has a lot more, as well as stimulating mucous secretions throughout the body: in the sinuses, lungs and so on. The goal is to keep the sticky stuff flowing. To that effect, drink more water to keep it from hardening up on you.
All of the herbs in Essiac tea are at least mildly diuretic, some strongly so. Unlike coffee or tea (also diuretics), Essiac does not cause excess secretion of healthful minerals in your urine. It does, however, increase secretion of amino acids, thereby both pampering your kidneys and helping to flush away some of the leftovers of cancer dissolution. Dr. Andrew Weil lists "excessive urination" as a negative side effect of Essiac use. I see it as, at worst, a minor inconvenience; more likely it is a major contributor to the overall healthful effect of Essiac tea. For best results, you guessed it, drink more water.
With a little bit of visualization you can see all of the above mechanisms working together throughout your body to drive a cancer out of existence and flush away the remains. Synergistic action is the way most herbs work, and lack of synergy is why conventional medicines don't work so well with cancer. Poisoning the whole body, in order to eliminate the small diseased portion, is bound to lead to more problems later on, even if the cancer is "cured".
Essiac tea will work better if you honor this synergy by eating health-giving foods, drinking plentiful water and trying to keep a strong (not necessarily positive) attitude. Working with your body to encourage healthy, normal function can be a bit more complicated in concept, but it is also cheaper and more empowering than the conventional medical model. Most important is to learn everything you can about how to use Essiac and apply what you have learned moderately and consistently.
One crucial point is that these mechanisms will not show positive results in laboratory tests against cancer cultures. An herb which stimulates the immune system, for example, will only show results if tested on an actual immune system. In the absence of extensive clinical trials, Essiac tea has to rely on word of mouth and anecdotal evidence, which allows it no respect in the mainstream scientific world view. People who have tried Essiac tea usually know better.
Caisse, Rene M. I Was Canada's Cancer Nurse 1965
Grieve, M. A Modern Herbal 1931 Dover Publications, Inc.
Kloss, Jethro Back to Eden 1975 Edition Woodbridge Press Publishing Co.
Meyer, Joseph and Clarence The Herbalist 1960 Edition
Moore, Michael Medicinal Plants of the Mountain West 2003 Museum of New Mexico Press
Moore Michael Medicinal Plants of the Pacific West 1993 Red Crane Books
Snow, Sheila and Klein, Mali Essiac The Secrets of Rene Caisse's Herbal Pharmacy 2001 Newleaf
Klein, Mali The Essiac Book 2006 Fisher Miller Publishing
Millspaugh, Charles American Medicinal Plants 1974 (1892) Dover Publications, Inc.
Essiac is often overlooked as a preventive measure. Why wait until one gets cancer to drink Essiac tea? As mentioned in this article, Dr. Gary Glum indicated that people who take Essiac on a regular, preventive basis do not get cancer. Of course, the four herbs in Essiac have been used traditionally for thousands of years to promote general health and not just a remedy for cancer. The article above may shed some light on how Essiac herbs promote health and well-being.
One of the ways to optimize the effectiveness of Essiac tea is to hold it in the mouth longer. The reason for this is to increase the absorption of sheep sorrel sublingually--that is, absorption directly into the bloodstream via the capillaries under the tongue. This is why Essiac tea should not be gulped down, but slowly sipped. In fact, for people with cancer, authors Sheila Snow and Mali Klein recommend holding sheep sorrel solution in the mouth as long as possible because the normal digestive process breaks down sheep sorrel and renders it less effective.
It should also be noted that Rene Caisse also injected sheep sorrel solution to bypass the digestive system and get it directly into the bloodstream. This, of course, is no longer done. It is illegal in most venues and is very painful to experience. Injection is also entirely unnecessary if the sublingual method is used to bypass the digestive system. Also, Rene Caisse applied Essiac tea herbs, sheep sorrel (and other herbs) topically as a cancer remedy.
Best Wishes for Good Health!
CLICK HERE to find sources for Essiac tea herbs with sheep sorrel roots.
HOW TO MAKE ESSIAC TEA VIDEO: CLICK HERE to watch the video on How to Make Essiac Tea in your own home.
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