Rene Caisse was a modest, humble, hardworking nurse from Canada when she discovered the herbal remedy that rocked the medical world. She remained humble and hard-working until the day she died in relative obscurity. She never took money for the Essiac tea remedy, wanting to distribute it fairly to as many people as possible.

Sadly, this simple remedy composed of four herbs made into a tea, which should have been available to all, was virtually shut down by the Canadian government. Popular belief says it was because cancer is a disease that makes millions of dollars for health institutes whose desire is to control cancer, not to cure it.

Always interested in herbal medicine, Rene Caisse began collecting herbs and making herbal remedies in her own kitchen while working as a nurse in a Canadian hospital. But the remedy she became best known for was Essiac, which is her last name spelled backwards. Born in Bracebridge, Ontario, Canada, Rene’s use of Essiac over the years earned her the title of Canada’s cancer nurse.

She stumbled upon the formula for the tea quite by accident through a patient at the hospital in which she was working. This patient told her the story of how she had been cured of cancer using a mixture of herbs from an Ojibway Indian herbalist. Rene learned about the herbs in the formula and began growing them herself.

Rene continued working as a nurse, but eventually gave up her career and devoted her time completely to administering the Essiac cure to people suffering from cancer. She freely administered the special Essiac tea to anyone who requested it for over 40 years. Beginning in 1922, she ran a clinic and gave Essiac to people into the late 1970’s.

Rene Caisse's Essiac tea was said to be a natural cure for cancer.

The news of Essiac cancer-cures spread far and wide as grateful patients and their families got the word out. It was at this point that the Canadian Ministry of Health and Welfare and the Parliament got involved and tried to stop her activities. Petitions were circulated in an effort to legalize Essiac so that Rene could administer it without interference from authorities. Rene ultimately lost the battle, and when she died in 1978, the Canadian Ministry of Health and Welfare burned all the information and documents pertaining to Essiac that recorded and certified cure rates. Thus this valuable information was lost to us forever.

Her record of lives saved was astounding for the time she lived in, the 1920’s, when cures for cancer were almost unheard of. Many of the people she treated had been told by their doctors that their cancer was incurable; and they came to Rene with letters from their doctors stating as much. The herbs that went into the tea were given both orally and by injection, and for many of her patients, the tea was their last hope.

Not all of her patients lived, especially those whose cancer had progressed so far that their internal organs were damaged. But even these people lived longer than expected, and they lived without pain. Of the patients whose cancer was not so far advanced, they were cured and lived long, full lives.

Essiac was said to be a natural cure for cancer, but the Canadian government didn’t want that information to get out. Though there are no extensive clinical studies that would give us conclusive evidence that Rene Caisse’s herbal formula alleviates, cures or prevents any disease, there are many people who either drank the tea or took it by injection that swore to its effectiveness. It also has been said to cure the common cold because it elevates the immune system.

Rene Caisse's Essiac tea was said to be a natural cure for cancer.

The four herbs used to make the original Essiac are burdock root, sheep sorrel, slippery elm bark, and Indian rhubarb root, sometimes substituted by Turkey rhubarb. The tea is sold in the United States, Europe, Australia, Asia, and Africa. Though widely available, beware of substitutions in the formula; using anything but the original herbs will greatly reduce the formula’s effectiveness.

Burdock Root: This herb is a blood purifier and the key ingredient in the tea. Burdock root neutralizes toxins in the blood and stimulates liver secretions thus helping the liver eliminate toxic build-up. It’s high in chromium, iron, magnesium, silicon, and thiamine. Niacin, riboflavin, vitamin A and vitamin C are also found in this herb. It was also used traditionally to help maintain a healthy gastrointestinal tract and stimulate a healthy immune response. The herb yellow dock has been used as a substitute but is not as effective.

Sheep Sorrel: Sheep sorrel is the herb that destroys cancer cells. It looks like a common weed, but has been in use as an herbal medicine for centuries; every part of this super-star herb can be used medicinally. High in vitamins C, E, beta-carotene, and other carotenoids, it’s known as one of the most potent antioxidant herbs on the planet. Traditionally, it was used to cool the body through sweating and detoxification through the skin. It’s a powerful diuretic herb and supports healthy kidney and urinary functions.

Slippery Elm Bark: The inner bark is rich in calcium, magnesium, and vitamins A, B, C, and K. It has large amounts of tannins and mucilages that are thought to help dissolve mucus deposits in tissue glands and nerve channels. It nourishes and soothes organs, tissues, and mucous membranes, and supports lung health. It also helps normalize digestion and is a blood purifier.

Indian Rhubarb Root: (sometimes substituted by Turkey Rhubarb) Used traditionally in small amounts, this herb helps purge the liver of toxic build-up and waste; it’s also a blood purifier. This herb purges the wide array of toxins that we take in from our air, water, and food.

Even people without cancer can use it for its overall health benefits. The tea is safe for long-term use; it can also be used for those on chemotherapy and is safe for children and pets. Pregnant or nursing women should not use Essiac in any of its forms; liquid, capsule, or powder.

Essiac tea is good for more than just cancer; it can be used for a number of ailments as well as for overall health. In known use since 1922, this non-toxic formula has blood purifying, liver cleansing properties and can also soothe irritations and inflammations. Mainstream medications for the treatment of cancer many times fail to provide the body the nutrients it needs to help its own immune system fight back. Essiac tea does provide these nutrients to the body, and this is a big part of the reason for its success.

If you want to brew a batch of Essiac tea, you’ll need a scale to weigh out the proper amounts of each herb as follows:

Get the above-listed herbs in powder form. Follow the procedure for brewing the tea as outlined below. The recipe will make 2 gallons, and it can last for up to 2 weeks. You need to drink 2-4 cups of the tea a day for general health maintenance, 3-4 times a day for more serious conditions. Simply mix 2 ounces of the tea with 2 ounces of fresh water; you can drink it either hot or cold. If you have any of the tea left after 2 weeks you can reheat your mixture one more time and continue drinking it for another 2 weeks. If there is any left after that, throw it out and make a fresh batch.

Here’s all you’ll need to make a batch of your own:

  • A large stainless steel or enamel canning pot with a lid; never use aluminum because of the various health risks associated with it, such as it having been linked to Alzheimer’s disease. This link has not been officially established, but there are other health concerns with aluminum. Some believe it may produce hydroxide poison which neutralizes digestive juices, thus causing stomach and gastrointestinal trouble like stomach ulcers and colitis. Aluminum is a toxic metal that can build up over time, so it makes sense to avoid it.
  • A second large pot with a lid to pour hot liquid into while you strain the tea. Use Pyrex or stainless steel for both of the pots.
  • Mesh strainer made of stainless steel
  • Long handled spoon
  • Spatula
  • Funnel or glass measuring cup
  • Tongs
  • 32-ounce amber-glass bottles. You’ll need six bottles for a full batch, 3 bottles for a half batch. Amber bottles will help keep light out, but if you only have clear bottles to use, wrap them in foil or brown paper to keep as much light out as possible.
  • Lids and rings for the jars
  • Jar labels

Procedure to Make Your Tea:

Your first step should be to sterilize your glass jars by either boiling them in water or putting them in a 200-degree oven for ten minutes. Carefully remove the jars and lids with the tongs and put them out on the counter upside down and on a clean towel.

For a two-gallon recipe, mix all four of the herbs together. If you want to cut the recipe in half to make just one gallon, halve each of the herbs first and then mix them together.

To make the full two-gallon recipe, first, bring two gallons of distilled or spring water to a boil; or one gallon if making only half the recipe. As soon as the water begins to boil, stir in your herbs, cover the pot and continue boiling for ten minutes.

After ten minutes, turn off the stove, scrape down the sides with your spatula, mix well and let the pot sit with the lid on for twelve hours. This time is necessary for the steeping and extraction process.

When twelve hours are up, reheat your mixture to almost boiling; this should take about ten minutes. Then let it cool for a few minutes and start your straining process to separate the sludge from the tea. You can strain the tea as many times as you like, but a little herb left in the liquid won’t hurt you in any way. The straining process is where you’ll need your second pot to catch the hot tea as you strain it.

Once you’ve got it strained into the second pot, reheat your tea once again, this time for 2-3 minutes only. This reheating will kill any bacteria that may have gotten into the mixture and help keep the tea from spoiling too soon.

Next, using your funnel or glass measuring cup, pour the hot tea into your sterilized glass jars. Put the lids on, let the tea cool for a while and place the jars in the refrigerator.

The tea is good for two weeks, so be sure to label the jars the day you make the tea and the day it expires. If you have any left after two weeks, it can be reheated and used for another two weeks, but after that you have to discard it.

If you boil the tea too long or leave it sitting for more than twelve hours, it’s still good. Just be sure to boil it for an extra 10-15 minutes to make sure there are no bacteria in it. Use this formula for your own personal use and experimentation; most people have found it to be safe and non-toxic, even with long-term use.

Directions for Use:

Mix 2 oz. of the tea with 2 oz. of hot water. Don’t heat the water in a microwave as this will destroy the tea’s health-giving properties. The tea should be drunk on an empty stomach 10-20 minutes before a meal, if possible. This will allow for better absorption of all its goodness, but you’ll still get the benefits even if you don’t drink it on an empty stomach. The herbs in the tea will stimulate your body to throw off toxins, so be sure to drink plenty of water and have regular bowel movements.

For cancer and other serious ailments, drink the tea 3-4 times a day. For chronic ailments drink it twice a day, and for general maintenance and gentle detoxification drink it once a day. Chronic conditions include such things as asthma, hypertension, osteoporosis, fibromyalgia, etc.

Don’t substitute tinctured formula for the original recipe; it’s not as effective. Some people add alcohol to the formula to preserve it, but this will interfere with the potency of the formula.

When you make up the tea, it may seem like it’s very thick; this thickness comes from the slippery elm bark. This herb is a demulcent, and creates a slimy consistency, but is very effective in healing inflamed tissue and stomach ulcers.

After filtering your tea, there will be a significant amount of sludge left over; don’t throw it away. It can be used as a poultice on cancer-type wounds. There are also some folks who drink the tea while taking chemotherapy and have not suffered the side effects that go along with the chemo, but there are no studies to back up these claims.

There have been very few negative side effects from using the tea. Just be sure you drink plenty of water to flush the toxins that the tea will pull out of your organs. Some people have given the tea to pets and children as well; if you do this scale the dose down by weight.

Use this formula for your own personal use and experimentation; most people have found it to be safe and non-toxic, even with long-term use. The tea has a mild, pleasant taste; you can sweeten it with honey to further enjoy its health benefits.


  1. Unless I’m blind (which could be the case), there are no measurements for the amount of each herb for the tea recipe. It just states to mix all four herbs together. Can you fill me in on the amounts? Any update on this would be greatly appreciated.!

    1. From the author:
      If you want to brew Essiac tea you’ll need a scale to weigh out the proper amounts of each herb as follows:
      Burdock Root 1.7 oz
      Sheep Sorrell 1.3 oz
      Turkey Rhubarb 0.2 oz
      Slippery Elm 0.4 oz
      Get the herbs in powder form. Follow the directions for brewing it that I have outlined in my article. The amounts above will brew the entire 2 gallon recipe and it makes a 2 week supply. You need to drink 2-4 cups of it a day for general health maintenance, 3-4 times a day for more serious conditions. If you have any left over after 2 weeks you can reheat the mixture one more time and continue drinking it for another 2 weeks. If there is any left over after that, throw it out. The reason the amounts needed weren’t in the article I was assuming certain brewing amounts of the tea would be up to the individual.The amounts I’ve given here are for a specific amount of tea to be brewed. I’m sorry for the confusion.

  2. Fit children (or smaller adults), what is the recommended weight to herb (or breed tea) ratio? Thank you!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.