What You Need To Know About Essiac Tea – 5 Promising Cancer Healing Properties and Benefits
The Health Benefits of Essiac Tea: How to Treat Cancer Naturally
Immensely popular among herbalists and health-conscious individuals, essiac tea has been touted as a natural blood purifier and a complementary cancer therapy for almost a century. Its proponents believe that taking this herbal preparation helps fight free radical damage, eliminates toxins, boosts immunity, reduces inflammation, improves digestion, and promotes sleep – thus bringing the body and mind back to a state of perfect health.
Essiac tea is now widely taken by cancer patients around the world, as its health-promoting effects are believed to prevent tumor growth, reduce pain, improve quality of life, and promote healing. Although the anti-cancer effects of essiac are yet to be proven by large scale human clinical research, mainly due to its mysterious origin, some preclinical studies have shown promising results.
Essiac tea for cancer: The story of a fascinating discovery
Unlike many traditional remedies that have a long history of use, essiac came to the limelight only in the last century. Its origin can be traced back to the year 1922 when a Canadian nurse named Rene Caisse claimed to have discovered a herbal preparation that was effective against cancer.
The formula itself was not her own invention; she came across a breast cancer patient who claimed to have been completely cured by a herbal drink, the recipe of which was given by a native healer. The patient had previously rejected medical treatment and sought help from a traditional healer when she was first diagnosed with cancer.
Fascinated by her discovery, Caisse acquired the recipe and named it essiac – her own name spelled backward. Even though the medical establishment dismissed her claims at the time, Caisse started distributing essiac tea to cancer patients free of cost.
For almost half a century, Caisse continued to help thousands of people, often with remarkable success, reporting over an 80% survival rate among all types of cancer. But at the same time, Caisse also kept the tea’s ingredients a closely guarded secret, which hindered clinical research and prevented its wide acceptance among the larger public.
Even to this day, the proportions of ingredients in the original recipe remain unclear.
What is essiac tea: Ingredients and their healing properties
Essiac is a herbal blend commonly available in the form of powder, capsules, or tea bags. The brew is prepared by adding the mixture to boiling water, simmering it for 8-10 minutes on low heat, and then letting it infuse for 10-12 hours.
The traditional essiac recipe contains four major herbs.
- Burdock (Arctium lappa) root: Arctigenin – a lignan compound naturally found in burdock root – has been shown to prevent the growth of various cancer cells, including cancers of the lungs, stomach, liver, and colon. Research has also shown this herb to promote blood detoxification, improve sugar control, and help with skin ailments.
- Slippery elm (Ulmus rubra) bark: Slippery elm has anti-inflammatory properties that can help soothe gut irritations and help with a range of digestive problems, including inflammatory bowel disease, GERD, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, constipation, and diarrhea. It is also helpful in rheumatism and autoimmune diseases.
- Sheep sorrel (Rumex acetosella): Loaded with micronutrients and antioxidants, sheep sorrel has been used for thousands of years to improve general immunity and vitality. It possesses powerful antibacterial and antiviral properties, which may help prevent common infections and seasonal allergies.
- Turkish or Indian rhubarb (Rheum palmatum) root: Research shows that a compound called aloe-emodin, which is naturally found in plants like sheep sorrel and rhubarb, may have anti-cancer properties. Rhubarb is also a great source of plant flavonoids that neutralize free radicals and protect against DNA damage.
Flor essence and other drinks commonly available in the market may also contain four additional herbs, which these companies claim to be a part of the original formula.
- Red Clover (Trifolium pratense)
- Watercress (Nasturtium officinale)
- Blessed Thistle (Cnicus benedictus)
- Kelp (Laminaria digitata)
5 ways essiac tea helps fight cancer and promotes healing
1. Has anti-tumor properties
Some animal studies have shown essiac tea to inhibit the growth and multiplication of breast and leukemia cancer cells. According to a 2006 study, essiac tea shows strong antioxidant activity and prevents DNA damage – two key properties that are common to natural cancer medicines.
Aloe-emodin – the active chemical of two essiac ingredients – has been well-documented for its anti-tumor properties. Several studies have shown this compound to help kill cancer cells and suppress tumor growth by multiple mechanisms, such as inducing apoptosis (programmed cell death), causing cell cycle arrest, and inhibiting cell differentiation and proliferation. It has been shown to be effective against cancers of the colon, cervical, bladder, lungs, liver, prostate, and skin.
However, a large number of studies have also found essiac to have no effect on cancer cells. In one lab study, it even appeared to increase the growth of breast cancer cells.
It should be noted that these studies are limited to animal models. Large-scale human studies are needed to understand the exact role of essiac in cancer treatment.
2. Encourages detoxification
Burdock root in essiac tea is a natural blood purifier, having been traditionally used to help with skin issues arising due to poor circulation and toxin buildup.
Slippery elm helps gently cleanse the GI tract, removing leftovers trapped along the lining of intestinal walls, whereas rhubarb is said to aid the liver and kidney in elimination.
Being incredibly rich in antioxidants, essiac tea detoxifies and rejuvenates at the cellular level – holistically and in the right order. Removing impurities from the digestive and lymphatic systems improves nutrient absorption and ensures better coordination between various organ systems. This enables the brain to better regulate hormones, send anti-inflammatory signals to various parts of the body, manage stress and emotions, and keep up the defense system.
3. Strengthens the immune system
Research shows that essiac tea activates certain types of immune cells, specifically granulocytes and CD8+ cells, that are critical for fighting bacterial and viral infections. CD8+ immune cells are part of our adaptive immunity and play a crucial role in disease and tumor surveillance. They help by directly killing off infected and cancerous cells, acting as an important defense against tumor development.
Also, due to its ability to reduce oxidative stress and lower inflammation, essiac can significantly boost the functioning of organs, helping ward off seasonal allergies and preventing frequent flare-ups of chronic allergic conditions like eczema and asthma.
4. Helps with gastrointestinal problems
Slippery elm in essiac tea contains mucilage, a viscous compound found in foods, which nourishes membranes and soothes the inner lining of intestinal walls. Mucilage reduces gut inflammation, promotes bowel regularity, and stimulates the gut to produce more mucus. This helps in conditions like irritable bowel syndrome, acid reflux, chronic constipation, and other digestive problems. Rhubarb also works as a digestive tonic, while sheep sorrel kills harmful bacteria, helping maintain a favorable gut microbiome.
5. Protects organs
All four ingredients of essiac are rich in plant flavonoids, monoterpenes, and tannin compounds that fight inflammation and reduce environmental aging, protecting organs against damages caused by reactive oxygen species.
Research shows that regular administration of essiac tea can prevent cell damage and reduce the risk of chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s, arthritis, and autoimmune diseases. Due to its powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, this herbal elixir can promote the rejuvenation of cells and improve longevity.
Moreover, essiac is a carefully formulated blend of ancient herbs that work synergistically with each other. When taken as a whole, their combined effect is greater than the sum of individual parts. It has an overall calming effect on the nervous system, which further promotes healing and emotional balance.
Potential risks and side effects
Essiac tea is generally considered safe when consumed in recommended amounts. However, some people may experience side effects like nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, headaches, muscle pain, frequent urination, swollen glands, or skin issues after consuming it. It is not recommended for pregnant and breastfeeding mothers.
Experts caution that some ingredients in essiac tea may interact negatively with treatments, and it should not be taken in combination with chemotherapy. Even proponents of essiac advise against combining it with therapies, as conventional treatments may also reduce the effectiveness of its natural mechanisms.
In some cases, essiac has also been known to increase the toxicity of chemotherapy. Moreover, FDA has not approved the use of essiac for the treatment of cancer or any other medical condition. It is widely accepted as a natural health supplement and tonic.
People of different constitutions and medical preconditions may also react differently to a herbal remedy. If you wish to take essiac tea, consider speaking with your doctor to discuss possible risks.
Used for cancer since the 1920s, anecdotal evidence and testimonials suggest that essiac could help promote recovery in those fighting cancer, but there is limited evidence to recommend its use as a standalone therapy.
While research so far has not been conclusive to back these claims, essiac has been proven to have other health-promoting properties that may play a role. It has been shown to reduce oxidative stress, improve hydration, encourage detoxification, boost nutrient absorption, decrease low-grade inflammation, lubricate joints, and improve neural coordination – which can altogether boost overall wellbeing in many ways.
To Your Health!