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Why Essiac Tea is Famous for Cancer Support: The Benefits of Each Herb

  • Published on: 15 April, 2014
  • Last update: 10 August, 2017


“My life had seemed to be a series of events and accidents. Yet when I look back, I see a pattern.” -Benoît Mandelbrot

How it all started:
A few years ago, I was having a lot of problems. Acne, weight gain, fatigue, and specifically – candidiasis. At the time, I thought I had finally found the answer to my problems! I was convinced that candida was the root and only cause of my many health issues. (Today, of course, I know that my issues were a combination of candida, poor gut bacteria, poor diet, food allergies, heavy metals, parasites, poor digestion, and “stagnation” in my meridians as told by TCM. There is never one simple answer – you have to look at all sources of stagnation in the body to deal with illness from a holistic perspective.) However, I needed to go through thinking candidiasis was my catch-all diagnosis because it led me to certain knowledge along the way.

What is Candidiasis? Candidiasis is a condition that results from the overgrowth of a yeast-like fungus called Candida albicans. Candida cells are part of the normal flora of our bodies found in our mouth, vagina, intestines, and other organs. When they overgrow, they can cause a number of health problems, including digestive disorders, fatigue, and vaginal yeast infections. The reasons candida cells grow out of control include poor gut bacteria, poor nutrition, lack of fermented food and probiotics, too much sugar, parasites, leaky gut syndrome, antibiotics, GMOs, and more. One MD at the Mondo Well convention said, “If you’ve ever taken an antibiotic in your life, you have somewhat of a candida overgrowth.”

I have taken a lot of antibiotics in my life. I was eating a lot of sugar. I thought that if I cured my candida, I would feel 100% better and never have another bad day again! So, I took myself to the nearest herbalist I could find on Yelp. He worked in a small Chinese herb shop in Mount Vernon, NY. (It’s interesting to note that through all my of my ‘adventures’ I keep running into and coming back to my true passion, Chinese medicine! There are no coincidences in life. This has been a constant theme for me.)

The man in the herb shop said, “Stick out your tongue!” My tongue was coated in white. I told him my symptoms and he took my pulse. My tongue showed that my “Spleen” meridian was very deficient and my “Chi” or body energy was stagnant. I also had “phlegm”, the perfect condition for candida to breed. Along with giving me anti-fungal herb capsules (these), the Chinese herbalist wanted to get to the root of the problem. He wanted to nourish my organ systems (especially my spleen), and wanted to clean my blood and restore Chi.

How did he want to clean my blood and organs? He gave me a simple herbal tea called “FlorEssence.” He told me it was a “gentle, full body detox.” That’s it? You’re just gonna give me a bottle of tea, after I’ve been suffering for so long?! I went home confused but followed his directions. I drank the tea each morning and night for a week.

At the end of the week, I noticed something. My underarm lymph nodes that were previously tender didn’t hurt at all. My usual acne was going away and my severe cystic acne was shrinking. Something was happening! Looking back, I understand that this was because my blood was being purified and my lymph nodes (which filter your blood) were cleaner and had less stress. My entire body really was slowly but surely detoxing.

I forgot about FlorEssence for a while after that. But soon, my memory was jogged, when I watched one of THE best documentaries ever made: “Cancer – The Forbidden Cures.” They mentioned Essiac tea, which is the base of FlorEssence, and everything made sense! The tea worked to heal my organ/blood toxicity and of course, would work to heal the organ toxicity of someone with cancer.

Cancer: The Forbidden Cures

What is the ‘FlorEssence’ that he gave me?
FlorEssence is a variation of “Essiac Tea.” In order to explain FlorEssence, I have to first explain exactly what Essiac Tea is and who created it.

Essiac Tea
Rene Caisse was a nurse in a Canadian hospital in 1922 when she met an elderly patient who cured her own breast cancer 30 years prior. The cancer survivor lived in a camping area in Northern Canada, where she met an Ojibway medicine man that told her he could cure her. He showed her which herbs to use, how to pick them, and how to brew them into a tea. She drank this tea for several months and was soon in full remission.

It turns out that the tea was an ancient four-herb formula, indeed created by the Ojibway Indians. It purifies the body and transmutes tumors into healthy tissue. Rene Caisse later began to give this tea to terminal cancer patients who visited her tiny clinic in Toronto. She accepted payment in the form of whatever patients could afford – eggs, produce, etc. She never turned anyone down, and after 1937 once she was on her feet, she did not charge any fees at all.

“Caisse observed that Essiac broke down nodular masses to a more normal tissue, while greatly alleviating pain. Many patients would report an enlarging and hardening of the tumor after a few treatments. Then the tumor would start to soften. People also frequently reported a discharge of large amounts of pus and fleshy material. Masses of diseased tissue were sloughed off in persons with breast, rectum, and internal cancers. After this process, the tumor would be gone. Caisse theorized that one of the herbs in Essiac reduced tumor growth while other herbs acted as blood purifiers, carrying away destroyed tissue as well as infections related to the malignancy. She also speculated that Essiac strengthened the body’s innate defense mechanisms, enabling normal cells to destroy abnormal ones as Nature intended.” – “Could Essiac Halt Cancer?” by Sheila Snow Fraser and Carrol Allen.

Essiac tea was only three votes shy of being legalized by the Canadian parliament in 1938. Over the years, many prominent physicians voiced their support for the medicine. Dr. Charles Brusch, a founder of the Brusch Medical Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and a former physician to President John F. Kennedy stated, “Essiac has merit in the treatment of cancer” and soon told the public that he cured his own cancer using it. In a statement made on April 6, 1990, Dr. Brusch testified, “I endorse this therapy even today for I have in fact cured my own cancer, the original site of which was the lower bowels, through Essiac alone.”

Despite support from physicians, Rene Caisse was under the constant threat of persecution by Canadian authorities. Essiac tea is still unapproved for marketing in US/Canada.

What’s the difference between Essiac tea and FlorEssence Tea?
While Essiac tea is very similar to Flor-Essence, the two formulas are not exactly the same. After Rene Caisse’s death, her colleagues Dr. Charles Brusch and Elaine Alexander inherited the rights to the formula. They added four more herbs to Caisse’s original formula and renamed the product Flor-Essence. The additional herbs assist in blood purifying and overall cleansing.

Essiac Tea contains:

  • Burdock Root (Arctium lappa) – Used traditionally to help reduce mucus, maintain a healthy gastrointestinal tract, stimulate a healthy immune response, for weak digestion, as a diuretic for waster retention and to sweat out toxins through the skin. It has vitamin A and selenium to help reducer free radicals and its chromium content helps maintain normal blood sugar levels.
  • Slippery Elm inner bark (Ulmus Fulva) –  Contains large amounts of tannins and mucilages which are believed to help dissolve mucus deposits in tissue, glands and nerve channels. The inner bark, rich in calcium, magnesium and vitamins(A,B,C,K), helps to nourish and soothe organs, tissues and mucus membranes and is helpful to the lungs. It also helps neutralize acids from occasional indigestion
  • Sheep Sorrel (Rumex Acetosella) – Loaded with natural antioxidants, sheep sorrel may help to defend against the DNA damage that causes cancer. Sheep sorrel is used in traditional folk herbalism to cool the body, create sweating and detoxification through the skin: as a diuretic useful in maintaining a healthy kidney and urinary functions. It is rich in vitamins and trace minerals (ascorbic acid, mineral oxides, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, silicon and rutin. It is thought to nourish the glandular system.
  • Turkey Rhubarb Root (Rheum palmatum) – This detoxifying herb is world-famous for its healing properties. Rhubarb root purges the body of bile, parasites, and stagnating food in the gut by stimulating the gall duct to expel toxic waste matter. It has been shown to alleviate chronic liver problems by cleansing the liver. Rhubarb root improves digestion and helps regulate the appetite. It has also been shown to help heal ulcers, alleviate disorders of the spleen and colon, relieve constipation, and help heal hemorrhoids and bleeding in the upper digestive tract.

FlorEssence includes all 4 ingredients above, but also contains:

  • Red Clover – Second only to green tea as an herbal cancer treatment, red clover is used widely in alternative remedies like Flor-Essence and the Hoxsey formula.
  • Blessed Thistle – This is a hormone-affecting herb that has helped to kill cancerous cells in laboratory environments. The inheritors of Essiac tea included blessed thistle in the Flor-Essence formula to improve the benefits of the herbal formula.
  • Kelp – Kelp contains a spectrum of sea minerals and natural antioxidants. It is unlikely to cause side effects in the doses used in Flor-Essence tea, and it may help to support thyroid function during chemotherapy.
  • Watercress – Contains a high concentration of antioxidants and trace minerals. Small-scale studies suggest that watercress in Flor-Essence may fight the formation of lung cancer.

Where to buy pre-made Essiac Tea or FlorEssence:
When you buy Essiac tea, it is important that the “sheep sorrel” herb used in the formula contains not only the leaves and stem of the sheep sorrel plant, but the ROOTS as well.

  • This is the only Essiac tea I found on Amazon that includes the entire sheep sorrel plant, as Rene Caisse did, including the incredibly important root.
  • Click here to buy FlorEssence tea in a glass bottle pre-brewed.
  • Click here to buy FlorEssence dry tea blend to brew yourself (less expensive).

How to make Essiac Tea at home:
This recipe is from and is the exact, handwritten formula passed down from Rene to Mary McPherson. The formula below is a word-for-word transcription of Mary McPherson’s affidavit. Mary worked with and for Rene Caisse while she was treating patients, and often brewed it herself:

  • 6 ½ cups of burdock root (cut) **NOTE: This burdock root is a VOLUME measurement using a measuring cup. It is generally equivalent to 24 oz. in terms of weight. The next 3 ingredients are regular weight measurements.**
  • 1 pound of sheep sorrel herb, powdered **NOTE: This must be the WHOLE sheep sorrel herb including the roots. Most sheep sorrel sold is only the leaves and stems, because if you use the root you have to pick the plant and can no longer grow it (expensive). The root of this herb is THE most important ingredient!! The only place I have found that you can buy WHOLE sheep sorrel including the root is here. Please let me know if you find another website that sells the whole powder w/ root included.
  • 1/4 pound of slippery elm bark, powdered
  • 1 ounce of Turkish rhubarb root, powdered


  1. Mix these dry herb ingredients thoroughly and store in glass jar in dark dry cupboard. This will be your Essiac herb mixture that you can grab every time you want to brew tea.
  2. Use a measuring cup when you brew the tea. Use the formula of 1 oz. of herb mixture to 32 oz. of water depending on the amount you want to make. (example: to brew 8 oz. of the herb mixture, you would use 256 oz. of water because 8 x 32 = 256)
  3. Boil hard for 10 minutes (covered) then turn off heat. Scrape down the sides of the pot and leave the tea sitting in warm place (at least room temp) over night (covered).
  4. In the morning, 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. Then, strain through fine strainer into hot sterilized bottles (or mason jars!) and sit to cool. Store in a dark cool cupboard. The bottles ust be refrigerated after being opened.
  7. When you near the last of your brew (when it’s thick) pour into a large jar and sit in the fridge overnight. The next day, pour off whatever liquid you can without sediment.

Directions for drinking the tea:
Pour 1 to 2 fl. oz. of the concentrated Essiac tea (1/8 to 1/4 cup) into a mug and add hot water, once or twice daily. Do not microwave the tea. Drink Essiac tea on an empty stomach. Take the time to sip your Essiac tea slowly; don’t gulp it down. For maximum effectiveness, hold tea in mouth as long as possible to absorb sublingually (under the tongue). Essiac tea is detoxifying so it is very important to drink plenty of pure water during the day and to have regular bowel movements. 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.

To make “FlorEssence” tea, it’s almost the same formula, just add the new herbs:
24 oz. burdock root powder
1 lb sheep sorrel powder
1/4 lb slippery elm powder
1 oz Turkish rhubarb root powder
1 oz watercress
1 oz kelp powder
1 oz blessed thistle
1 oz red clover herb
Follow the exact same directions as the Essiac recipe, but use the formula of 2 oz. herb mixture to 32 oz. water instead.

Sources –

  • Options: The Alternative Cancer Therapy Book by Richard Walters, excerpt available to read here
  • Cancer: The Forbidden Cures (a documentary by Massimo Mazzucco, available to watch here)
  • “Could Essiac Halt Cancer?” by Sheila Snow Fraser and Carroll Allen, Homemaker’s, June-July-August 1977.
  • The Treatment of Cancer With Herbs by John Heinerman

Required FDA Disclaimer: The information on this page is not meant to diagnose or treat any ailment as this should be done by a competent, experienced naturopathic doctor or medical doctor. It is important to remember that each individual’s body has specific requirements for nutrition. Therefore, the information offered on this web site is for historical and general information only and is not to be construed as medical advice or treatment for anyone. Nothing on this web site is legal advice or medical advice or treatment. The use of herbs and other natural remedies is a natural right.


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S Pruitt

I first heard about essiac tea here and I can’t thank you enough. I ordered the 8 herb formula as dry herbs from a website online. It’s been nothing short of life-changing. I have so much energy and feel better than I have in years. Thanks!


Great article.

Christine Mueller

Hi Olivia! I was just wondering if you recommend any supplements to take while detoxing with the flor-essence, and if you recommend a specific type of water to use if I am using the dry tea blend to make it myself. Thank you so much 🙂

david james

You have done a great job. I will definitely dig it and personally recommend to my friends. I am confident they will be benefited from this site.<br /><a href="; rel="nofollow"></a><br />

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