The Rene Caisse Essiac Recipe
The "old medicine man" recipe was 8 herbs -- the 4
essiac herbs, periwinkle, red clover and watercress. Rene Caisse left no
written record of the 8th herb. According to Essiac Essentials, in the
early 1920's while working with Dr. Fisher, Rene "tested decoctions of
each herb individually until the eight original herbs were gradually
modified down to the four herbs in the recipe as we know it today,
i.e., Burdock root, Sheep Sorrel, Slippery Elm inner bark and Turkey
Rene Caisse signed over her formula to Resperin
Corporation in 1977 and she died the next year. In 1995 Resperin
Corporation sold the formula to the current Canadian Essiac® trademark
But Rene had revealed her formula to a few people,
including her helper Mary McPherson, who continued making Essiac for
Rene's remaining patients before and after Rene's death in 1978. Mary's
sworn affidavit (made on December 23, 1994, Bracebridge, Ontario) revealed
Rene's recipe and brewing instructions. In 1988, Mary was present when
Gary Glum claimed he had bought the recipe from Rene's patient Pat Judson
of Michigan. Mary later verified Glum's recipe as authentic.
Rene Caisse's measurements are
confusing. She used volume (in cups) for Burdock and weight (in
ounces) for the other three herbs. The book Essiac Essentials
solves this problem by using weight units for Burdock too,
specifying Buckock root chopped to size of small peas. Burdock is the only
"cut" herb, the recipe calls for the powdered form of the other
Also below are Rene's recommended doses and possible side
effects of taking essiac.
Ingredients using US/Canada/Imperial/Metric
||6 ½ cups
||24 ozs. (1.5 lb.)
||16 ozs. (1 lb.)
|Slippery Elm bark
|Turkey rhubarb root
- Mix the herbs together very very thoroughly.
- Use 1 cup of herb mix per 2 gallons distilled water
each time you brew.
- Your herb mix or essiac herbs should be stored
"This makes a year's supply for $5.00 or £3.72" according
to Essiac Essentials,
written in 1999.
||% of Recipe|
|Slippery Elm bark
|Turkey rhubarb root
Scales: "The Gourmet Weigh" scale by Metrokane for
$24.99 does ounce/metric weight. Metrokane also has "Scale Polder"
ounce/metric for weighing up to 7 pounds, for $14.99.
Another approach is to use volume measurements, if you are
allergic to metric measurements. The trouble with volume measurement is
that herb volume can vary widely depending on supplier.
To make 1 cup of mix to brew with 2 gallons of
|Burdock root (cut)
|Sheep Sorrel (powdered)
|Slippery Elm bark (powdered)
||2 Tablespoons + 2 teaspoons |
|Turkey rhubarb (powdered)
Approximate number of bottles of tea made,
depending on water loss
1 cup herb mix + 2 gallons of water = about 224
liquid ounces of tea
will fill fourteen 16-ounce pint bottles, or seven
32-ounce quart bottles.
1/2 cup herb mix + 1 gallon of water = about 112
liquid ounces of tea
will fill seven 16-ounce bottles, or three and a
half 32-ounce quart bottles.
1/4 cup herb mix + 1/2 gallon of water = about 56
liquid ounces of tea
will fill three and a half 16-ounce bottles, or
almost two 32-ounce quart bottles.
Supplies Needed Do not use anything
made of aluminum.
Stainless steel kettle with lid (or glass, UK unchipped
enamel, CND granite pot)
Stainless steel sieve
Large stainless steel
or wood stirring utensil
Stainless steel funnel or 2-cup glass
Glass bottles can be amber, colored or clear glass
Sizes of kettle and how many bottles depend on amount of
3 gallon kettle and 14 bottles are ideal for 1 cup herb
mix + 2 gallons of water.
Bottles and lids can be sterilized by one of these
1) Boil for 10 minutes with a little food grade
peroxide or Clorox.
2) Boil bottle caps, put bottles in 250
degree oven for 10 minutes.
3) Soak for 5 minutes in 1 ounce 35%
food grade hydrogen peroxide plus 11 oz. distilled water.
for 5 minutes in 1/2 teaspoon Clorox plus 1 gallon distilled
5) 16 oz. size bottles can be sterilized in a microwave
The water you use for making essic tea should be as
pure as possible. Don't use tap water. Most people use distilled water.
Nice but not vital, you can "re-energize and re-oxygenate" distilled water
by shaking it well or setting it in the sun for a few hours.
Preparation is pretty much the same in
essiac books by Snow/Klein and Cynthia Olsen:
- Mix dry ingredients thoroughly.
- Measure out desired amount of dry ingredients.
- Pour proportionate amount of water into pot.
- Bring water to a rolling boil with the lid on.
- Stir dry ingredients into boiling water.
- Replace lid and continue boiling at reduced heat for 10
- Turn off stove. Scrape down sides of pot and stir
- Replace lid, let pot sit and cool undisturbed for 10-12
- Reheat to steaming hot, but do not let it boil.
- Turn off heat and allow herbs to settle for a few
- Pour hot liquid through sieve to catch sediment.
- Use funnel to fill sterilized bottles, put lids on.
- Allow bottles to cool, then tighten lids.
- Store in dark cool place, always refrigerate an opened
Essiac contains no preservatives, discard if mold
develops. "When in doubt, throw it out".
Unopened bottles can be stored in a cool, dark place, or
keep all the bottles in the refrigerater. Don't freeze essiac or warm it
up in a microwave (use hot water to dilute and warm it).
Directions for Use according to the book
1 fluid ounce (30 ml) essiac tea per day, diluted in 2
fluid ounces (60 ml) hot water.
This should be sipped, preferably at
bedtime on an empty stomach.
Food should not be eaten within one hour
before/after drinking the tea.
As a daily tonic or to enhance the immune system:
Take half a fluid ounce (15 ml) per day, diluted in one
ounce hot water.
According to Sheila Snow and Mali Klein on page 41 of
their book Essiac Essentials,
"It is very important to use the
dosage as Rene 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." Depending on
special circumstances, Rene 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 once a day. In the same book
Rene Caisse is quoted as saying,
"There is no need to to exceed this dose."
"People will not stick to the
dose I give. They'll decide on their own
-- if a little's good, a
lot's better. That's the way they think."
And nowadays you will find almost all essiac products
recommend higher doses.
Notes about side effects
Cynthia Olsen says in Essiac, A Native Herbal
Cancer Remedy, 2nd Edition page 61,
Though side effects are rare when taking Essiac, there
are three general ones:
- nausea and/or indigestion, generally caused by eating
or drinking too soon before or after drinking the tea,
- severe intestinal or digestive discomfort, caused
principally because as toxins dissolve, the body tries to eliminate
- an increase in the size of an existing tumor, caused
by the metastasized cells gathering at the original site, before the
tumor softens and reduces in size.
Sheila Snow says in her book Essence of
Essiac on page 48,
Here are three possible causes of adverse reactions:
- A full stomach of undgested food or consuming
beverage just before taking the remedy, especially tea or coffee.
- Waste materials build up in the body, it attempts to
eliminate them all at once. This could create extreme discomfort in
the digestive tract, occasionally to the point of vomiting.
- A tumor may increase in size (as metastisized cells
are gathered to original site) and could cause a blockage... before it
softens and reduces in size.
"When any discomfort occured, Rene always cautioned her
patients to stop taking the decoction for several days until they felt
better. Then they were told to begin again with just half an ounce
every other day and gradually to increase the dose to one ounce each
day. This usually corrected the problem."
Observations by essiac-info.org are that diarrhea,
lower-back kidney ache, flu-like symptoms or upset stomach are usually
caused by too high of a dose and not drinking enough water. If you become
itchy or develop rashes, that could be an allergy to one or more of the
Anyone taking essiac should increase their water intake,
based on the alledged "detoxification" properties of essiac, which is the
release of toxins from tissues and blood, excreting them via the
intestinal and urinary tracts. According to this theory, the toxins must
be diluted as they are released from the body tissues or they become
concentrated -- and you end up not feeling well. Hence, the advice to
drink (gasp) three of four quarts of water daily if you are taking essiac.
According to Chris Corpening R.N. (A Nurse's Herbal
"Diarrhea has been the #1 side effect I have seen, although it is
not a common side effect. Gastrointestinal discomfort has also been
reported to me on various occasions. According to herbal literature,
turkey rhubarb is a laxative and if the body can not handle it, diarrhea
will result. GI discomfort could also be related to the rhubarb, but I
don't have any studies to back this up. I have had colitis that has been
resolved with this tea and I know of many with other serious
gastrointestinal disorders expressing relief after taking this tea over a
period of time. My advice to those experiencing diarrhea or discomfort is
to cut the dosage down to 1oz a day (or stop entirely) until the problems
resolve, then gradually get yourself back to taking the original amount."
Standard advice is that you should not take essiac if you
are pregnant or nursing because any possible effects are simply not known
or have ever been researched -- better to be safe than sorry. If you have
kidney disease or are prone to kidney stones, some sources advise not
taking essiac because of oxalic acid in sheep sorrel and turkey rhubarb.
Chris Corpening's comment about this, "I have also researched this.
According to herbal literature, one would have to injest HUGE amounts of
sheep sorrel in order to have some impact on the kidneys, so the advice is
However, Chris totally agrees with this statement, have
witnessed the phenomenon.
"Diabetics who are insulin dependant may need to
adjust their dosage, also those on anti-diabetes medications. All
diabetics should monitor their blood sugar closely while on this tea.
Some of the constituents in this tea can affect the way glucose and
insulin are taken up in the cells and utilized. Many people find they
need less medication while taking this tea. This is not always the case,
but is worthy of mention."
The herbal mix has demonstrated effects on blood sugar
levels and cancer and should be used under the care of a healthcare
professional familiar with its use. Many have receivedeven greater
benifit using Blood Root, an herb, with Essiac.
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DISCLAIMER: The information in this column, is NOT intended to diagnose and/or treat any health related issues and is provided solely for informational purposes only. Consult the appropriate healthcare professional before making any changes to your healthcare regime. Even what may seem like simple changes in the diet for example, can interact with, and alter, the efficiency of medications and/or the body's response to the medications. Many herbs and supplements exert powerful medicinal effects. Neither the author, nor the website designers, assume any responsibility for the reader's use or misuse of this information.
© 2002 Nature's Corner