Essiac Tea: Ancient Herbal Drink From Canada

Essiac, also known as Flor Essence, is a blend of herbs made from Indian rhubarb, sheep sorrel, burdock and slippery elm bark. Some versions are purported to also contain blessed thistle, red clover, kelp and watercress. It is supposedly an ancient Ojibwa medicine drink and was applied by a Canadian nurse, Rene Caisse, to which it owes its name. It was first introduced to the medical scene in the 1920s, used up until the 1970s and then was attempted to be commercialized thereafter. The effort met little success though and is now mainly drunk for herbal cleansing purposes.


Rene Caisse learned of the herbal drink formula from a patient and used it to help her aunt cope with her illness. By 1924, she opened her own clinic and offered the herbal mixture to patients. Thousands were served and by 1938, her business was investigated by Canadian medical authorities. It was then found out that there was little efficacy behind the medical management she’s providing. And upon the closure of her practice, she sold the 4-herb formula to a Toronto-based manufacturer, and died by 1978.


Essiac tea is notably bitter of taste, especially the eight-herb variety. This can be mainly attributed to the watercress – a water plant containing significant amounts of iodine, folic acid, iron, calcium and Vitamin A and C. It takes a few weeks before the initial disgust wears off. And since the recommended serving is only about 3 oz. per day, it shouldn’t be that much of a problem to ingest small amounts even if you don’t find the flavor appealing. Besides, essiac tea is not known to be a recreational drink. It is a form of alternative medicine and taken like a tonic. For those who are brave enough to try it, experts advise that you swish your mouth with orange juice after drinking it to counteract the after taste. On top of that, it should also be taken 2 hours before meals, on an empty stomach.


The dosages may vary though depending on the condition, weight and tolerance…

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