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Henge Happenings
Issue 75
Lughnasadh 2007

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Seer's Path

Essiac Tea

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Essiac Tea

While visiting with Topaz Owl the other day we were discussing the benefits of Essiac Tea as a treatment for cancer. She suggested to me that I write this months article on Essiac Tea, I thought what a great idea. I hope that this article will be of use to you and help those in need.

Essiac Tea was first introduced to the public by a Canadian Cancer Nurse Rene Caisse in the mid 1920s. While caring for an elderly woman she noticed a very bad scar on one of her breasts and inquired where she had gotten it . The elderly woman responded that about 20 years earlier while her husband was working in the wilds of Canada in a logging camp she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Her doctor advised that the breast be removed. The woman was very concerned; a friend had died from breast cancer surgery. They also had no money to pay for the surgery. In the camp was a very old Ojibway medicine man who told her he knew of herbs that would help her. She decided that she had nothing to lose and would try his cure. He took her out into the woods and showed her the herbs, how to prepare them as a tea, to drink the tea every day. She told Miss Caisse that was over 20 years ago; there had been no reoccurrence of the cancer after following the medicine man’s instructions. .

Photo of Nurse Rene CaisseMiss Caisse wrote down the herbs and their preparation and decided that if she developed cancer she would try them. About a year later while visiting a retired Doctor that she knew well, they walked in his garden and he lifted a weed with his cane and told her that if “people would use this weed there would be very little cancer in the world.” Miss Caisse recognized it as one of the herbs that the old woman mentioned. A few months later she received word that her Mother’s only sister had been operated on for cancer of the stomach with liver involvement; they gave her 6 months to live. Miss Caisse hastened to her side and spoke to her Doctor about the herbs. He told her that there was nothing more he could do for her aunt so trying the tea was fine. Miss Caisse obtained the necessary herbs and prepared the tea for her aunt. She instructed her in their use and the aunt followed her advice. She lived for another 21 years.

Several doctors had heard of Miss Caisse’s success and had asked her to treat an elderly gentleman whose cancer ravaged face was bleeding so badly that they deemed he had less than 10 days to live. They told her, “We do not expect a miracle, but if your treatment can help this man in this stage of cancer, we will know that you have discovered something the whole world needs.” She not only stopped the bleeding within 24 hours but the gentleman lived another 6 months with very little discomfort.

Even though she had the support of at least eight doctors , the department of Health and Welfare of Canada arrested Miss Caisse for practicing medicine without a license. In her own words, “This was the beginning of nearly 50 years of persecution by those in authority, from the government to the medical profession, that I endured in trying to help those with cancer. However, when they found that I was working with nine of the most eminent physicians in Toronto, and was giving my treatment only at their request, and under their observation , they did not arrest me.”

Much testing was done on these herbs by the medical community during the years that followed. They even tried to give this herbal combination with injections, only to discover that the oral administration was more effective. It was also discovered that the herbs had to be given in combination as opposed to individually. I believe that the herbs work symbiotically with each other, as do most things in nature. I could go on and on about the benefits of essiac tea and it’s history, but there is not enough room in this publication. What follows is the herbs and the recipe for the Essiac Tea. I have also included its use. To be effective the recipe and its use should be followed exactly.

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Indian Rhubarb Root (Rheum Officinale)

In small amounts, this herb acts as a gentle laxative and purges the body, especially the liver, of toxic buildup and waste. It helps counteract acids due to indigestion. Its malic acid also carries oxygen to all parts of the body, aiding in healing. Rhein present in the root, inhibits disease causing bacteria and candida albicans in the intestines. It helps reduces fever and inflammation. Studies show that rhubarb root has antibiotic and anti-tumor properties.

This can be found growing just about anywhere in the United States in moist rich soil in full sun. It is the roots which are used. They may be dug in the fall from well established plants and dried for later use. I have a little hint for you from experience. Clean and cut the root into small pieces and then dry. Trying to cut up and grind a large root that has first been dried is very difficult to say the least. Do not use the leaves as these are poisonous.

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Sheep Sorrel (Rumex Acetosella)

Drawing of Sheep's Sorrel from the Hendbookd of Pland and Floral Ornament by Richard HattonSheep Sorrel relieves internal ulcers and applied topically helps clear skin problems such as eczema and psoriasis. Rich in vitamins, and trace mineral elements, it nourishes the glandular system. Sheep sorrel contains silicon, a necessary element for nerves and the myellin sheath that protects them. Sheep Sorrel cleanses blood and improves liver, intestinal and bowel function.

Sheep Sorrel is a member of the buckwheat family and can be found growing from a somewhat woody creeping root stock in meadows and fields. It is green at first and becomes ruddy in color as it ages. The leaves are eared at the base, mostly clustered at the root becoming sparser on the stem. It is a fairly low growing herb with a sour taste.

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Slippery Elm inner bark (Ulmus Fulva)

Principal component is mucilage which helps the body cleanse itself of toxic waste. It helps nourish and restore plasma in the blood and lymph in the lymphatic system. It improves intestinal flora and soothes asthma. It also helps relieve acids from indigestion and eczema.

Slippery Elm is a deciduous tree which can be found in Central and Northern America. There are about twenty species of Elm across the United States. The bark and leaves are characteristically rough and deeply furrowed. The under layers are ruddy brown protecting the whitish aromatic fibers beneath. I guess the smell could be likened to the old cooked cereal Maypo. The leaves are extremely rough on top, deep yellowish olive green, lighter and sometimes rusty beneath. This tree flowers in March and April before the leaves appear. When harvesting the inner bark strip the rough outer bark from top to bottom in approximately 6" in width and 8" in length. The tree will heal this wound , never strip the bark from any tree completely around the trunk as this will kill the tree. The bark not only protects the tree from disease and bugs , but acts a circulatory system for the tree.

 

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Burdock Root (Arctium lappa) Drawing of Burdock  from the Handbook of Plant and Floral Ornament by Richard Hatton

Burdock cleanses the blood and lymphatic system. It contains Inulin, which strengthens the vital organs such as the liver, pancreas and spleen. It also reduces mucus and prevents formation of gall and kidney stones. Its vitamin A and selenium help eliminate free radicals and its chromium content helps regulate blood sugar levels.

The part of the burdock which is used is the root, and as mentioned before prepare it before drying. Burdock can be found growing in fields and woodland edges where soil is moist and rich. I am sure we have all had a run in with the burs of the burdock at least once or twice in our lifetimes. This is a plant which is well known to most people and cursed by some.

Essiac Tea

  • Burdock Root 6 ½ cups or 24 oz. (Cut into the size of a pea)
  • Sheep Sorrel 16 oz. Powdered
  • Slippery Elm inner bark 4 oz. Powered
  • Indian Rhubarb root 1 oz. Powdered

Mix the herbs together very thoroughly! Use 1 cup of the mix to 2 gallons of distilled water. The reason for the distilled water is that distilled contains no minerals or nutrients thus it will pull more of the needed properties form the herbs.

Boil 2 gallons of water in a stainless steel or enamel with the lid on pot, NOT aluminum. Make sure the water has reached a rolling boil. Add the herbs and replace the lid, continue to boil at a reduced heat for 10 minutes. Turn off the stove and scrape down any herb on the sides of the pot, recover and let sit for 10-12 hours or even overnight.

Reheat once again to steaming , DO NOT let it boil. Turn off the heat and let settle a few minutes. Pour this through a strainer to catch the sediment into sterilized bottles and cap once the liquid is cool. These may be stored in a cool dark place or in the refrigerator.

You will have fine sediment in the bottles this is perfectly ok, you need only strain out the large pieces of the herbs.

To Use the Essiac .....Place 1 0z. Of the tea in a cup with 2 oz. Of hot water . This should be sipped every night before bed on an empty stomach.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact me through the Henge office. I hope that this herbal preparation helps many as it has helped many in the past.


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