Purpose Of This Summary
This PDQ cancer information summary for health professionals provides comprehensive, peer-reviewed, evidence-based information about the use of Essiac/Flor Essence in the treatment of people with cancer. It is intended as a resource to inform and assist clinicians who care for cancer patients. It does not provide formal guidelines or recommendations for making health care decisions.
Secret Recipe Blocked Research
The origins of the recipe are debated because several of the herbs are not indigenous to North America and reportedly hadnt yet made it to the Americas through trade routes when Caisse first promoted the tea.
Originally, Caisse brewed three of the herbs into a tea and injected the other herb intramuscularly. No one but Caisse knew which herbs were brewed and which one was injected.
The secrecy of the recipe and preparation became a road block to scientific research and a source of controversy in later investigations.
Herbs May Interact With Chemotherapy And Other Drug Treatments
Most herbs and dietary supplements have not been studied together with chemotherapy, so doctors dont usually know how they will interact with each other. In general, taking herbs at the same time as chemotherapy can cause unexpected side effects or reduce the effectiveness of cancer medications. For example, St. John’s wort can cause potentially dangerous interactions with chemotherapy. In addition, herbs like ginger and garlic can interfere with anticoagulant drugs, such as warfarin, increasing the risk of bleeding.
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Evaluation Of Cam Therapies
It is important that the same scientific methods used to test conventional therapies are used to test CAM therapies. The National Cancer Institute and the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health are sponsoring a number of clinical trials at medical centers to test CAM therapies for use in cancer.
Conventional approaches to cancer treatment have generally been studied for safety and effectiveness through a scientific process that includes clinical trials with large numbers of patients. Less is known about the safety and effectiveness of complementary and alternative methods. Few CAM therapies have been tested using demanding scientific methods. A small number of CAM therapies that were thought to be purely alternative approaches are now being used in cancer treatmentnot as cures, but as complementary therapies that may help patients feel better and recover faster. One example is acupuncture. According to a panel of experts at a National Institutes of Health meeting in November 1997, acupuncture has been found to help control nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy and pain related to surgery. However, some approaches, such as the use of laetrile, have been studied and found not to work and to possibly cause harm.
The Us Food And Drug Administration Does Not Approve Dietary Products
New drugs have to be scientifically tested and then approved by the FDA before companies can make them available to patients and doctors, but the FDA evaluates dietary supplements under a different set of regulations. The efficacy of dietary supplements does not have to be demonstrated in clinical trials before they are sold. The FDA usually investigates the safety of a suspicious product only after people who have used it report problems. This means the quality and safety of these products is left to the manufacturer, the supplier, and others involved in the production process.
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For Patients & Caregivers
Tell your healthcare providers about any dietary supplements youre taking, such as herbs, vitamins, minerals, and natural or home remedies. This will help them manage your care and keep you safe.
Essiac has not been shown to treat or prevent cancer.Essiac was developed in the 1920s by Rene Caisse, a Canadian nurse, and promoted as an alternative cancer treatment. It contains four botanicals: burdock root, sheep sorrel, slippery elm, and rhubarb. Laboratory studies suggest Essiac has antioxidant and cytotoxic properties. However, studies on its antiproliferative effects are conflicting: Essiac prevented growth of prostate cancer cells, but stimulated growth of breast cancer cells. In a study of breast cancer patients, Essiac did not improve quality of life or mood. Despite unsubstantiated claims, Essiac remains a popular anticancer therapy.
- To treat cancerLaboratory studies show conflicting results. An observational study of breast cancer patients did not find any improvement in quality of life with Essiac.
- To treat HIV and AIDSEvidence is lacking to support this claim.
- To stimulate the immune systemIn laboratory studies, rhubarb, an ingredient of Essiac, suppressed activity of part of the immune system. Human studies are lacking.
- As a tonicEvidence is lacking to support this claim.
- You are undergoing chemotherapy: In a case report, levels of a chemotherapy drug were increased in the blood of a patient also taking Essiac, with the potential for increased toxicity.
How To Make Essiac Tea
- 6 ½ cups of burdock root cut
- 1 pound of sheep sorrel herb powdered
- 1/4 pound of slippery elm bark powdered
- 1 ounce of Turkish rhubarb root powdered
Mix these ingredients thoroughly and store in glass jar in dark dry cupboard.
Take a measuring cup, use 1 ounce of herb mixture to 32 ounces of water depending on the amount you want to make.
I use 1 cup of mixture to 8 x 32 = 256 ounces of water. Boil hard for 10 minutes then turn off heat but leave sitting on warm plate over night .
In the morning heat steaming hot and let settle a few minutes, then strain through fine strainer into hot sterilized bottles and sit to cool. Store in dark cool cupboard. Must be refrigerated when opened. When near the last when its thick pour in a large jar and sit in frig overnight then pour off all you without sediment.
This recipe must be followed exactly as written.
I use a granite preserving kettle , 8 ounce measuring cup, small funnel and fine strainer to fill bottles.
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Things To Avoid While Undergoing Chemotherapy
If you or a loved one has had a recent diagnosis of cancer, you might be searching for information on how to optimise your health through your diet. In particular, if you are about to commence chemotherapy or radiation therapy, it is critical to support your immune system, reduce inflammation and improve the nutritional status of your body. This will help to reduce some of the common side effects of your treatment such as:
- Low energy
- Lack of appetite
- Taste changes.
My top 10 tips on what to avoid while having conventional chemotherapy treatment for cancer are:
Alternative Medicine: You Asked We Answered
Health experts respond to your questions about alternative medicine.
Some of the questions that we received are not included below because they should be answered by a personal physician or other qualified health provider.
Please remember that the following answers are for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this site.
1) My husband was recently diagnosed with glioblastoma multiforme . Do you know if toad venom has proven effective for this type of cancer/tumor? Are there any other types of alternative treatments that have proven effective? Thank you– Lynn
Dr. Lorenzo Cohen, Ph.D, director, Integrative Medicine Program, Departments of Behavioral and Palliative Care and Rehabilitation Medicine, MD Anderson Cancer Center, The University of Texas:
To my knowledge, I am not aware of any research to date supporting the use of Huachansu to treat GBM.
2) Is Liquid Zeolite, Blue Green Algae , and Oxy-E safe to be taken with Herceptin or is safe at all to be taken. — Andriene
4) Is there an effective alternative to control high blood pressure?– Frank
Best of luck to you all.
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Risks Of Conventional Cancer Treatments
Cancer treatments today can include surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, hormonal therapy, and immunotherapy. Serious and some life-threatening side effects from these therapies include:
- Hair loss
- Unusual bruising and bleeding
- Difficulty breathing and swallowing
For a continued list of possible side effects which may result from currently approved cancer treatment drugs, visit A to Z List of Cancer Drugs compiled by the National Cancer Institute . Reflect back upon the list of possible side effects that can occur from Essiac.
Why do the public health agencies that approve of the current list of cancer treatment drugs with life threatening side effects put up so many obstacles along the road to alternative cancer treatments?
What Is Essiac Tea
Essiac tea is a popular herbal tea touted for its purported anticancer properties.
In the 1920s, Canadian nurse Rene Caisse promoted Essiac tea as a natural cancer treatment, claiming that it was given to her by a patient who originally received it from an Ontario Ojibwa medicine man.
Though the tea is still said to be a Native American natural remedy, evidence to back up this claim is limited.
Essiac tea is a blend of different herbs, including burdock root, slippery elm, sheep sorrel and Indian rhubarb.
In addition to its purported anticancer properties, Essiac tea is also believed to enhance detoxification, boost immune function and reduce inflammation .
The tea is usually sold in powder form, but capsule and tea bag varieties are also available.
Traditionally, its made by combining two ounces of concentrated tea with the same amount of heated spring water.
Manufacturers of the product recommend drinking 112 fluid ounces daily for best results .
Essiac tea is made from a blend of herbs claimed to fight cancer, improve immunity, increase detoxification and decrease inflammation.
Essiac tea is high in antioxidants and made from a blend of herbs with potential health-promoting properties.
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What Does The Evidence Show
Caisse believed that 80% of her patients were cured of many types of cancer. But when the Royal Cancer Commission of Canada looked into Caisses claims, researchers found little evidence that the tea was effective as a cancer treatment.
Today, proponents claim Essiac tea is not only a cancer cure-all but also an immune system booster. Proponents also say it soothes irritations, reduces inflammation, cures viral disease like COVID-19, is a source of antioxidants, an antimicrobial, a detoxifier, and a way to improve overall health and wellbeing. Some websites even encourage use in children.
Whenever a product is touted as a cure for a wide range of illnesses, be skeptical. Such broad claims are a red flag that the claims are not valid.
There is little scientific evidence to support any of the claims for Essiac tea. Multiple studies exploring the effectiveness of the tea on cancer regression did not show meaningful results:
To this day, there is no evidence published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal indicating any positive effects on cancer. The National Cancer Institute also affirms the tea is not an effective cancer treatment.
A Concentrated Source Of Antioxidants
Essiac contains high levels of the following antioxidants: flavones, anthraquinones, tannins and polysaccharides . Studies have shown that Essiac tea used at varying concentrations reduces the presence of free radicals by up to 84% . Free radicals can lead to DNA damage and trigger a series of adverse health responses.
In fact, pharmaceutical agencies manufacture drugs derived from these antioxidant sources. Adriamycin is chemotherapeutic drug designed to treat 13 various types of cancer and contains anthraquinones .
An even greater threat to cellular damage is superoxide radicals. Superoxide radicals have the ability to not only create cellular damage, but also to activate other free radicals . Plant-derived polysaccharides have been valued in traditional Chinese medicine for its role as a powerful antioxidant . These healthy polysaccharides prevent against oxidative damage in the body by scavenging dangerous superoxide radicals .
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Essiac Tea: Ingredients Benefits And Side Effects
Essiac tea is an herbal tea that has gained widespread popularity among natural health enthusiasts in recent years.
Proponents claim that it can kill cancer cells, stimulate immunity and aid detoxification.
However, others consider it a questionable cancer therapy, noting that evidence to support its use is insufficient.
This article looks at the ingredients, benefits and potential side effects of Essiac tea.
Clinic Closed By Canadian Government
Caisse provided Essiac to cancer patients at the Bracebridge Cancer Clinic in Ontario starting in 1935. Evidence of a reported death and one report of toxicity caused the Cancer Commission of Canada to investigate the clinic in 1938. Although the Canadian government closed the clinic in 1941, Cassie continued to provide Essiac to cancer patients from her home.
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Be Cautious Of Unfounded Claims
Some promoters of Essiac say it should not be taken alongside conventional cancer treatments such as chemotherapy. This promotes Essiac as an alternative medicine rather than a complementary therapy, which could have a negative impact on patient outcomes.
If cancer patients take Essiac as a first-line treatment, they run the risk of their cancer progressing to the point that conventional cancer treatment will no longer be effective.
Dr. Andrew Weil, a widely known supporter of natural medicine, issued a warning about Essiac.
Some Essiac promoters irresponsibly advise against chemotherapy and other conventional treatments when using the tea to help it work effectively. This is a reckless and dangerous recommendation. There is no clinical evidence that either Essiac or Flor-Essence has any anti-cancer activity. My advice? Avoid it.Dr. Andrew Weil
Consumption of Essiac is unlikely to cause serious side effects among cancer patients when used as directed, but people with mesothelioma should get approval from their doctor before they try any herbal remedy. Report any changes in your health to your doctor after taking herbal supplements.
Get Free Recipes for Mesothelioma Patients
Oolong Tea Extract May Stave Off Breast Cancer
New research finds that oolong tea can damage breast cancer cells and that people who consume large amounts of this tea have a lower risk of developing breast cancer.
According to estimates by the American Cancer Society, more than 250,000 women in the United States developed breast cancer in 2017, and more than 40,000 died as a result.
In this context, researchers are still in need of more effective prevention and treatment strategies. Moreover, given the side effects ofchemotherapy, the need for nontoxic alternatives is also dire.
With these aims in mind, scientists have investigated the potential benefits of green tea for breast cancer and found that certain compounds have anti-cancer effects. However, few studies have examined other types of tea and their role in breast cancer prevention.
Now, a study looks at the potential benefits of oolong tea. Chunfa Huang, Ph.D., who is an associate research professor in the department of internal medicine at Saint Louis University in Missouri, led the new research.
Huang and colleagues their findings in the journal Anticancer Research.
Huang and team examined the effect of oolong tea extract on six breast cancer cell lines, which included ER-positive, PR-positive, HER2-positive, and triple-negative breast cancer cells.
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Restoration Of The Immune System
Cleaning the body of toxins and impurities frees up the immune system to focus on killing cancer cells and protecting the body. With Essiac Tea, complete body purification occurs, with a significant boost in the bodys immune system to combat any pre-existing disease by producing more lymphocytes and T-cells, the bodys natural defenses. Your immune system is the #1 defense against ALL disease and its proper functioning is absolutely vital! Pharmaceutical drugs have been successful at masking the symptoms of disease, but not ridding the body of the root of the problem. Unlike most alternative treatments, modern medicine focuses on treating the patients physical symptoms, rather than the underlying causes of the disease. In many cases the underlying cause of cancer is a weak immune system. Your body is constantly fighting cancer cells but when it is compromised, the cancer can gain a foothold.
Essiac May Interact With Drugs
Researchers have found that Essiac tea may adversely interact with an experimental chemotherapy drug, cytochrome P450. Patients reporting to use Essiac while undergoing chemotherapy had high concentrations of the drug in their system. Although the biochemical pathway in which Essiac can interact with drugs is not understood, Essiac supplementation may inhibit the bodys ability to completely eliminate toxic waste.
This dilemma begs the question, why is such a toxic drug approved for use in cancer treatment and yet an herbal extract lacks study in clinical trials?
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Mixed Evidence On Cancer
Research on the anticancer effects of Essiac tea has had conflicting results.
For example, one test-tube study showed that the tea had antioxidant properties and prevented damage to cells and DNA, which could potentially help protect against cancer .
Another test-tube study noted that Essiac tea blocked the growth of breast and leukemia cancer cells when administered in high concentrations .
There is also some anecdotal evidence that certain types of cancer have responded well to Essiac tea including one case report of a man who went into remission from prostate cancer and attributed it to the tea .
However, plenty of studies have found little to no effect of Essiac tea on cancer development, including one review of 17 animal studies that detected no anticancer properties .
Multiple other animal and test-tube studies have also shown that Essiac tea has no effect on cancer cells and, in some cases, may even stimulate the growth of breast cancer cells .
Additionally, because human studies are currently unavailable, more high-quality studies are needed to understand how Essiac tea may impact cancer development in the general population.
Animal and test-tube studies have had conflicting findings on the effects of Essiac tea on cancer cell growth and development. Human studies on its proposed effects are needed.
Drinking Essiac tea has been associated with numerous side effects.