Essiac Tea Side Effects

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Breast implant: Mammographs: Normal breast (le...
Breast implant: Mammographs: Normal breast (left) and cancerous breast (right). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Essiac Tea, or “Tea of Life”, is a popular beverage used in alternative cancer treatment. During the last few decades, it has gained popularity among cancer patients as well as the healthy population trying to ward off cancer. Essiac Tea is also called Herbal Essence and Vitalitea, whereas Flor Essence is a more advanced form of Essiac. Even so, no clinical trial has ever succeeded in confirming the effectiveness of cancer treatment through Essiac Tea, at least in case of animal trials.

The history of Essiac Tea runs back to 1922, although its recipe or formula is much older. The herbal formula was revealed to a Canadian nurse named Rene Caisse in Ontario, by a patient who claimed to have recovered from breast cancer by an Indian herbal tea. He had obtained it from an Ojibwa medicine man. Caisse used the recipe to treat her aunt who was suffering from stomach cancer. Later on, she started offering this ‘secret formula’ through her own clinic, as a tea and as an injection. In fact, ‘Essiac’ is ‘Cassie’ spelled backwards. In 1977 the recipe was handed over to a manufacturer in Toronto.

Essiac Tea includes Indian rhubarb root, slippery elm inner bark, burdock root and sheep sorrel. In addition to these, Flor Essence contains watercress, red clover, blessed thistle and kelp. Although some of these constituents are said to possess anti-tumor and anti-inflammatory properties, the overall mixture hasn’t shown any positive response against cancer cells. Worse still, some recent researches have revealed that Essiac Tea may accelerate the growth of existing breast cancer. However, proponents claim that Essiac can strengthen immunity, increase appetite and enhance well-being, in addition to combating pain, reducing tumor size and improving the chances of survival. They believe that Essiac can convert tumors into normal tissue, and that enlarging tumors will subsequently soften, shrink and be discharged.

Studies conducted by Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, National Cancer Institute and many other researchers have confirmed that Essiac Tea has no anti-cancer effects. However, it is known to bring about certain side effects. Nausea, headache, constipation and diarrhea are common side effects. In addition to allergic rashes, rare cases of serious allergic reactions are also on record. Some serious consequences include low blood sugar and liver and kidney damage. Although Essiac Tea is mostly natural, it is known to interact with certain other drugs and herbs so that medical advice is recommended before use.
Despite its lack of efficacy, Essiac Tea is still a popular remedy for cancer, at least psychologically. However, relying on Essiac Tea alone for cancer elimination will certainly not be a wise decision. In case you’re interested, Essiac and Flor Essence in dry and liquid forms can be bought online, by mail order and via health food stores in the UK. It’s also available as a health tonic in Canada. The typical dose for Essiac Tea is 1 ounce to be taken 1 to 3 times daily. For best results, it should be taken on an empty stomach, preferably 2 hours before or after meals.

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