Essiac Health Benefits Facts:
Three Myths Debunked!

Do the reported Essiac health benefits stand up to scientific scrutiny? Are you among the 3 out of 4 who could benefit from this herbal tea?

Essiac Health Benefits #1 :
Cure Cancer?

In 1982, Dr. Charles Brusch, physician to President John F. Kennedy, summarized his work with Rene Caisse on Essiac Tea in a formal report with this paragraph:

“The results we obtained with thousands of patients of various races, sexes and ages, with all types of cancer definitely proves Essiac to be a cure for cancer. Studies done in four laboratories in the U.S. and one or more in Canada also fortify this claim.”

You can find documentation of their studies in the book, The Essiac Report by Richard Thomas.

The truth is that Essiac cancer claims are still unproven by modern science. Thousands of testimonials to its cancer fighting potential can be found, but laboratory results (which are highly preliminary) have been mixed at best.

It may sound ridiculous, that this herbal tea has been used for more than 80 years, but scientists are just starting to test it systematically.

Essiac Cancer and Other Studies

Essiac Health Benefits #2 :
Other Reported Health Benefits?

According to James Percival, author of the Essiac Handbook, the reported Essiac health benefits include:

Promotes heart health:

  • Prevents the build up of fatty deposits in artery walls, heart, kidney and liver.
  • Regulates cholesterol levels by transforming sugar and fat into energy.

Increases digestion and absorption:

  • Destroys parasites in the digestive system and throughout the body.
  • Promotes the absorption of fluids in the tissues.

Assists in toxin elimination:

  • Removes toxic accumulations in the fat, lymph, bone marrow, bladder, and alimentary canals.
  • Neutralizes acids, absorb toxins in the bowel and eliminates both.
  • Clears the respiratory channels by dissolving and expelling mucus.
  • Counteracts the effects of aluminium, lead and mercury poisoning.
  • Reduces, perhaps eliminates, heavy metal deposits in tissues (especially those surrounding the joints) to reduce inflammation and stiffness.
  • Protects against toxins entering the brain.
  • Protects the body against radiation and x-rays.

Assists with liver, pancreas and spleen functions:

  • Relieves the liver of its burden of detoxification by converting fatty toxins into water-soluble substances that can then be easily eliminated through the kidneys.
  • Assists the liver to produce lecithin, which forms part of the myelin sheath, a white, fatty material that encloses nerve fibres.
  • Improves the function of the pancreas and spleen by increasing the effectiveness of insulin.

Assists with blood functions:

  • Purifies the blood.
  • Increases red cell production and keeps them from rupturing.
  • Increases the body's ability to utilize oxygen by raising oxygen level in the tissue cell.

Improves joint functions:

  • Strengthens and tightens muscles, organs and tissues.
  • Makes bones, joints, ligaments, lungs and membranes strong and flexible, less vulnerable to stress or stress injuries.

Promotes pain relief, wound healing and immunity protection:

  • Relieves pain, increases the appetite and provides more energy along with a sense of well-being.
  • Speeds up wound healing by regenerating the damaged area.
  • Increases the production of antibodies like lymphocytes and T-cells in the thymus gland, which is the defence of our immune system.

The list may sound impressive, but these have not been confirmed by scientific studies. Only three studies have found evidence of Essiac non-cancer benefits. And none of them include human trials. The benefits identified include:

  • Antioxidant properties

  • Anti-inflammatory properties

  • Immunity boosting properties

Essiac Cancer and Health Benefits Studies

Essiac Health Benefits #3 :
Beware of Testimonials!

The idea that an herbal blend that works for a number of people will work for you is, of course, a myth. That is why one should never put his or her full faith in personal testimonials from satisfied customers. In real life, we exist within the confines of statistics.

So, what do the statistics tell us?

A population study conducted by The University of Texas-Houston School of Public Health looked at Flor-Essence consumers from 1998 to 1999. The study consists of 1,577 customers.

Here are the findings:

The average duration of use was 16 months, and primarily (62%) to treat a medical condition rather than prevent disease (35%) or control symptoms (21%).

Cancer was the most commonly reported medical condition (75%), but health concerns included arthritis (15%), multiple sclerosis (1%), and other (15%) conditions (i.e., allergies/asthma, chronic fatigue, cysts, diabetes, high blood pressure/heart disease, hepatitis/liver disease, osteoporosis, or bladder, prostate, skin, or stomach problems).

Most consumers rated the benefits of the tonic as very good/excellent (72%), but 24% rated the tonic as okay, and 3% as not very good/poor.

Essiac Health Benefits #4 :

If you are looking for official studies on Essiac health benefits, you are likely to be disappointed to find such patchy evidence. From that point of view, you may want to investigate more proven herbal products such as green tea.

However, there is another side to science and investigation. If a combination of herbs has been used for centuries, chances are it is safe and will work for most people.

This type of reasoning is similar to this scenario: if your grandmother tells you how to cook an omelet, you know that her experience cooking thousands of omelets over the years is valid. Only a scientist who has a vested interest in the omelet pan would want a research study done to prove it.


Mary Ann Richardson, Tina Ramirez, Carmen Tamayo, Carrie Perez, J. Lynn Palmer Flor Essence Herbal Tea Blend Use in North America: A Profile of General Consumers & Cancer Patients.

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