Essiac Herbs Ingredients
Indian Versus Turkish Rhubarb Root

The Essiac herbs include powdered rhubarb root. Two types are used in the market: that produced locally in Canada, and the imported Chinese variety.

Essiac Herbs #1:
Indian Rhubarb

Used by Essiac Canada International, this root is probably found in Rene Caisse's Original Essiac formula (otherwise why would Essiac Canada pay more?). Although Rene might have experimented with the Turkish variety in the past, she probably favored this local Indian variety in her final years.

Here is how Essiac Canada International explains the issue:

Other companies have added Turkey Rhubarb Root to their own versions of our formula claiming that it is part of the original formula. This is just not true! The ESSIAC formula only uses Indian Rhubarb Root. ESSIAC does not use Turkey Rhubarb root because it is not part of the original formula.

Indian Rhubarb Root is native to North America and is at least 5 times more expensive to buy than Turkey Rhubarb root which originated in China. It is safe to assume that In the 1920’s Nurse Caisse would not have used herbs from China she would have used herbs that grew (in abundance) in Canada.

Professor Michael Thrasher of Trent University, who published a letter on, explored this subject from another angle:

I am a professor of the PhD Native Studies program at Trent University in Peterborough, Ontario, Canada, and have worked in my Native community for more than a quarter of a century with issues of health and well being. I have followed this explosion of "essiac" and its various threads and discussions by all of the "experts' on the web.

My question to all who research this product and its ingredients:

If the medicine was originated by a First Nations (Indian, Native, Aboriginal, Native American) medicine person, would it not be safe to assume that the herbs used in it were the local variety available to a healer from Northern Ontario?

This is not to say the formula cannot be improved, simply that the original First Nation master of this herbal remedy knew and understood it completely.

Finally, Indian rhubarb has one advantage over the other imported varieties, it has not been fumigated or irradiated as it is produced locally.

Essiac Herbs #2:
Turkish Rhubarb

Proponents of the Turkey rhubarbs include not only Flor-Essence, but other less commercial herbalists and researchers such as Mary Mcpherson (Rene Caisse's closest friend and helper for over forty years), Dr. Gary Glum (author of Calling of An Angel) and Sheila Snow (author of Essiac Essentials).

In my Essiac Tea Recipe article, you will read about how they claim to have obtained the Essiac Original formula from reliable sources. According to Mary Mcpherson, Rene Caisse switched over to using the Turkey root in the later years, claiming it is less bitter and more palatable.

Supporters of the Turkey variety also draw on its rich history of Chinese medicinal uses over the centuries. It is widely regarded as the most potent variety of rhubarb, known in China as Dahuang.

One advantage of using the Turkey (also known as the Chinese) rhubarb is that the Chinese uses six year old roots for maximum potency. Such old plants are hard to come by in North America.

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