Saturday, March 31, 2007

Essiac - Alternative Cancer Treatment Since 1920s

Why has Essiac been used as an alternative cancer treatment for more than 80 years? Perhaps it is because the frequency of cancer cases has risen significantly over the past several decades, and experts predict its rate will continue to rise.

In 2003 the World Cancer Report, an agency of the United Nations, predicted that cancer rates could further increase by 50% to 15 million new cases in the year 2020. It is commonly believed that increasingly stressful lifestyles and increasing environmental pollution are two of the factors contributing to this rise.

One of the alternative treatments for cancer that has been used the longest is Essiac, an herbal tea that was developed in the 1920s, although it may have been in use for hundreds of years. That is because it is believed that the formula for Essiac was revealed by an old Native Indian healer.

The person who named Essiac was a Registered Nurse in Canada, Rene Caisse. The name Essiac is Caisse spelled backwards. According to Ms. Caisse, she was told about the formula by a woman who claimed it cured her breast cancer. Furthermore, she told Caisse that she was given the formula by an elderly Ojibwa medicine man in Northern Ontario.

Whatever the source for the formula may have been, it utilizes four herbs to produce an herbal tea. Caisse said she used the tea to cure her aunt of cancer. After this success, her aunt's physician, Dr. R. O. Fisher of Toronto, asked Caisse to treat some of his other patients with the herbal formula, and, Caisse related, other medical doctors "were impressed with the results."

Caisse was encouraged to open up a cancer treatment clinic in Bracebridge, Ontario, where she treated thousands of patients with the formula she named Essiac. Although the clinic was closed in 1942, Essiac continues to be available as an herbal dietary supplement. It has been reported that Dr. Charles Brusch, who was President John F. Kennedy's physician, used Essiac successfully on his own cancer.

The renowned alternative cancer treatment researcher, Ralph W. Moss, Ph.D. wrote an article about Essiac Tea in 1992 detailing the scientific research projects that had been done to determine whether it actually was a useful treatment against cancer. Although the tests were not conclusive, Dr. Moss stated that Essiac was "worth investigating" because independent tests of the individual herbs that comprised the mixture had been proven to have significant anti-cancer properties. He also referred to "persistent anecdotal reports" that Essiac was a useful alternative cancer treatment

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