For many decades now, Essiac which is a mixing of different herbs, has been used to make an herbal tea. The original herb combination used in making this tea included slippery elm inner bark, sheep sorrel, burdock root and Indian rhubarb root. Later, a product called Flor Essence was marketed and it included in addition to the original Essiac herb combination blessed thistle, kelp, watercress and red clover.
In 1922, a nurse from Ontario, Canada by the name of Rene M. Caisse, was told by a patient about an Ojibwa Medicine man and the herbal combination tea he had brewed for her. Caisse was able to obtain the formula, and she was able to use this herbal combination in a tea that she then served to an aunt of hers.
By 1924, her own clinic was opened by Rene and she would go on to serve this herbal combination to the thousands of people who sought her out. She decided to give this special combination of herbs the name Essiac, which is the backward spelling of her name. The Canadian government eventually shut her clinic down.
It was not until just a few years before her passing that Rene M. Caisse revealed her exact Essiac tea formula. No clinical evidence exists that there are any sort of medical benefits offered by the Essiac tea formula.
In 1977, a company in Canada purchased the herbal tea recipe from Rene M. Caisse, and then commercialized the product and tried to market it. Both the Canadian and the United States governments refused to issue any approvals for Essiac in the use of treating any medical conditions. This is because no one was able to demonstrate any benefits for treating medical conditions. The company was able however, to market the product as a dietary supplement.
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