Information on Essiac Tea

Rene Caisse’s Herbal Tea

Rene Caisse was a Canadian nurse who developed a simple herbal formula from the original eight-herb recipe given by an unknown Native American herbalist to one of her elderly patients as a remedy for breast cancer at the end of the nineteenth century. Rene used her four-herb formula as a herbal tea combining Sheep sorrel, Slippery elm bark and Turkey rhubarb root for more than fifty years until her death aged ninety in 1978. Her recipe is reproduced as verified by Mrs. Mary McPherson, friend and helper to Rene Caisse for forty years, in Mary’s sworn affidavit of December 23rd 1994, Brace Bridge, Ontario, Canada. 


1.5 liters of bottled still water (or filtered water)
15g dry herb mix (Essiac) 

Saucepan with a well fitting lid
1 heatproof measuring jug
1 fine gauge sieve
3 x 500ml glass bottles with tight fitting lids (easily purchased from your local chemist)

Sterilize all equipment by either heating in the oven to 150°C/ gas mark 2 for 20 minutes, using a sterilizer or using bottle sterilizing solution. Do not use wine making sterilizing fluid bleach or sodium bisulphate for sterilizing utensils. 

Stage 1

  1. Bring water to boil, and add the herbs. Boil for 10 minutes with the lid on.
  2. Remove from heat; scrape any herbs on side of the pan down into the liquid.
  3. Replace the saucepan lid and allow to cool, and leave to steep for 10-12 hours (approx).

Stage 2

  1. Reheat the tea to steaming hot. DO NOT BOIL THE TEA. Strain the tea into the measuring jug and pour into the heated bottles. Seal immediately.
  2. Cool quickly by standing the bottles in cool water.
  3. Once cooled store in the fridge.

The tea is best stored in the fridge. Only properly sealed preserving jars will keep the tea well in cool, dark cupboard. All other bottles must be kept in the fridge. All jars and bottles of the tea must be refrigerated immediately after opening. Some sediment in the bottles is quite normal. 

Side Effects
When the recipe is made up as Rene Caisse made it and the recommended measures followed correctly, no adverse side effects from taking the tea have been noted. It is generally well tolerated when taken in conjunction with other conventional and complementary therapies.

  • Do not use the tea to wash down medication
  • Drink the tea separately at night as recommended.

Identifying the Tea

Colour: Pale to mid brown, occasionally greenish if the Sheep sorrel has particularly high chlorophyll content.

Texture: At the most only very slightly viscous, similar to the smoothness of a good brandy.

Taste: Pleasantly mild, with a slightly woody flavor.


Points to note

  • The body recognizes the tea primarily as a food supplement.
  • All the remedial value of the tea will be lost of it is frozen or microwaved.
  • It is important that the herbs should be left to steep for the full ten to twelve hour period as the root and bark ingredients need time to fully absorb the water in order to release their properties.
  • There are no preventatives in the tea.
  • Like jam or bottle fruit, the tea will go off early when:

1.      Equipment has not been properly sterilized.

2.      The tea has been unnecessarily exposed to air or finger borne bacteria during preparation.

3.      The bottled tea has been left to cool down too long with the bottles caps loosely sealed.

4.      The tea has been badly stored.

5.      The tea has been left out of the fridge at room temperature for long periods.

6.      The dry herb mixture has been stored in plastic or badly sealed containers in warm or damp conditions prior to use.


Calling of an Angel: Rene Caisse and Essiac Tea

BC Cancer Agency on Essiac Tea

Essiac Tea from Cancer Therapy by Dr. Ralph Moss

The Story of Essiac by Rene Caisse, RN

Who was Rene Caisse?