Essiac Tea

Original Formula

6 ½ cups of cut burdock root (note: this is approx 24 oz. of cut Burdock root)
• 1 pound of sheep sorrel herb – powdered
• 1/4 pound of slippery elm bark – powdered
• 1 ounce of Turkish rhubarb root – powdered

  1. Mix these ingredients thoroughly and store in glass jar in dark dry cupboard.
  2. Take a measuring cup, use 1 ounce of the above herb mixture to 32 ounces of water depending on the amount you want to make. (For a larger quantity use 1 cup of mixture to (8 x 32)   256 ounces of water.)
  3. Boil hard for 10 minutes (covered) then turn off heat but leave sitting on warm plate over night (covered).

In the morning heat steaming hot and let settle a few minutes, then strain through fine strainer into hot sterilized bottles and sit to cool.  Store in dark cool cupboard.  Must be refrigerated when opened.  When near the last when it’s thick – pour in a large jar and sit in the refrigerator overnight – then pour off all you [can] without sediment.

According to THE ESSIAC BOOK by Mali Klein (p. 29), the recipe can also be made in gram weight measurements as follows:

  • 120 g Burdock (chopped)
  •   80 g Sheep sorrel (powdered)
  •   20 g Slippery elm (powdered)
  •     5 g Turkey rhubarb
  • 1.5 litres pure spring water
  1. Use 15 g herb mix to 1.5 litres pure spring water
  2. Boiling time: 10 minutes
  3. Basic single daily does:  30 ml herbal tea diluted in either 30 ml or 60 ml hot water, taken at bedtime or when you get up.


Additional Tips and Information

The preparation of Essiac is as important as the formula itself.  Essiac is a decoction, not an infusion.  An infusion is what people do when they put a tea bag in a cup of hot water.  Generally speaking, an infusion tends to extract vitamins and volatile oils.  A decoction is used to extract minerals, etc., from roots, bark or seeds by boiling for ten minutes and then allowing the herbs to steep for several hours.  Entrepreneurs often sell Essiac imitations in tincture form (herbs in alcohol) or in gelatin capsules; neither form is Essiac because Essiac is a decoction.

People often substitute stainless steel for an enameled pot and lid.  The main concern is not to use an aluminum pot.  Also, be sure not to use chlorinated water.  The formula above can be reduced to ½ cup of herb mix to one gallon of water or ¼ cup herb mix to ½ gallon water.  [Optional: Dr. Glum suggests adding 2 or 3 cups of extra water to replace water lost through evaporation during boiling.]

After boiling for ten minutes, let the tea steep about 12 hours.  Then heat up tea to steaming, but not boiling.  (Boiling it twice will ruin it.)  The remaining pulp can be used for healing poultices.

Don’t use cheesecloth to strain Essiac as it is too fine.  Likewise, do not use a kitchen sieve that has a very fine mesh as this may filter out the slippery elm.  Slippery elm gives the tea a slight viscous [syrup-like] consistency when poured.  If you do not notice this consistency after refrigerating your tea, you may be using a sieve that is too fine.  Don’t worry about herb particles in your Essiac; they will settle to the bottom of the jars.  Some people drink the Essiac dregs, others don’t.  Some people give the Essiac dregs to their pets or farm animals.  Many people have reported the same or similar health benefits with their pets that humans are reporting.

I have found from experience that it is best to refrigerate the Essiac tea as soon as it has cooled.  Discard the tea if mold appears on the surface or if the tea does not taste right.

For preventative purposes, people usually take 2 oz. (¼ cup) per day diluted with about ½ cup hot water.  Herbalists and naturopaths recommend increasing daily water intake due to diuretic and detoxifying action; it takes lots of water to detoxify.  People who are using Essiac to treat an illness or to eliminate toxins sometimes take Essiac two or three times a day, depending on the situation.  [Note: Rene Cassie recommended lower dosages, but she was using Essiac primarily to treat cancer.  Today many people use Essiac to detoxify their bodies as well.  We are exposed to a great deal more toxins in our environment and food today than when Rene operated her clinic in the 30s and 40s, so it appears the increase in today’s dosages is well justified.]  Although Essiac has a well-earned reputation for being non-toxic, 2 ounces (¼ cup) of Essiac taken three times each day is usually considered the maximum dosage.  Take on an empty stomach.  Do not eat or drink anything (except water) one hour before to one hour after taking Essiac; bedtime is usually recommended but it can be taken any time of the day.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Essiac Tea?

Essiac is a four-herb tea which was developed by Canadian nurse Rene Caisse.  Essiac tea is a decoction  of burdock root, sheep sorrel, slippery elm and turkey rhubarb.

Rene Caisse tested the tea on mice and used it on cancer patients in her cancer clinic in Bracebridge, Ontario.  She helped so many people with her tea that Essiac almost became an official cancer treatment.  However, the bill to make Essiac an official cancer treatment failed by just three votes in the Ontario legislature.  Rene Caisse called her tea “Essiac” – her surname spelled backwards.

How to Make Essiac Tea

Essiac Tea Instructions by Lanny Messinger

I have been making Essiac tea for several years and have simplified the process as much as possible to save time and to make it easier for people new to Essiac to make the tea.  The supplies for making Essiac tea can usually be found in your local hardware or grocery store in the canning supplies section.  Do not use any aluminum utensils as aluminum can react with Essiac tea.

Supplies Needed: Enameled or stainless steel pot with lid.  Canning jars, lids & rings.  Strainer and funnel or a glass measuring cup.

The following recipe is for making one gallon of tea using one packet of my Special Blend Essiac Tea Herbs.  You can make a smaller, two-quart batch by dividing this recipe in half.  I have found that it is best to make just enough Essiac tea to last about two weeks because Essiac tea is perishable and will eventually spoil in the refrigerator.  There are about 60 servings in one gallon of Essiac tea.  You can increase the shelf life of Essiac tea by sterilizing all utensils, jars, rings, lids, etc. in a boiling water bath for at least 15 minutes.  I usually skip the sterilization step to save time and therefore I have to make Essiac tea in small batches so I can drink it up quickly before it spoils.  I prefer to make it double-strength by using ¼ cup dried herbs to one quart of water.  The following steps show how to make about one gallon of Essiac tea.

1.  Pour one gallon of unchlorinated water into pot and bring to a boil.  (Optional: Add a couple extra cups of water to compensate for water boiling off and water absorption of herbs.)

2.  Add the entire contents of one packet of Special Blend Essiac Tea Herbs to boiling water, cover and boil hard for 10 minutes.  (To make a two-quart batch use one half of the packet, i.e., ¼ cup of herbs.)

3.  Scrape down the sides of the pot and allow the tea to sit, covered, in a warm place for about 12 hours.

4.  Reheat the tea in the covered pot until steaming hot, but do not boil it twice.

5.  Allow the tea to sit covered and undisturbed for several minutes so that the herbs will settle to the bottom of the pot.

6.  Place funnel and strainer on top of preheated canning jars.  (If you don’t have a funnel and strainer, you can use a glass measuring cup to pour the tea into the jars.)

7.  Carefully pour off (decant) the liquid from the pot into the canning jars so as to keep sediment out.  Screw the lids on, allow to cool and then refrigerate.  The sediment can be used for poultices or can be discarded.


Directions for Drinking Essiac Tea

Pour ¼ cup Essiac tea (one serving) into a cup and add hot water according to your taste (about ¼ to ½ cup of hot water).  Do not microwave the tea.  Drink Essiac tea on an empty stomach about one half hour before eating.  Take the time to sip your Essiac tea slowly; don’t gulp it down.  For preventive purposes people usually drink ¼ cup of Essiac tea once or twice daily.  People with cancer and other serious ailments and people who are detoxifying often take 3 to 4 servings daily.  Essiac tea is detoxifying so it is very important to drink plenty of pure water during the day and to have regular bowel movements.  Discard Essiac tea if it tastes sour or when white mold appears floating on the surface.  Essiac herbs and tea are light and heat sensitive so it is important to store in a cool, dark place.  If you have any questions, please e-mail me, Lanny Messinger, at, Sovereigns Health Freedom Network –

How long does one gallon of Essiac tea last?

How long one gallon of Essiac tea lasts depends, of course, on how much one drinks every day.  For example, if a person just drank the minimum dosage of ¼ cup (2 oz.) per day, one gallon (128 oz.) would theoretically last about two months.  However, the tea would spoil in the refrigerator before two months are up.  It is therefore better to make the tea in ½ gallon batches which should last about one month.

Cancer patients often choose to drink several servings of Essiac tea every day.  So, for example, if someone drank three servings (3/4 cup or 6 oz.) every day, one gallon would last about three weeks.


What is the Recommended Daily Dosage for Essiac Tea?

Essiac tea dosages depend on individual circumstances, body weight, etc.  For preventive measures,  I drink ¼ to ½ cup of Essiac tea (concentrated decoction) with about twice as much hot water every day.  It is the first thing I do in the morning and I take my time sipping it.  (Rene Caisse recommended drinking Essiac tea at bedtime on an empty stomach.)  Cancer patients often report taking three to five ¼ -cup servings per day.  Dr. Marijah McCain reported that one woman with breast cancer drank a quart of Essiac tea every day and successfully conquered her breast cancer.  To learn more about Essiac benefits, safety and dosages read the Interview with Dr. McCain.

Rene Caisse recommended only one ounce of Essiac tea daily but it is not entirely clear how concentrated that one ounce of Essiac tea was.  Apparently, she was concerned that people were using too much and wasting it as well as running a risk of “over-detoxification crises”.  Sheila Snow concurs with Rene on this issue.  This may very well be a valid concern considering that many cancer patients are subjected to pharmaceutical drugs and their adverse side effects as well as chemotherapy and radiation.  During detoxification toxins can be released into the bloodstream after being stored in fat tissue, etc.  Therefore, it is not uncommon for people to experience some of the effects of these drugs and other toxins while they’re being eliminated.

Should this phenomenon occur one can simply drink lots of water to assist in flushing out the toxins.  I do not perceive that this phenomenon is necessarily a bad thing because one is now finally getting rid of the toxins that have been stored in the body.  Hallelujah!  One can also use a sauna to help flush the toxins out through the skin, provided one drinks lots of water and avoids becoming overheated or dehydrated.  [Caveat: Saunas are not recommended for some conditions so a doctor’s advice may be indicated.]  I went through a 3-week intensive detoxification consisting of some running to jog the toxins out of fat tissue, mega-vitamins/minerals, and several hours every day of sweating in a sauna after jogging.  I experienced this so-called over-detoxification phenomenon almost every day.  Although there was some discomfort involved when toxins entered my bloodstream, at the end of this program my body was totally clean.  I never felt better in my entire life and my vision even cleared up!  Dr. McCain recommends simply cutting back on the amount of Essiac tea taken daily whenever this “over-detoxification” phenomenon occurs.

For over eight years Rene Caisse was providing Essiac for three to six hundred cancer patients every week!  As I have found, Essiac tea takes a great deal of time to grow organically and wildcraft, process, cut, powder, store, prepare, etc., so perhaps she also may have had concerns about not having enough Essiac for everybody.  Therefore, I think she would naturally want to economize on her Essiac herb supplies while providing just enough tea to produce positive results for each patient.

Also, in my opinion, we are exposed to a great deal more toxins in our environment compared to the middle of the twentieth century.  I think we also need to consider that Rene Caisse was primarily treating cancer patients.  Today we know that Essiac tea is good for so much more than just cancer treatment.  We should also not forget that the individual Essiac herbs have been used as food for a very, very long time.  That’s right – food.  Even today the Japanese and an increasing number of Americans are eating burdock root for dinner.  Fancy restaurants offer sheep sorrel salad at high prices.  Native Americans used slippery elm for food and for its health benefits long before the European invasion of this continent.  Many people use garden rhubarb in pies, jams, etc.  (However, Essiac tea uses the root of turkey rhubarb – not the stems.)

Can people overdose on food?  Well, just look at the problem of obesity today in America.  I would say that there are far too many people overdosing on unnatural foods such as white bread, candy, sugar-coated donuts, sugar-saturated sodas, etc., as well as overdosing on pharmaceutical drugs.  The rise in cancer, heart disease and diabetes appears to be a good indicator of the prevalence of poor diets occasioned by junk food overdoses.  By the way, sugar and refined carbohydrates feed cancer as well as yeast infections, etc.  The fact that these degenerative diseases have not subsided in our society also demonstrates that pharmaceutical drugs are not the solution to the problem.

Therefore, for the above reasons and from my experience and Dr. McCain’s experience, I don’t think overdosing on Essiac tea is an issue of great concern.  In fact, I think that if more people would trade in their donuts and soda pop for a cup or two of Essiac tea everyday, we’d see an observable rise in the health of America and all other countries who have adopted the Standard American Diet (SAD).  To me, Essiac tea is just good food for good health.  (And since it does not contain any sugar, you will not likely be inclined to drink excessive amounts of it.)

At the right dosage – and that will vary from person to person – Essiac tea can loosen and normalize bowel movements.  However, if things get too loose one only needs to cut back on the tea until the stools are soft but not too loose.  This ability to normalize bowel movements can be a real blessing to people who have been on low-fiber diets for long periods of time.  There are well-known American herbalists who claim that most illnesses can be remedied simply by a thorough colon cleanse.  I completed a thorough 7-day colon cleanse only to find that I didn’t need to do it.  My colon was already clean and normal just by daily use of Essiac tea.  (It took me about a month to recover my strength after that intense 7-day colon cleanse.)

In conclusion I think that people just need to experiment a bit to find that daily dosage that is right for them as individuals.  After all, our bodies are all different and the body’s needs can change from day to day.


 Will Essiac Tea alone cure cancer?

By Lanny Messinger

The answer to this question is a matter viewpoint.  It is my viewpoint that no herb “cures” anything.  Drugs also do not cure anything.  Drugs are usually just used to treat the symptoms of disease and they often have very negative side effects.

It is actually the human body that “cures”.  Medicinal herbs, natural foods and supplements are merely tools which the body uses to remedy situations in which the body is out of balance.  The physiological functions of the human body are extremely complex and “modern science” is just beginning to understand how the body uses food to manufacture specific compounds for an incredible number of microbiological functions to maintain health and keep our bodies from succumbing to bacteria, viruses, pollution, genetic weaknesses, etc.

Furthermore, it is not just the physical body that cures.  Our mental, emotional and spiritual state of being plays a significant role in creating a condition of health or a condition of disease.  We can decide to put toxic and destructive substances in our bodies such as tobacco, junk food, alcohol, sugar, etc., or we can decide to put pure water and fresh, organic food in our bodies and get plenty of exercise and fresh air.  The choice is ours to make as individuals.  For example, I provided Essiac tea to a friend who smoked cigarettes.  She initially reported feeling better taking the tea everyday.  However, she chose to continue smoking and then quit drinking Essiac tea.  She later died of lung cancer.  Although herbs can help alleviate side effects of unhealthy habits, it is not realistic to continue such habits believing that herbs will somehow magically cancel them out.

Essiac tea is food.  The four herbs in Essiac tea have been used as food and medicine since time immemorial.  More specifically, it is a very good natural food that addresses many of the conditions that plague modern society such as pollution, toxic food and water, over-processed food, unnatural food additives, unsustainable farming practices that use toxic substances to control pests and “weeds”, etc.  Before the industrial revolution people ate foods more directly from Nature and our bodies have genetically evolved with these natural foods.  In the past hundred years or so “modern science” has brought us unnatural chemicals and products that our bodies have never had to process before.  Consequently, degenerative “diseases” such as cancer, heart disease and diabetes are at all-time highs.

Therefore, in my opinion anyone with cancer or other serious illness should look at how they can improve their diets overall because no vitamin, mineral, amino acid, flavonoid, enzyme, antioxidant, etc., functions alone.  People should not rely on Essiac alone because we need all the nutrients that Nature has provided for human bodies for a very long time.

Mainstream medical doctors are not trained in nutrition and medicinal herbs.  Unfortunately, they are trained in prescribing drugs from powerful pharmaceutical corporations and these drugs often have insidious and often devastating side effects.  Over 100,000 people die every year from FDA-approved pharmaceutical drugs and millions more suffer adverse side effects from these drugs.  Therefore, medical doctors often do more harm than good.  If I had cancer or other serious illness I would seek out a competent naturopathic doctor, nutritionist and/or herbalist to find out what specific nutrients my body may be requiring and start on a strict nutritional program which would also include exercise, fresh air, meditation, visualization and positive thinking.  I would discontinue any habits destructive to my health and I would give my body the tools it needs to maintain health.  I consider Essiac tea to be one of those tools and that is why I drink it every day.