Going back to the source

Welcome to Rene Caisse Tea – Home of Organic Blue Moon Herbs Essiac Tea with Sheep Sorrel Roots included!

Welcome to Blue Moon Herbs/ReneCaisseTea.com, where we go the extra mile to provide Essiac (pronounced ess-e-ack) tea that includes Sheep sorrel roots, as its developer and namesake, Canadian nurse Rene Caisse, (pronounced Reen Case) did.

home....there is a missing ingredient in almost 100% of the Essiac being sold in today's world.  It is sheep sorrel roots. Although sheep sorrel herb (Rumex acetosella) is a standard ingredient in almost all Essiac, its almost always just the stems, flowers and leaves - the arial parts - but no roots.

According to Rene Caisse, leaving out the sheep sorrel root is leaving out the most important ingredient.

“You can buy the crushed leaves but they are no good alone.  I found this out when I needed so much, when treating three to six hundred people afflicted with cancer every week for eight and a half years.  I do know that the whole plant is needed.”  – Rene Caisse to Dr. Chester Stock, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, January 1975. (Sheila Snow Fraser Essiac Archive Collection)    

Sheep sorrel root is generally not commercially available, and that does present a challenge for companies trying to produce Essiac on a large scale.

We are a small independent business focused on providing quality Essiac, 'with the root', and reliable, well-documented Essiac information.  Our herbs are either certified organic or responsibly wildcrafted from unpolluted areas.  We wildcraft our sheep sorrel root from the country in Montana and Idaho. All of our herbs come from the U.S., and are grown, for the most part, within our home region here in the Inland Pacific Northwest.

We are pleased to offer pre-mixed, ready to brew Essiac herbs as well as the seeds to grow them.  We also offer the #1 Essiac reference book The Complete Essiac Essentials (2010) by Mali Klein and Sheila Snow and its recently released companion volume Black Root Medicine: the Original Natie American Essiac Formula (September 2014) by Mali Klein. The latter book is the final installment in a combined total of six Snow/Klein Essiac books, and is a very easy-to-read book with quite compelling information regarding Rene Caisse's work and her  brief working relationship with Dr. Charles Brusch.  But mainly, it was written to offer healing empowerment to those 'in the trenches'. We also now offer a reformatted full-size reprint of the 1966 booklet written by Rene Caisse herself,  I Was Canada's Cancer Nurse, .....and more! Coming in time for the holidays: Tea-making kits and other gift ideas :)  Click here to visit our online store!

About the Essiac formula......

The original Native American formula is an 8-herb combination, but Rene Caisse refined it to four herbs in the 1920s and subsequently primarily used four herbs as her basic formula for the rest of her life. There are many different versions of 8-herb Essiac being sold today, but none of the 8-herb formulas being sold contain the correct eight herbs.  They generally have six of them right. However, Rene Caisse is not known to have ever used blessed thistle or kelp in Essiac. Archival evidence suggests that the original 8 herbs were: burdock (Arctium Lappa), sheep sorrel (Rumex acetosella), slippery elm (Ulmus Rubra), turkey rhubarb (Rheum palmatum), red clover (Trifolium pratense), watercress (Rorippa nasturtium aquaticum), periwinkle (Vinca major/minor), and goldthread (Coptis trifolia).

Nurse Caisse did work with other herbs besides the four in the classic Essiac formula, including some of the original 8 herbs. Based on Mali Klein and Sheila Snow's research, we seasonally offer offer a 5-herb Essiac with goldthread, dubbed East Shield Tea by Mali Klein in the Black Root Medicine book, as well as a 5-herb Essiac with red clover roots, South Shield Tea.  Nurse Caisse also patented a kidney remedy, and made a salve for radiation burns, and those formulae are included in The Complete Essiac Essentials book.  The classic four-herb formula was made public 16 years after Rene Caisse's death when her long-time friend and helper Mary McPherson filed an affidavit with the Bracebridge Ontario Town Clerk.

There is currently no 8-herb Essiac being sold that matches the hand-written paper upon which Rene listed the original Essiac herbs, as reproduced in The Essiac Book (Mali Klein, 2006) and The Complete Essiac Essentials (Sheila Snow/Mali Klein, 2010). Part of the mission of Blue Moon Herbs is to recreate the original eight herb formula and make it available in the future.

Blue Moon Herbs' Essiac tea is made following the classic four-herb formula that is in the public domain. At the "root" of it........sheep sorrel root is a clearly verified important part of the Essiac formula. The sheep sorrel in our tea is comprised of 50% whole herb sheep sorrel, as well as organically grown hand-harvested sheep sorrel roots.

Rene Caisse was reported to harvest the entire Sheep sorrel plant, including the roots.  In keeping with that we use, and urge all those who produce Essiac or Essiac-like products, to use the entire sheep sorrel plant whenever possible.

Essiac tinctures and capsules....

There is no evidence that Rene Caisse ever used Essiac except in decoction, and this is why we do not offer Essiac in capsule or tincture form.  A decoction by definition requires boiling. Herbs have varying properties depending on whether they are used fresh, dried, tinctured, in infusion (steeped) or in decoction (boiled and steeped). Roots and bark, which comprise almost all of the ingredients in Essiac (except for the sheep sorrel leaf), require boiling to fully release their properties. I am not certain which category taking herbs in pill form would even translate to.

The Synergistic Effect of the Essiac herbs in combination

Sheep sorrel, slippery elm, burdock and turkey rhubarb have historically been used in a variety of ways, both as foods and/or medicinally. These four herbs in combination seem to have a synergistic effect that has, to date, not been adequately tested in the laboratory.   using organic, top-quality herbs and the correct procedures, nor have the variations of the  classic Essiac formula been tested as a combination therapy in any widespread fashion. There is much yet to be understood about the nature of healing and the role of herbs in it. The anecdotal record of Essiac's efficacy goes back 100 years, and we consider it a valid indicator of the value of this herbal formula.

Small is beautiful......Essiac in your own backyard!  

The ideal way to get the best Essiac herbs is to grow them in your garden!

Spring wildcrafted whole herb Sheep sorrel

Spring wildcrafted whole herb Sheep sorrel

This is a realistic, economical alternative that will ultimately generate the raw materials to make your own Essiac. Like so many worthy endeavors, growing the Essiac herbs is best done on a small scale by hand, which allows for much greater care to details such as hand-weeding and timing the harvest just right. Large scale harvesting requires that sheep sorrel plants be allowed to grow tall and past their prime - so that they are lanky enough to be caught by the mowing machinery.  When sheep sorrel root is hand-harvested selectively, it ensures a continuing supply because there is no plow wiping out an entire colony or planting.  Burdock, the other main ingredient in Essiac, is also easy to grow. 

Burdock can be challenging to dig down to get the whole root, but once it is out of the ground, it is easy to clean, chop into pea-sized pieces, and put aside to dry - and the fresh root is also good as a food.  Burdock root, whether its for Essiac or dinner, should be harvested in the first year, before the plant produces 'burs' and the root gets woody.

The third Essiac ingredient, slippery elm, is widely available and should be easy to find at your local health food store. It's best to buy it because it is hard to powder, and it takes at least ten years for the tree to be mature enough to survive the necessary sacrifice of a branch.

The final ingredient, turkey rhubarb, although easy to grow, does take six years to reach peak potency. While waiting, the dried root is available commercially - but don't settle for less than Rheum palmatum.

"Turkey rhubarb is better." - Mary McPherson, private paper, 1977, Sheila Snow Fraser Essiac Archive Collection.

Essiac truly is meant to be looked after and tended to 'by the people,'  and Rene Caisse meant her herbal decoction to be 'for the people.'

 Why not just get sheep sorrel in the wild?

For having a very wide range, sheep sorrel is frustratingly hard to find in any one place in any significant quantity in the wild. Where you will often find it is flourishing along the roads and in other toxic places. The root is very small so it takes hours to collect what will end up being much less once dried. However, both sheep sorrel and burdock are found growing in the wild all around the world, and sheep sorrel is quite amenable to being dug up and re-deposited in your garden. Although not normally classified as a 'noxious' weed, here in the U.S. many states consider sheep sorrel a 'nuisance' weed. Not in my garden :)

In spite of being sprayed and inundated with car exhaust, sheep sorrel is a pioneer kind of plant, and persists in surviving no matter what kind of  herbicide is thrown at it by the roadside weed control folks.  A weed-sprayer working for Idaho County once commented to me, "You can't kill it!"  This draws an interesting parallel when considering larger questions of mortality. Pioneer plants are known to be the first step to renewal of devastated environments. Could it be that sheep sorrel is drawn to where it is needed, to help detoxify and heal? Its gentle resilience is a compelling hallmark of how so many herbs work in this world. DSCN4428

The main point is that sheep sorrel from polluted places can't be used in Essiac. But it sure is easy to grow in your garden! Check out our Facebook group the Essiac Growers Guild.  Where we share our 'growing ideas' :)

The Complete Essiac Essentials is the ideal guidebook and reference for growing the Essiac herbs, with everything you need to know to grow, harvest, and make and take the various Essiac formulae, all in one book. Black Root Medicine the Original Native American Essiac Formula takes it one step further, in perfect prose and with a very special message to those who are dealing with a life-changing health journey.

The Snow/Klein collaboration. 

We hang our hat on the work of Sheila Snow and Mali Klein, who have collectively written six books on Rene Caisse and Essiac. The newest books, The Complete Essiac Essentials (March 2011) and Black Root Medicine the Original Native American Essiac Formula (September 2014) are the culminating editions of the earlier Snow/Klein trilogy: Essiac Essentials (1999), Essiac the Secrets of Rene Caisse's Herbal Pharmacy (2001), and The Essiac Book (2006).  These books represent the gold standard in Essiac reference books, and stand alone in their class. The straight story, from the ultimate source - Rene Caisse's closest friends and helpers. 

The source.  Rene Caisse and Mary McPherson. 

Sheila Snow and Mali Klein knew the wisdom in 'going to the source' when looking for those little answers that inform much bigger questions. Sheila's personal acquaintenance with Rene Caisse was invaluable in this regard.  Rene's long-time friend and helper, Mary McPherson, also worked directly with Sheila and Mali over the course of more than ten years.  She helped immensely in giving insight into what made Rene tick. When Mary passed away in 2006, she bequeathed some very special Essiac treasures to Sheila. Sheila, who passed away in 2008, had amassed quite a collection of Essiac history, all of which Mali has now inherited.  Mali shares some new material from the Sheila Snow Fraser Essiac Archives in  The Complete Essiac Essentials (along with a very thought-provoking Appendix 4, the prelude to Book Six) as well as in Black Root Medicine the Original Native American Essiac Formula.

Sheila Snow.

It is Sheila who discovered the documentation  proving the importance of sheep sorrel roots in the Essiac formula.  The Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center gave her copies of Rene's correspondence with Dr. Chester Stock during the 1970s when MSK was researching Essiac. (The research had promising preliminary results, but there were several issues which resulted in inconclusive findings.)

Mali Klein. 

Mali, in addition to contributing her literary genius, has also given - and continues to give - further service on behalf of Essiac.  She established the Clouds Trust, a registered Essiac charity in England that has now been in operation for nearly 20 years, legally providing Essiac tea, sheep sorrel roots included, to any British citizen who wishes to have access to it.

For over 20 years Mali has been growing and experimenting with the Essiac herbs.  If it were not for Mali, the world would not have Essiac reference books with no comparison.  Her dedication to excellence in whatever she has chosen to undertake has ensured that a factual account of Rene Caisse and Essiac has been preserved  -  and perhaps that the importance of the original 8-herb formula will receive another look as the latest research findings on some of the original herbs reveal their value in reversing and preventing cancer. Blue Moon Herbs/Rene Caisse Tea is doing its part by replicating Rene Caisse's Essiac formula, to the last detail, and by being a trusted online source of Essiac information and history. We are committed to keeping Essiac available and affordable for anyone who wishes to take it.

"We all have the right to benefit from Essiac because no one can stop us making it, no one can stop us taking it and no one can stop us deciding how and when we're going to do it." - Mali Klein, The Essiac Book

Rene Caisse meant for Essiac to contain the whole sheep sorrel plant, especially the roots, and we are spreading the word! We owe it to the future to hang on to a few of the useful things people knew before their time, like Rene.  She had quite an uphill battle against the political and medical establishment as a woman and a nurse in the 1930s.

There are many valuable things yet to be rediscovered about herbs and their role in our health and well-being and Essiac has survived to see the start of a return to a greater appreciation of the value of herbal medicine for our very survival. Essiac looks after itself. :) "No Army is as powerful as an idea whose time has come." - Victor Hugo

....Thank you, Rene! :) And thank you also to the Native American Medicine Man who brings the original formula, through Rene Caisse, into this modern day.

Instructions for preparing Essiac tea are included with every Essiac order.

Questions?  Feel free to email us, or phone (406) 883-0110.

Angela at rawreform.com  and  The Raw Food World says it so well:

Medical Disclaimer

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