Welcome to Rene Caisse Tea – Home of Essiac Tea with Sheep Sorrel Roots included!
Welcome to ReneCaisseTea.com, where we go the extra mile to provide Essiac tea that includes sheep sorrel roots, as its developer and namesake, Canadian nurse Rene Caisse, did.
The emperor has no clothes.......there is a missing ingredient in almost 100% of the Essiac being sold in today's world. It is Sheep sorrel root. 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 root.
According to Rene Caisse, leaving out the sheep sorrel root is leaving out the most important ingredient.
Sheep sorrel root is generally not commercially available, and that does present a challenge for companies trying to mass produce Essiac on a large scale.
We are a small 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 Pacific Northwest.
We are pleased to offer pre-mixed, ready to brew Essiac herbs and the perfect reading companion, The Complete Essiac Essentials. This book has all the necessary information on what to look for whether you are buying, wildcrafting, or growing the herbs. It walks you through making your own mix from scratch. including the 'handy half-pounder' recipe, and detailed step-by-step instructions for making the decoction. Sample programs are offered for the best way to work with Essiac and the other formulae that Rene Caisse is known to have used. We also offer a reprint of the 1963 booklet written by Rene Caisse herself, I Was Canada's Cancer Nurse, .....and more! visit the store
Small is beautiful......Essiac in your own backyard! The ideal way to get the best Essiac herbs is to grow them in your garden! 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. 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 (Arctium lappa) 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.
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. 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.
The main point is that sheep sorrel from polluted places can't be used in Essiac.
Burdock can be difficult to harvest in the wild too, due to the need to dig down several feet into sometimes unyielding soil, to get the entire root. Burdock root should be harvested in the first year, before the plant produces any 'burs'.
Back to the garden.....Burdock and sheep sorrel are not hard to grow, harvest and dry. You can grind them in a (clean!) coffee mill. The third Essiac ingredient, slippery elm (Ulmus rubra), is widely available and should be easy to find at your local health food store. Its 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 (Rheum palmatum), although easy to grow, and beautiful, is ideally not harvested until it reaches peak potency in its sixth year. The dried root is a bit challenging to access commercially - don't settle for less than rheum palmatum. The Complete Essiac Essentials is the ideal guidebook and reference, with everything you need to know to do Essiac right - how to grow, harvest, and make and take the various Essiac formulae, all in one book.
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). I am not certain which category taking herbs in pill form would translate to.
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. Certainly they have never been tested using the public domain Essiac formula, with Sheep sorrel roots included and using organic, top-quality herbs. They really do deserve some good research!
About the Essiac formula......There are many different versions of Essiac being sold today, and often herbs are added that Rene Caisse is not known to have ever worked with, such as blessed thistle and kelp. The original Native American formula was made of 8 herbs - archival evidence indicates they 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 minor), and Goldthread (Coptis trifolia). However, very early on, in the 1920s, Rene Caisse narrowed the Essiac formula down to what several years' of her own research found to be the four main active ingredients: sheep sorrel, burdock, slippery elm and Turkey rhubarb.
Rene did also work with other herbs, including some of the original 8 herbs. She also patented a kidney remedy, and made a salve. She utilized several variations of the Essiac formula. Ironically, there is currently no 8-herb Essiac being sold that matches the hand-written paper upon which Rene listed the original Essiac herbs.
The formula we use is the classic four-herb Essiac that is in the public domain - Mary McPherson's 1994 Affidavit. People have a right to know exactly what they are buying, especially when it comes to public domain formulas. Therefore we include the percentage of each herb in the mix, right on the label.
At the root of it........Sheep sorrel root is a clearly verified important part of the Essiac formula that is absent from almost all of the Essiac sold today. ReneCaisseTea.com's Essiac tea contains 12.5% sheep sorrel root in proportion to the arial parts of the plant, which is just above the 12% minimum amount recommended by Mali Klein in The Complete Essiac Essentials. We anticipate making available this year an option for an even higher roots:tops ratio!
Get updates on the availability options by subscribing to our Mailing List, in the side bar.
The Snow/Klein collaboration. We hang our hat on the research and documentation of Sheila Snow and Mali Klein, who have collectively written five books on Rene Caisse and Essiac. The newest book, The Complete Essiac Essentials (March 2011), is the culminating edition of the earlier Snow/Klein trilogy: Essiac Essentials (1999), Essiac the Secrets of Rene Caisse's Herbal Pharmacy (2001), and The Essiac Book (2006). It represents the gold standard in Essiac reference books. It really stands alone in its 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. She passed on some very special Essiac treasures to Sheila. Sheila, who passed away in 2008, amassed quite a collection of Essiac history, 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, and other interesting updates!).
Sheila. It is Sheila Snow who discovered the documentation of the importance of sheep sorrel root 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. Mali Klein, in addition to contributing her literary genius, has also given further service on behalf of Essiac. She established The Clouds Trust, a registered Essiac charity in the UK that has now been in operation for over 15 years, legally providing Essiac tea, sheep sorrel root included, to any British citizen who wishes to have access to it.
For 20 years Mali has been growing and experimenting with the Essiac herbs. If it was not for Mali, the world would not have an Essiac reference book that has no comparison. Her dedication to excellence in whatever she has chosen to undertake has ensured that the true story of Rene Caisse and Essiac will never be lost.
Rene Caisse Tea is doing its part by providing the Essiac formula with sheep sorrel roots included, and by being your most 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 sheep sorrel root, 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. There are many valuable things yet to be rediscovered about herbs and their role in our health and well-being. "No Army is as powerful as an idea whose time has come." - Victor Hugo
....Thank you, Rene!
Instructions for preparing Essiac tea are included with every Essiac order.
Questions? Feel free to email us, or phone (406) 883-0110.