Who was Rene Caisse?
Rene Caisse was a lifetime native of Ontario, Canada. She died at age 90 in 1978. She was famous for her research and development of an indigenous herbal tea that she dubbed “Essiac” (her surname spelled backwards). The story goes that in the early 1890s a Native American medicine man prescribed The tea for a white woman living in a mining camp in the far north of Ontario. 30 years later, and long recovered from the breast cancer, the woman passed the recipe on to Rene Caisse.
Rene devoted her life to Essiac, but never did work out any compromises with the medical and/or political establishment that could sufficiently ensure essiac’s continuing availability to the general public based upon the preliminary anecdotal record of its safety and efficacy. There was a pivotal time in 1938 when legislation authorizing Rene Caisse to practice medicine was before the Legislature of Ontario, but politics got in the way, and in 1941, Rene closed her clinic.
However, she did continue to provide Essiac to the people that found her, always with her eye over her shoulder, always treading the line with the authorities. In 1963, Rene authored a booklet entitled "I Was Canada's Cancer Nurse" and told her story, in her own words. In 1974, Sheila Snow began working with Rene Caisse to write her biography. In 1977 She co-wrote an article called “Can Essiac Halt Cancer?” in the Canadian Homemaker’s Magazine. it triggered a huge amount of attention across Canada, and put essiac back in the limelight. Although the studies that this article triggered were not conclusive, Essiac’s anecdotal record rides on and it remains ever popular to this day.
In 1978 more than 600 people attended Rene’s 90th birthday party. a few months later Rene fell and broke her hip, and although she was able to return home for a while, she fell again, and on Dec. 26, 1978, Rene became a real angel.