All Essiac is not created equal: Notes from the October 2012 Essiac Master Class
Its the first day of November. The Essiac master class has come and gone. We had a great group - a real cross-section of folks including naturopaths and other healing arts practitioners, growers, people on their journeys with cancer, nurses, folks from Canada as well as the U.S., both original inhabitants and us 'imports.'
The master class was not recorded or videotaped so that the discussion could be candid. In this time of webinars and info going 'viral' on the internet, we decided to go 'back to the source' - a sharing amongst those there, just like the beginning of this tea, person to person. From there it grows, naturally.
Mali started off reviewing the evolution of Essiac, beginning with its northern Canadian native American origins, to its development and refinement into Essiac in the 1920s and 1930s by Nurse Rene Caisse. There was a lively group discussion about how to best protect Esiac and ensure its future availability.
Mali presented her conclusions about the composition of the original 8 herb formula, and the challenges involved in sourcing these original herbs commercially. She shared her personal experiences with Essiac. She also shared some stories from the Essiac charity she founded in England some 15 years ago and which continues to provide Essiac, Clouds Trust. She spoke of how mainstream treatment protocols can and are being changed by the experiences of those using non-traditional approaches, and she stressed the wisdom in patients, practitioners and governments working with, rather than against, each other.
Mali's candid observations were both insightful and illustrative of how, through skillful means, including prayer and visualization, one can actually communicate with their cancer.
Mali stressed the value of the 'repeatable experiment' and the importance of getting Essiac and especially sheep sorrel, including the root, into a lab for proper research. She shared the results of her own research growing and working with the herbs.
Here are a few highlights:
- There are three options when diagnosed with a serious illness: run from it, carry on as usual, not giving it much thought, or face it square on. Each approach has its time and merit, each person's path is unique and completely their own to choose. There is no 'right' or 'wrong' way in doing it.
- Sheep sorrel likes volcanic soil, and also places that have experienced forest fires.
- Homegrown and hand-harvested makes for the highest quality Essiac. Proper drying is crucial - i.e., air drying at room temperature, vs. drying involving heat, which destroys the potency of the herbs.
- Burdock and beets are good companions. Plant burdock in a three year cycle: year one, plant pumpkin, in the second year, beans, and in the third year, burdock. It will grow with gusto! (Be sure to harvest first year burdock, after that the root becomes woody and loses its medicinal value.)
- Sharing information with people you know and trust is a good way to go, and is more reliable than information found on the internet 😉
The afternoon started off with a wine-tasting! Not really, but we did have an Essiac-tasting session. We prepared seven different commercial Essiac formulas as well as Mali's four herb Essiac, which is made with 100% roots and bark (100% sheep sorrel root, no arial parts, for the sheep sorrel portion of the recipe), and her original 8 herb (which does not contain the same eight herbs as any of the commercial formulas on the market).
We compared ingredients, brewing directions, and taste. It really illustrated how all Essiac is not created equal, and how different it is when the sheep sorrel root is included. Mali stressed that the intention was not to disrespect what the other suppliers are doing, or take issue with the quality of their products, it was simply to illustrate the differences. Interestingly, virtually all Essiac being produced in the American and Canadian markets is being made double strength, contrary to how Rene Caisse did it, and does not contain sheep sorrel roots. (With the exception of this site, of course!) 🙂
Before we knew it the day had come to an end. Moke Eaglefeathers led a closing prayer, and Floyd Bearing Sr. sang a song for us. We were blessed.
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” - Margaret Mead
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