Essiac tea with Sheep Sorrel roots included!


Happy New Year from Blue Moon Herbs and Mali Klein!

2019 - Year of  Great Connections!

Wishing all of our friends, colleagues and customers a very happy, healthy 2019! Above, from left to right are the team at Blue Moon Herbs with Mali Klein, who visited recently - Emily Angelo, Danielle Yoder, Anais Starr, Debbie Jakovac, Mali Klein, and Hannah Rostocki. Not pictured are Angie Vance, Danielle's and Emily's daughters and sons, who are Junior Blue Mooners 🙂 nor the many more who remain anonymous but have helped us help you better through their friendship love and support.

Its now been over three weeks since the solstice and the light is noticeably coming back here on the 47th parallel, both in length and intensity.

January is like the "Zero Point" of the year for me..the time between the in-breath and the out-breath, coming out of the past and going into a brand new year, death and rebirth, this is when yours truly works on the website and 1000 other indoor things, while dreaming of hills blossoming in green and gold and planting Sheep sorrel and a candy store's worth of vegetable and herb seeds, many from Strictly Medicinal Seeds.  Our gardens will finally take the center stage in May or maybe even April! Its been a few years of getting underway with infrastructure (greenhouse, tipis, water storage, irrigation system, contending with grasshoppers and drought!, etc.).

How Bout the Weather this Winter!

Another six short weeks and what so far is the warmest winter I can remember in my whole life of living in Montana won't have enough blast left to make a cold snap. Hopefully there will be moisture of some sort coming, though. Our area is naturally on the dry side and we need snow in the mountains in the winter to produce a spring runoff for the valleys. Forest fires out here in the West are an increasingly uneasy fact of life as the climate puts out scattered seasons with a chance of earth changes to behold with bated breath as the story unfolds.

All this balmy weather with temperatures above freezing has caused an irresistible urge to start planting seeds in January! My young potted Slippery elm is safely tucked on my enclosed porch but is no help whatsoever, popping out buds like its already if whispering in my ear..."come on...get the greenhouses ready and start some seeds!"  I could even rake the yard but I am holding out for snow in hopes it doesn't come to that!

It is so seductive to think maybe we'll get away without a real winter. But it being Montana and always seems to come...and actually I really do like it like that. It feels 'normal.'  All I know is it is Way Too Soon to call winter a no-show...and there is still a lot more to do inside. : |

The Glad To Be Here Project

2018 was dedicated to strengthening our community connections. Danielle, Emily, myself, Hannah and Angie began volunteering at the local soup kitchen. Soup kitchens are great places to give Essiac away as there sure are ample folks in need who appreciate it. Essiac is a new idea to many, often welcome and encouraging.

In this vein, we have started a project encompassing our Flathead Valley and surrounding communities called the Glad To Be Here Project. There are many reasons for being glad to be in the heart of Western Montana, with the grandeur of Glacier National Park and the Mission Mountains and Flathead Lake right out your window. We believe a little bit of the healing energy of this place is in every packet of herbs we put out. 

Glad to be here is a state of mind though, and the positive effects from Essiac can make it apply to wherever we find ourselves. There is beauty inside us no matter where we are.

However...there are people here, just like everywhere else, that live with poverty and despair because of health and other problems. We are giving Essiac herbs and/or made-up decoction ready to consume to anyone in our area who would like to try it for a few months or if in need, longer, at no charge. We will be keeping close track of the folks who want to take part in our follow-up research but for those not wishing to share their personal information, no questions asked. Essiac doesn't care about all that.

The heart of our mission is to simply put people and Essiac together. That is truly what we are about more than anything - that and encouraging others to do what we are doing, in their own communities. Say Yes to being an Essiac tea-maker and/or Sheep sorrel grower (for the root). There's a big change coming  and it's returning herbal medicine to its well-earned place at the table. "Essiac is a worthy vocation." - Gregory Klein

The Glad to Be Here Project is putting Buddhist philosophy (lovingkindness, gratitude, service) into action and it is also an experiment to see how high quality local Essiac can make a difference in lives!

The big projects and huge organizations have a role to play but we all do. What it ultimately boils down to really is about making a difference in a direct way, with benefit for giver and receiver alike from one-on-one connections, one person at a time, one day at a time. Saying "Yes" and keeping promises.

It was Rene Caisse's dream that Essiac become freely available for everyone everywhere. We CAN change the world. We were told that one person was not going to be able to, but the rest of the story is that people coming together to heal what is broken opens the doors of miraculous positive change where anything is possible. May the Force be with you!

The Hands Across the Water Project

And so the journey goes. Later this year it will lead us across the ocean to Geneva Switzerland to hear Mali Klein present at the 1st International Health Congress on Integrative Oncology for Ethical and Sustainable Patient Care...but that's another story! ~ stay tuned!

We have a new partner for sourcing Essiac done properly in Europe! We have been working closely with a team based across Germany and Switzerland, Arupa AG, to produce a fresh organic crop Sheep sorrel.  It's been two years in the making and I have now received word that the sorrel roots and tops have been successfully harvested and will be available to us in the next couple of months. Germany has long held a reputation for producing some of the finest herbal medicine in the world and we are very pleased to announce we will be offering an international sampler:  Essiac with German Sheep sorrel and Essiac with US Sheep sorrel - both top quality and certified organic!

Our new partnership with Arupa AG means that we will also be able to offer our overseas friends and customers a more local source for good quality Essiac herbs.  This will help bring down the high shipping rates considerably as well as reduce the delivery times.  For more information click here.  All teas are now in stock and can be ordered online from the link.

Thank you everyone for a great 2018! May our world be blessed with peace and prosperity for everyone everywhere in 2019.

Debbie Jakovac

Owner, Blue Moon Herbs

"This is the Way of Peace: overcome evil with good, falsehood with truth, and hatred with love." - Peace Pilgrim

The Fascination of Essiac with Mali Klein: The Medicine Man

This video was shot in Polson MT in June 2018 when Mali Klein came to visit us at Blue Moon Herbs. Mali has been involved with Essiac since  November 1993. Her full final analysis of the subject is in the pages of the Essiac Essentials Handbook.  Mali shares her insights into the big picture of Essiac's journey from when it came into the greater world from the wilderness in the early 1890s and how it progressed over time to its present place in herbal medicine. Enjoy!

Essiac Tea Time in Polson Montana!

Mali Klein, author of the best books in existence on Essiac and Rene Caisse, is coming to Polson Montana in June 2018! This trip will be a short one but we plan to cram a lot in 🙂 We'll be shooting lots of video to share with you on Vimeo (The Essiac Cafe) and YouTube.

For Blue Moon Herbs, 2018 is the Year to Get Active Locally.  We have spent the last two years digging Sheep sorrel roots but this year is not desperate in that department, and we are officially returning to our main focus - providing the info and inspiration for folks everywhere to do what we're doing - making Essiac like Rene Caisse did, using the roots as well as the arial parts of the Sheep sorrel plant, and providing it for friends and family, community and region. Selling Essiac on the internet has been an amazing experience, but local is really where Essiac's heart lies. Locally produced Essiac. Local Essiac caregivers. Small farms. Micro-businesses. Folks feeling good all over again :). Local economies too!

There is much good to come from people sharing information and finding answers together. In anticipation of Mali's visit we are having a little tea party! We're looking for a small group of local residents who would like to explore the beneficial effects of Essiac in the coming weeks before Mali's visit. Come on down if you are in the area on April 24, 2018! That is, 103B 3rd. Avenue East (Mrs. Wonderful's Marmalade Cafe), Polson, Montana, USA.

If you can't make it, stay tuned! If you are interested in being part of the group for the anecdotal study, but you don't live near Polson, MT  contact us. The Essiac Spring Tea Drinkers Guild Study Group is a state of mind and an idea ready for the times 🙂 Read up on Essiac and its history and practical uses in Mali's new book - The Essiac Essentials Handbook - available exclusively through Blue Moon Herbs in June 2018 in softcover version, English. It is currently available online via Amazon in English, French and German and is well worth the read for anyone who wants to know the true story from the women who knew it. The rest of the Klein/Snow books still in print and a handful of other good reads including Rene Caisse's own I Was Canada's Cancer Nurse,  are available from our online store. A no-cost option is to visit the online Rene Caisse Room and watch hours worth of videos and read the Homemaker's Magazine article that put Essiac back in prominence in 1977, where it has remained ever since.  Enjoy your Essiac!

Mali Klein is coming back to the US – new books and video coming!

Update as of May 18, 2018:  The Essiac Essentials Handbook by Mali Klein is now in print! It is a beauty! Just drove to Pine Orchard Press in Moscow Idaho to pick the new books up! Mali Klein is arriving in just over one week and we'll be looking forward to sharing our visit via video, with all who love Essiac! Stay tuned 🙂 Click HERE to order the Essiac Essentials Handbook!

Sheila Snow and Mali Klein are the light-bearers of the truth when it comes to Rene Caisse and Essiac. They have collectively written a total of nine books about it. Now the number is eleven! Mali and Sheila began a collaboration in the mid-1990s following the death of Mali's husband Gregory. Mali was starting an Essiac charity in England to honor how it had helped in their journey with a brain tumor. Mali traveled to Bracebridge Ontario to meet Sheila, who had written The Essence of Essiac in 1993. (The charity, Clouds Trust, has been very successful and is still in operation and thriving in 2018!)

Mali returned for many more visits over the years, and she learned more and more from Sheila and Mary McPherson, Rene's other long-time friend and associate. It became apparent that there was more to the story than the public had been told, and there was substantial misinformation circulating. After Rene's death in 1978, there was no one left who knew the whole truth about Essiac, except Mary and Sheila. A trend towards stronger concentrations of the decoction and higher dosages that began in the U.S. had begun to obscure the ways in which Rene had worked with the formulae.

As a result, each successive Snow/Klein book has had more to say on the subject. The first book Sheila and Mali co-authored was Essiac Essentials (1999).  Essiac the Secrets of Rene Caisse's Herbal Pharmacy was published in 2001 and The Essiac Book was published in 2006. Mary died in 2006. Sheila passed away in 2008. Sheila had spent years collecting Essiac history and all the papers and pieces of it were passed on to Mali in 2010. Yours truly Debbie Jakovac began working with Mali to preserve the Essiac legacy that same year. In 2011 The Complete Essiac Essentials was published as part of that collaboration. We brought Mali from Europe for a visit in 2010 and brought her back to the US again in 2012, 2013 and 2014 and Mali and I spent time in Bracebridge Ontario, Rene's home town, as well as in the NW US giving Essiac classes. Since then many more have joined us on our journey and mission to keep the knowledge of Essiac accurate and to keep the herbs available to all who wish to explore this simple and safe key to good health.  It is very heartening to see how Essiac and herbal medicine have begun to be recognized more widely again. It is also very heartening to see how the importance of Sheep sorrel root in the Essiac formula has become known more widely known largely because of Mali Klein's work!

As Mali became more and more aware of the importance of Sheep sorrel roots in the Essiac formula she felt the public had a right to know. Especially considering how strongly Nurse Caisse felt about it in her correspondence with the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center during the 1970s when they researched Essiac.

“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.”  

Each Snow/Klein book had a little more to say about it as a result.

The first book, Essiac Essentials, placed little emphasis - 'One level teaspoonful of it is sufficient for each 16 ounces of the powdered summer harvest of leaves." In both Essiac Essentials and Essiac The Secrets of Rene Caisse's Pharmacy (Snow/Klein, 2001) the recipe simply calls for "Sheep sorrel, powdered." But then when The Essiac Book came out in 2006, Mali recommended that 25% of the Sheep sorrel portion should be roots, officially breaking the 'code of silence'.

In The Complete Essiac Essentials (2010), Mali reported, "The root contains important additional elements in comparison to the aerial parts of the Sheep sorrel herb and must be included in as great a quantity as possible in the decoctions." (emphasis added) Mali herself uses 100% root but it is still difficult to source Sheep sorrel root, so it is difficult to include that much for most people unless they grow their own. (It is easy to grow.)

Mali has now completed her thesis and made her findings on the key to what made Essiac so effective when Rene Caisse operated her Cancer clinic in the 1930s.  Coming available in softcover format from Blue Moon Herbs in the summer of 2018 is The Essiac Essentials Handbook.  Its here!!! As of May 15, 2018 we are so pleased to announce that the new book is off the press and available!!  They are really beautiful books, with full color illustrations throughout and if it is true that the best comes at the last, then this proves it out.  Mali Klein, thank you!

The Essiac Essentials Handbook is also currently available in English, French and German on Amazon, with excellent translations. The book illustrates how the Essiac formula was altered after Rene Caisse's death. The ebook even has an audio file of a telephone conversation between Dr. Charles Brusch and Sheila Snow wherein he confesses he does not know the Essiac formula. Mali makes a powerful case for formal research of the original Native American  8-herb Essiac formula (not to be confused with present-day 8-herb formulas on the market, which only have some of the right herbs). Lastly, this book really shows Mary's personality more than the earlier books have, and it is a delight to get to know Mary a little better inside these pages.

Mali Klein also released another ebook book in April 2017 - this one is available free of charge, just click on the link:  A Dangerous Sweetness.   It is the life story of her husband Gregory Klein. Much of the book is based on his memoirs covering growing up in Buffalo NY, service in the Marines in Viet Nam, being discharged as a disabled veteran, and his subsequent journey to becoming a Theravadan Buddhist monk and one of the first four to bring this form of Buddhism to the Western World. It also chronicles his service-based brain cancer diagnosis and the poignance of that lesson in impermanence.

Last but not least! Mali is coming back for another visit! ...And lo and behold, that time has arrived!  Mali will be here from May 28-June 3 and we're very excited to share the visit via video! Stay tuned as we visit about Essiac and contact us if you have something you'd like us to discuss.  Mali Klein is a living encyclopedia of Essiac knowledge and we encourage your questions!

Blue Moon Herbs – Part 2 – The Progression of “A Growing Idea”

Greetings all lovers of Essiac with Sheep sorrel roots included! It has been far too long since we came up for air and gave a progress report on our growing operations. (Click here for Part 1).  So, here goes:

Basically we have been digging Sheep sorrel roots since spring 2016 and only stopping when the ground freezes. It has been a long haul, but finally we have secured a couple good sources for organic Sheep sorrel root that we do not personally have to dig up ourselves!! We have gotten a great handful of local growers going too! I am very glad because it has been extremely hard to keep up with demand and keep our root content at 25%. Now we're in good shape for the forseeable future!

Spring 2016 - commercial source of Sheep sorrel root dries up 

Pacific Botanicals, our supplier, sold out and did not continue growing sorrel for a whole herb harvest and we began relying 100% on growing and harvesting all of our own. We got the Essiac Growers Guild going on Facebook, to encourage folks to grow their own Sheep sorrel and to find possible growers for Blue Moon Herbs. In the spring of 2016 we also lost the lease on our "North 40" Sheep sorrel beds just outside of town and had to move the plants we didn't harvest to other gardens around the area, mostly in Hot Springs, MT.

A fine crop of Sheep sorrel was also planted across the ocean by kindred souls and we will soon have beautiful organic German Sheep sorrel roots for our "Hands Across the Water" Essiac mix :). We have also secured certified organic Sheep sorrel root from this side of the ocean! Hallelleujah!!!!

We found an organic lavendar farm on the Olympic Peninsula. They had lots of volunteer Sheep sorrel and they began harvesting it for us in the summer of 2016. The stuff really grows out there where there is more moisture than here in Montana, and it was discovered that wood chips are the best mulch and produce fat beautiful roots that come out easy and clean!

We leased 1/2 acre of organic garden in Hot Springs MT in May 2017 that already had Sheep sorrel growing in it.  The driest summer since 1929 ensued. The grasshoppers turned the most lush early spring Sorrel beds into a wasteland. We planted more starts last fall and hope they come in good and that all those roots that were safely underground and away from the grasshoppers, are still there alive and well! Spring 2018 is predicted to be cool and rainy there so I've got my fingers crossed for a good year!

The most beautiful pristine mountain meadow was found in June 2017. It was full of sorrel! The owners gave us permission to dig and we drove over 100 miles one way to dig weekly all summer and fall. Our first time there we were greeted by two Sandhill Cranes which was pretty darn cool! The wild Sorrel there is very hardy and prolific though on the small side like wild Sorrel is and it takes a long time to harvest. However, more than making up for that was a hot springs just up the road for us to recuperate at. The forest fires kept us from getting up there for over three weeks. What a joy to have made the acquaintance of this place!

These are some of the highlights of the past two growing seasons. And now here it is almost March and time to start more Sheep sorrel! Happy growing, folks!

The Riddle of the Root in the Tea

Well here is some food for thought...The laws of supply and demand are by nature always playing catch-up, and right now that is happening with whole herb sheep sorrel. Awareness is really increasing about the central importance of sheep sorrel root in the Essiac formula, and more and more Essiac producers are being queried about whether they include the root, and how much compared to the arial parts. Still, almost no one can say they include any at all. They would have to grow their own sheep sorrel if they wanted roots. There are no commercial farms growing it for a whole plant or roots-only harvest at present.  

At Blue Moon Herbs, we always did find a way to have at least 10% sheep sorrel root in our Essiac formula. We wildcrafted in the earliest years, and started growing our own sheep sorrel in 2013. That way, if our commercial source ran out, we would still have our own sheep sorrel root.  Fast forward to fall 2015 and that very scenario played out. I got the official word that our commercial source was sold out, and their back-up source had had a drought-related crop failure. It was just in time for our first harvest from our Prize Bed out at the North 40 - the Long and Winding Row (300 feet long half-buried hugelkultur bed with drip lines). And then, I got the word that we would have to dig up our whole crop this spring because the land it was on was going up for sale.  

Providence seemed to be ringing in with the new year, when I learned of a beautiful piece of property for lease that would be perfect to move the sorrel to, along with our six slippery elm trees.  It had beautiful deep top soil and deer fence around 20 acres, with irrigation...just minutes from town. A bright flare of "Oh, this is  going to be EASY!" sputtered out when they decided not to lease the property. Then...another late January OMG moment as I thought I had found the dream plot of land.  Just a few minutes out of town, lake view, trees all around (it was a former Christmas tree farm that had had the center harvested out).  But no.......

So. Plan C. Third try is a charm.  Life is about the world of Essiac, that means Essiac caregivers, making the tea for friends and family unable to do it, Essiac at the local Farmers' the tea houses...available for all who wanted to take it. A group working together could supply the tea needs of their whole area. Some folks growing the herbs, some making the tea, some showing others how, and everyone benefitting in myriad ways. The theme at the center of it all is this herb sheep sorrel. It welcomes a challenge. It volunteers freely of itself! The pioneers keep life going and sheep sorrel is often the first on the scene, later leaving just as it arrived, all together, all at once, work done.  A Guild - creating and strengthening the vital connections that support a healthy, thriving community. Whether it is a family of plants that grows together, each providing properties valuable to optimal survival for all, or a group of people with a common passion to create a beautiful community.02-ssorrel-yellow-fill

For about a year now we've had a Facebook group called the Essiac Growers Guild. It is a vehicle for sharing info and ideas about growing the Essiac herbs. Now it is happening on the ground! The Greater Flathead Valley Essiac Growers Guild.  At present, membership is open to anyone willing to participate by sharing what they are doing - whether it is growing one small bed for personal use or contract growing for Blue Moon Herbs, to all points in between. As there is just one Chapter at this point, anyone on Planet Earth can join our Chapter. That's the 'Greater' part of our name. 🙂 We've gotten together a core group of people and gardens here in the Flathead area and a couple locations in Washington and in several other Montana towns. We will help each other while we have fun and make friends and it will 'grow' from there!

We encourage friends to get together for a potluck over this and consider forming your own local sister Essiac Growers' Guild. Signing up for the newsletters on the website or signing up for the Essiac Growers Guild on Facebook is the best way to follow what's happening. Feel free to contact us by email or phone at (406) 883-0110.  

Our website would love to put up links for other sheep sorrel growers or Essiac producers that are following our same standards! Our standards, in a nutshell, are to grow organically on clean soil without any chemicals and in as pristine an environment as possible. To keep gardening data, to take care of weeding and watering while the beds become established, and to treat the plants with respect and friendlinessVersion 2.

For those making Essiac, the standards are found in the research and writings of Sheila Snow and/or Mali Klein, and Mary McPherson's affidavit.  The sheep sorrel portion of the Essiac formula should include at least 10% root..and the more the better.

So, in the vein of the Riddle of the Root, we announce the evolution of the root we make the switch from commercially sourced to our own Montana grown sheep sorrel! The sheep sorrel content in our Essiac is now 25% root, down from a high of 65% in 2015...... and up from the 10-20% of pre-2013...for only three out of the past eight years has there been a commercial source for certified organic whole herb sheep sorrel. From late 2013 through early 2016 we have been blessed with a commercial source, and have been able to offer wholesale and the larger sizes and other bargains... and high sheep sorrel root content. Now the cycle is going the other way again. But this time, it is a new game, with more players!  

Conclusion 1: There is no higher quality whole herb sheep sorrel than organically grown, hand-weeded and hand-harvested sustainably. There is precious little of it being produced in this way that money can even buy. There is not really even a very robust supply of sheep sorrel arial parts in the US. Thankfully, though, sheep sorrel is not endangered or a problem weed, it's easy to grow, and volunteers freely in all 50 US states and most of the world...this supply and demand problem will work its solution 🙂 Labor of love = highest quality = a joy to provide = people who want to be a part of that.

Sheep sorrel on the Falkland Islands!

Sheep sorrel on the Falkland Islands!

Conclusion 2: There is no easy way to equal the quantity of whole herb sheep sorrel that can be produced commercially with that produced intensively and on a smaller scale. Unless a lot of small-scale growers work together to make it happen. This is our mission, to do all we can to see if that can work!

It would be wonderful to see larger-scale production of sheep sorrel herb for the root too and it would be really great to have larger producers participate in the Guild and share their knowledge and ideas.

In search of the holy grail of economy of scale!  And sticking with our standards from day one - sheep sorrel roots in the formula, the highest quantity and quality, from us to you.  

Happy spring! Enjoy your Made in Montana Essiac!


The Vision Quest, Unfolding

Its not an easy thing writing about the vision quest retreat I took part in last June, at Grandmother Isabelle's in Northern Ontario.  It marked the beginning of a new way of understanding the world....that just keeps unfolding.  Well, it wasn't really the 'beginning' and I'm pretty sure there's not going to really be an 'end' either. The sky, the sun making a trail across it, as witnessed in silent awe. The vision quest brought to me my voice in a new way and I am obliged to speak. One place for that has been our Facebook group the Essiac Growers Guild. This is the unabridged version of my most recent post.

Here is the Vision:  Locally grown whole herb sheep sorrel, for locally produced Essiac, available in dry form or made up by local Essiac caregivers for home delivery, the farmers' market, local health food stores and eateries, CSA boxes, and good research on the herbs in combination like Rene Caisse worked with them. Jobs for growers and wild-harvesters, tea-makers, care-givers, local money staying in town.  A healthy community, vibrant in its ability to make the very most of its own resources for the benefit of all. Less pollution from long-distance hauling of foods that can be grown locally.

The  Essiac Growers Guild is getting ready to 'grow 'its first chapter here in Montana's Flathead Valley. We will share our know-how and expertise and stay true to the historically accurate info about the herbs and how they were used, for a greater good.  Whether its planting a small bed or getting the truck garden tractor out, all are welcome to be a part of this.  Spring is coming, and sooner than it takes to plant a flat of sorrel we will be meeting down at Mrs. Wonderful's Marmalade Cafe for our first get together.  Join us if you can, or if you don't live in the area, contact us if you'd like to do the same thing in your area.

There is a market for whole herb sheep sorrel. The best Essiac in the world is small-scale, locally produced, including the whole sheep sorrel plant. There will always be a market for whole herb sheep sorrel because it makes a huge difference in Essiac, and the importance of it is now finally really getting out. Essiac is becoming more and more well known. It's been recommended by Hoxsey, Gerson, and Budwig practitioners as a great adjunct to their therapies. And its 100+ year long anecdotal record proves it worthy of the respect.

But you can't buy it anywhere! The problem is that whole herb sheep sorrel is not being grown commercially. Anywhere in the world.  Another 'problem' is that demand for herbs has skyrocketed in the past few years.

And it is easy to grow! Sheep sorrel is easy to grow. Although it prefers a more northern climate, it grows in all 50 states here in the US.  It's native to Europe. Sheep sorrel met up with slippery elm, an American native, after arriving in the feed on the boats from Europe some several hundred years ago.  Therefore, the people who were here already are the ones who first created this formula. Thank you Native America!  And thank you for sharing it with the English woman who gave it to Rene Caisse. The thread has not been broken and there is a treasure connected to it.

Would you like to be part of a positive vision? If you are interested in being part of our collaboration - think WikiMedia - for really getting this right and creating a knowledge base about growing these herbs, harvesting, and/or working with the Essiac formulae, please contact us.

"I have always known that at last I would take this road, but yesterday I did not know that it would be today.” —Japanese Haiku

A Canadian Adventure – Part Two – Coming Back to Bracebridge

December 3, 2015: Summer is now just a memory and winter seems to have moved in overnight. Its taken six months since we approached Bracebridge, in Part 1, to finally pull into town.... fitting metaphor for how time seems to have been flying by this year.

Thank you Rene!

Rene Caisse on the doorstep of her Essiac Cancer Clinic, c. 1930s.

The Lee Building, 2012

The Lee Building, 2012

It was wonderful to come back to Bracebridge. This was my second trip. I retraced the steps of the prior visit, going to pay my respects at Rene Caisse's grave, and visiting the site of the Rene M. Caisse Cancer Clinic, now called the Lee Building. I visited with the secretary in what is now law offices, but there was no trace of the former clinic ever having been right in that exact same spot.

For the first time I was able to visit the Rene M. Caisse Memorial Theatre Exhibit. Rene M. Caisse Memorial Theatre exhibit 2015I took over 1000 photos of what Bracebridge still has in its Essiac archives, both in the Town's vaults and the Bracebridge Public Library's Archives. Over the coming months they will begin to populate our very own 'virtual' Rene Caisse Room!

I loved going for a healthy bite to eat at the "Deli Lama" at Muskoka Natural Foods, and met many friends old and new. I learned that Rene's statue had been very purposely located right where patients seeking Nurse Caisse's "Essiac" treatments had been instructed to "cross the bridge and then turn left" - her clinic was just a block away. They called it the Bridge of Hope.

My 2012 visit happened in the fall, the maple leaves were beautiful!  This time the scenery was late Spring at its finest, and 100% delightful.  I stayed at the Inn at the Falls, just a block away from the former Clinic, on Dominion Street. The nice woman at the front desk, Judith, put me in touch with local historian Ken Veitch, who was the most gracious, helpful host and guide to all things Rene Caisse and Essiac that I could have ever dreamed of!

And then, after just a few short days of exploring and researching, it was already my last night in town. As I sat under a full moon on a little bench outside the old clinic, I wondered how it must have felt for patients to find the door locked when the Clinic closed for the last time in 1941.  I thought, wouldn't it be great if that door could be once more unlocked...a small garden with the herbs growing by the bench...and the Rene Caisse Memorial Room restored to its former glory... in the most fitting home I could ever imagine (just turn left at the statue) 🙂

There are still many people in Bracebridge who remember Rene Caisse, love her and are very loyal to her memory. But many younger people don't remember, and one wonders, what will happen in just a few more decades when there will be no one left that lived during Rene Caisse's actual lifetime (1888-1978)? Rene and Essiac will not be forgotten in Bracebridge. But will the few boxes of papers and memorabilia (mostly out of sight) be enough to ensure her legacy goes on in a lasting or meaningful way?

Sheila Snow, Mary McPherson and Kay Beers

Sheila Snow, Mary McPherson and Kay Beers at the opening of the Rene Caisse Memorial Room

The Rene Caisse Memorial Room was opened in 1995 and from what I can tell, it remained open for a little over a decade.  I believe the Woodchester Villa, where the exhibit was housed, suffered weather-related damage a few years ago, and it was announced  that the Rene Caisse exhibits had been moved to the Rene M. Caisse Memorial Theatre. I was thrilled to see the exhibits on display this trip, but I couldn't help but note that the display was a lot smaller. Mali Klein had shot video of it in the late 1990s, and it occupied several rooms then. Now, three shelves in a display case. In a  recent local write-up on the renovations it appears that it has not yet been decided what to do next at Woodchester Villa... but Rene Caisse and Essiac do not seem to be part of their plans.Screen Shot 2015-12-04 at 1.11.48 AM


Ken Veitch and Bracebridge Town Clerk, 2015

Ken Veitch was the Bracebridge Town Clerk for more than 30 years.  He knew Mary McPherson well and was there when she signed her affidavit making the Essiac formula public. mary mcpherson signing Essiac affidavitKen's Grandmother benefitted from Essiac treatments with Nurse Caisse. Ken was very generous with his time and arranged for my access to the City's Essiac Archives.  He also introduced me to several other local residents with links to the history, and made my visit to Bracebridge a learning journey extroidinaire. Ken is a first-class researcher and indexer and has written several local history books.

How does one preserve a legacy? Books, statues, museum exhibits....the best legacy is a living one I believe.  I think it would do Rene's heart good to see so many people using and benefitting from Essiac today.  It would sure be great to see something more lasting and well-curated going on with what is left of the history in Bracebridge, though.

My time in Bracebridge seemed so short..and then it was time to head for "the Bush" - Northern Ontario. Vision Quest time. Back to the source, where the original Native American formula emerged into the modern world in the late 1800s.  The adventure continues....

The Snow/Klein Essiac books – a brief history of “The Essiac Trilogy”

The 'old' Essiac Trilogy! These books are a must-read for any serious student of Essiac literature. Screen Shot 2015-11-27 at 12.29.06 AM

Back in 2010 this website was called, and we were selling the last copies of  the three books that came out of the Sheila Snow and Mali Klein collaboration:  Essiac Essentials (Sheila Snow/Mali Klein, 1999, 135 p.)Essiac the Secrets of Rene Caisse's Herbal Pharmacy (Sheila Snow/Mali Klein, 2001, 180 p.); and The Essiac Book (Mali Klein, 2006, 128 p.). We dubbed it the Essiac Trilogy. The first two books were already out of print, but easy to acquire used, and there were still some new copies of The Essiac Book available...but soon to also go out of print.  Searching for a way to keep providing the Snow/Klein books to the public, I was able to contact Mali Klein...

A year later, The Complete Essiac Essentials was born out of a collaboration between myself (Debbie Jakovac) and Mali to combine the best of the earlier books all into one capstone volume.  And then in 2014, Black Root Medicine, the Original Native American Essiac Formula came out as Mali Klein's focus of research turned to the original 8-herb formula.

There is more yet to come! Stay tuned!

A Canadian Journey – Part One – Back to the Source… by train!

THIS is part one of the story of a journey. The underlying theme is Essiac but it is about the journey, too. Hope you enjoy it. Part one involves hot springs, Jasper National Park, and a cross-country tour by rail through the middle of Canada. The journey begins with Polson Montana in the rearview mirror, heads north through British Columbia and Alberta, then east through Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and finally into the giant province of Ontario. The journey continues by car from Sudbury to Bracebridge, Rene Caisse's home town, where Canadian Journey Part two -  Coming Back to Bracebridge - will share some brand new insights and perspective, along with the first of 1000+ photos of what Bracebridge collectively still has of the history of their very own citizen, Rene Caisse,  who gave us Essiac, and whose legacy continues on. Canadian Journey Part Three will be about the Vision Quest and fast held at Grandma Isabelle's, up in the north, land of the Black Fly and the Mosquito, the Bear, the Sandhill Crane, the Loon, and Many Many Others. Canadian Journey Part Four has a hard act to follow! My life has changed profoundly. Part four will be about the future.

The intention of this trip was taking journey back to the source.  Again and again history came alive for me... when going through the old newspaper clippings, photos, documents and other history, it almost felt like those times were now…I sat on the bench outside Rene's Clinic door and imagined how many people had come through that door ("Cross the bridge and turn left.."). Now the treatment rooms are apartments. The Inn I stayed at in Bracebridge is famous for being full of ghosts…although I did not see any.  And then there was the long wait at the deserted train station/museum in Staples, MN, echoing with the traces of the many travelers who had passed through there in the heyday of passenger train travel in the US. Let's bring it back! Tell Congress to fund Amtrak!

'Back to the source' in the case of the Essiac herbs in its deepest sense means Northern Ontario, and the people who used these herbs since way before Rene Caisse came along. I was very honored to take part in a Vision Quest and Fast retreat right there where it all began.

There I was - 'All Aboard!'...My journey began with a drive up to Jasper, Alberta from Montana, to hop the train east!

Fairmont Hot Springs in BC was halfway from Polson to the train station in Jasper, and it was really great to soak and let it sink in..the adventure is begun! Kimberly Erickson, Blue Moon Herbs/ Order Fulfillment Expert and Rental Car Returner, was also very happy to be 'along for the ride' 🙂 The following day, Jasper National Park and the Icefield highway made for an amazing drive. The roads were bare and the place was deserted! Jasper Nat'l Park


The train arrived on time at Jasper, just when we pulled up! (70 hrs. later my train would finally roll into Sudbury Jct...) Whew, made it! We had gotten a late start due to trying to figure out airplane mode and international texting and as we gazed into the little cell phone screens, time marched right on...and then we needed divine intervention to get the car to start! (It worked!) All in all it was an extremely scenic and enjoyable, albeit fast-paced get-me-to-the-station-on-time kind of drive to the train stop. 🙂

And then, in fairly short order, I was headed eastward, back on a train for the first time in 22 years. I was very surprised to see no mountains after just a few hours, and although I didn't realize it at the time, it would be the last mountains I'd see until I was home again..I guess Montana people think everyone has mountains.. well, if you are from western Montana...:)  Although the landscapes I saw were very beautiful, it is good to be home again to my landscape.

The Canadian train is called ViaRail. Their cars are one-story, except for the observation car. The food is good and not too expensive either and the fare is very reasonable especially converting from US dollars. It was really fun making friends with some of the passengers.  When you are going by rail, its best to not be fixated on arriving on time! We were 15 hours behind by the time we got to Sudbury Jct.

It was great seeing the country in the spring  - Manitoba must grow enough grain to feed a big chunk of the world! Canadian Prairie - ManitobaBut it was a little unsettling for ye olde Western Montanan to gaze into the distance and see a mirage of mountains that upon closer scrutiny were just my brain not computing properly~!

There must still be a lot of uncharted territory in Canada. The allure of Canadian rail travel began when I discovered that there actually is a train called the Polar Express!  It goes up to Moosonee, at the bottom of James Bay, 100 miles past where any roads go!  Other than Edmonton, Saskatoon, Winnipeg and then at long last Sudbury Junction, there really aren't too many population centers…and north of the country we passed through -  the Northwest Territories and the Yukon.."the Bush" - what would it be like to live there? I think about how I love to climb all the way to the tops of mountains and wonder how that would translate to a land like this.  Would trying to reach the edge of the horizon in a sweeping place like this..cause one to lose their mind? See, you can daydream about this kind of stuff when on a train.DSCN5843Once into Ontario, things really got minimal - many stretches of no cell phone service, no stops with real stations.. at long last I was off the Hotel California Train.  And my luggage, too 🙂 Got my rental car the next morning and set out for Bracebridge by way of North Bay, where Rene lived with her husband Charles McGaughey, in the 1940s. I did get a glimpse of the water--lots of water out here! And the Canadian Shield really starts showing through along the roads. DSCN5868

Before I knew it ---- next stop Bracebridge!! DSCN5874Stay tuned for Canadian Adventure - Part Two - Coming Back to Bracebridge!