Essiac tea with Sheep Sorrel roots included!


Growing Slippery Elm

It's summer!!!  By definition, gardens should be planted by now, unless you are like me and have bitten off a lot this year so are behind!  We got 300 feet worth of hugelkultur beds planted with Sheep the meantime I planted a lot of tomatos that are still patiently awaiting life in the field.. but I digress.  This post is about our friend Slippery elm (Ulmus rubra). Read More →

Video of Mary McPherson making Essiac!

I just found this, thank you Victoria for telling me about it!  This bit of video of Mary McPherson making Essiac has surfaced, and is well worth the watch.  Only 8 mins. long, and some change.  Enjoy!

An April afternoon at the Place of Gathering

We've just made our first foray of the spring out to the Place of Gathering, up at Dayton MT, one of a few different places where we'll be growing the Essiac herbs! It hasn't greened up a lot yet, but my favorite six months of the year officially began today! The Place of Gathering has great energy and Dayton is always so sunny.

We will be direct-seeding Sheep sorrel within a few weeks, if spring decides to stick around. I started Burdock in seed trays and will transplant it out there. Ditto on Turkey rhubarb. I am planting a veritable grove's worth of Slippery elm seeds, and they will probably stay in their pots for at least a year. This year I am soaking the seeds for 24 hrs. before planting. Update:  They are planted, but what a soggy mess..I took "soak" literally. But when they dried off it was as if they'd never gotten wet.

Horizon Herbs has Slippery elm seedlings! Read More →

Growing and wildcrafting the Essiac herbs, Part 2

Part one of this series was posted in April 2013, and the very next day we got ten inches of snow. Fast forward to Feb. 2014.  This keeps happening.  I have been remiss on updating! Now that spring 2014's official start is just weeks away, Montana is again playing catch-up on snow.  When other parts of the US were getting blanketed from the Polar Vortex, we had blue skies and no snow…now we are getting 'Vortexed' too.

Last April ended up with a total of three of the year's largest snowfalls but the Sheep sorrel didn't mind one bit.  The Slippery elm went on to grow a LOT inside my greenhouse, which will be getting moved this spring so the two trees I planted in the ground inside can keep growing!    Growing and wildcrafting blog #1 featured the first bud on a sapling the deer had nibbled down on my porch the previous fall. Below is a time lapse:

Slippery elm, from early April to late April to June to October, from one bud to almost six feet tall!

Slippery elm, from early April to late April to June to October, from one bud to almost six feet tall!

In photo #2 you will note the very friendly Burdock 'companion' plant.  It wanted to take over and had to be 'un-friended'. Other Slippery elm youngsters were 'farmed' out to spend the winter in a nursery bed outside.  Once it stops snowing, I will be out to check on them and I hope they fared ok this winter.  They were mulched with straw.DSCN3864

The Sheep sorrel took very nicely to growing in a Hugelkultur bed, a six foot tall raised bed full of rotting wood that supplies nutrients and moisture for a long time, and which plants love!  This idea was the brainchild of Sepp Holzer. Go to for more info, and check out the arial view of the farm just below Sepp's picture on the Home page - it is one of two permaculture farms that we will be growing the Essiac herbs at - called The Place of Gathering. Good folks! Montana's Flathead Valley is full of innovative ideas like this.  It is a wonderful place to be.

2014 marks planting Sheep sorrel and the other herbs on a bigger scale than before.  We have sold a lot of Essiac Seed Kits.  I am not too active on Facebook but I see how it can work to put people and ideas together, and would be a good way for us to all share our growing experiences.  So, welcome to the Essiac Growers Guild, or EGG, which has just been 'hatched', haha. It's an open group, all welcome!

Before we know it it's going to be greening up again - I for one am looking forward to that!



Introducing the Ultimate Essiac!

Note - February 2014 update:  For 'the rest of the story' read on as we describe how we have tailored our Essiac herbal blend to be the highest quality, most potent Essiac available on the market. Or, to order click here.

From November 2013:

Its hard to believe November is packing its bags already! In about six weeks it'll be 2014, and another new year will have been rung in.

Last summer we began to offer a version of Essiac that hasn't been on the market for a long time - Read More →

Notes from Essiac Master Class 2, October 2013 – and a tour of Yellowstone Park

October 2013 has come and gone.  Like October '12, it was full of activity here at ReneCaisseTea and all about Essiac! Once again we sponsored Mali Klein, author of The Complete Essiac Essentials and the forthcoming book Black Root Medicine: The Original Native American Essiac Formula, for this year's Essiac Master Class 2 - Surviving Cancer.  Again, it was in Missoula Montana and, again, it was so much more than what any of us could have imagined.  Each year there are new friends made and continuing connections that just keep growing stronger!  We already have next year's class planned for Saturday, October 11, 2014: Essiac Master Class Part 3 - Black Root Medicine at the Open Way Mindfulness Center, Missoula, Montana.  So, mark your calendars to learn first-hand more about this herbal remedy that has been with us now for over 100 years…and hear what Mali will be saying as Black Root Medicine: The Original Native American Essiac Formula comes off the press. And gosh, it's about a lot more than Essiac.


A few highlights from Master Class 2013:

  • In France, the standard Western medicine cancer protocols allow for beginning with radiation and chemo followed by surgery, rather than performing surgery first.  This lets the other therapies kick in first, knocking the cancer back before surgically removing it. Many French medical doctors are trained in homeopathy as well as allopathy.
  • There is too much positive anecdotal evidence not to justify lab testing of the Essiac formulae, using top quality herbs and including the proper ingredients - something which has, to date, never been done.
  • Rene Caisse first worked with the original 8-herb Native American formula, but she subsequently discontinued using all eight herbs once the four-herb Essiac was refined for use on a large scale. The original indigenous formula had quite an amazing track record and has not been reproduced since 1926.
  • You should harvest Burdock root in its first year as it gets woody after that.  If you plant in the fall, you can go beyond a year until harvesting if you dig it before the spring growth has gotten underway, in the second spring.
  • Greater Periwinkle can be identified by the small 'hairs' along the edge of its leaves.
  • When harvesting Sheep sorrel stems and leaves, do so on a dry day and don't wash them.
  • Life is about making it count, with or without a cancer diagnosis! We are all here with a mission and we are here to do it well.
  • Connecting to the power of your intention with a higher consciousness using the power of prayer can have a profound effect on a prognosis. The power of thought can be more powerful than the spoken word.


October '12 began with a trip to Bracebridge, Ontario, Rene Caisse's hometown. This year we stayed closer to Montana, visiting Yellowstone Park just a day after it re-opened following the Federal government shutdown. It was practically deserted and what a great time to visit.

Yellowstone is the nation's oldest national park, and was established in 1872, "For the Benefit and the Enjoyment of the People." Nice concept and a good motto to take to heart perhaps for other matters of State. 🙂

Most of the Park is one huge volcano with Yellowstone Lake in the caldera's center.  The Yellowstone Caldera was created 640,000 years ago, with two even larger super-eruptions before that, the biggest one being 2.1 million years ago and producing 2,500 times as much ash as Mt. St. Helens did in 1980.  I remember when that event occurred - St. Helens, that is, ha ha.  It laid down several inches of ash in Helena, Montana, which was nearly 700 miles to the east!  That multiplied by 2,500 times is truly unimaginable.

There haven't been any huge eruptions since 174,000 years ago, but here's what Wikipedia has to say about the magma chamber just below the Yellowstone caldera's surface:  "According to the analysis of earthquake data in 2013, magma chamber is 80 kilometres long and 20 kilometres wide, and is …. thought to be the largest magma chamber in existence on Earth."  

Its quite a place. Glad I finally got back to Yellowstone, its been far too long. What amazing power below our feet, up there right on top of a sleeping giant!

Apparently the grizzly bears thought the spectators were all gone, because they were out and we were so lucky to see two of them!  The weather was beautiful... pictures below. Enjoy!

Welcome to the North Entrance of Yellowstone

Welcome to the North Entrance of Yellowstone

Yellowstone hot springs

Yellowstone hot springs - Midway and Lower Geyser Basin


Canyon Falls

Lower Falls - near Canyon Village - 308 feet




Bald Eagle near West Entrance

Bald Eagle near West Entrance


Old Faithful!

Old Faithful!


Mammoth Hot Springs

Mammoth Hot Springs


Boiling Mud Pots, Midway and Lower Geyser Basin

Boiling Mud Pots, Midway and Lower Geyser Basin

The 370-foot-wide and 121-foot-deep Grand Prismatic Spring, the largest hot spring in Yellowstone.

The 370-foot-wide and 121-foot-deep Grand Prismatic Spring, the largest hot spring in Yellowstone.



200-by-300-foot-wide Excelsior Geyser which pours over 4,000 gallons per minute into the Firehole River.

200-by-300-foot-wide Excelsior Geyser which pours over 4,000 gallons per minute into the Firehole River.



A Grizzly!

Go Griz!


Essiac Master Class Part 2 – Meet us in Missoula!

 An invitation to Essiac Master Class Part 2

Surviving Cancer.

The Open Way - 702 Brooks St.

Missoula, Montana

October 12-13, 2013

A Workshop with Mali Klein, author of

The Complete Essiac Essentials 

And Debbie Jakovac


In Part 2 of the Essiac Master Class, author and researcher Mali Klein will discuss the importance of the original Native American eight-herb formula that Canadian Nurse Rene Caisse used to develop her Essiac therapy made famous in the Bracebridge Cancer Clinic in the 1930’s.  She will describe her experiences working with cancer patients over the past two decades and consider the relevance of the Essiac remedy in treatment programs today.

After writing four books on Essiac, Mali Klein now looks back to the time before Rene Caisse and before this tea became known as Essiac.  The earliest records begin with an English woman in a mining camp in northern Ontario in the late 1800s.  She received a gift from a medicine man that she  passed on to Rene Caisse twenty-some years later. Mali has some practical and insightful perspective to share about the original eight-herb formula and its relevance in today's world. She has been researching and writing about Essiac since 1993 and is also curator of the world’s largest body of Essiac history, the Sheila Snow Fraser Essiac Archive collection.

Black Root Medicine, the Original Native American Essiac Formula breaks new ground and will be a complete departure from the earlier books on Rene Caisse and Essiac.

This master class is designed for professionals and laypersons, patients and doctors alike.  It’s for anyone who wishes to learn more about this remedy from the last living link to Rene Caisse, a well-liked and widely-respected source of Essiac knowledge, Mali Klein.

Mali teaches one master class per year, and true to the intended meaning of ‘master class’, no videotaping will be allowed in order that she may speak candidly.


Growing and Harvesting the Essiac Herbs, for ourselves, our communities and for the future  

Mali Klein founded Clouds Trust in the UK and has been growing and harvesting the Essiac herbs continually for the past nineteen years. Debbie Jakovac is the owner and operator of and has been involved with wild-harvesting and growing the Essiac herbs since 2007.  She has been involved in all aspects of running a small business geared towards making the Essiac herbs available commercially. She is currently researching a model for local and regional production of the herbs that will facilitate a marriage of the best of medium-scale commercial organic farming and smaller-scale production utilizing permaculture principles.

The model anticipates creating a bioregional Essiac Growers Guild network that will ultimately build community, create a niche for small-time entrepreneurs and help keep quality Essiac and other herbal remedies widely available.

Hugelkultur bed!

Hugelkultur raised bed - Permaculture design

Open to all, attendance at Essiac Master Class Part 1 is not required.

Click here to register online. 

Or, call (406) 883-0110

Hope to see you there!


"Thank you for a wonderful class. There is such a feeling of getting back to the roots. ha ha. That tea spirit was swimming around inside and I realized how this modern life (caffeine, thousands of supplements, encapsulated "herbal' products etc etc) override the power of the plant. I myself barely take the time.?Thank you for providing all of that."  S.L., 2012 Master Class attendant


Introducing a new cup of tea!

We're so pleased to announce that we finally have found a source for organically grown whole herb Sheep sorrel! Historically, there has been virtually no commercial source for whole herb Sheep sorrel. Even the wildcrafted root is not for sale anywhere. The arial parts of the plant are fairly readily available, but neither sheep sorrel roots nor  the whole herb, including roots,  has basically ever been commercially available anywhere.  It's labor-intensive to harvest commercially, and since harvest wipes out the crop, it has to be re-planted, and can effectively only be harvested once a year at best. It really doesn't pencil out for commercial farms to grow it.

With much gratitude we wish to send a Big Thank You! to Read More →

Going local

"You can help save the environment with your spoon and fork. You can actually stop big-agribusiness and build a better world by eating right."  This was a line in an ad for the upcoming  2013 Food Revolution Summit.  Its from April 27-May 5. its online and free, and has a lot of interesting folks presenting.

I really liked the connection that statement made.  Eat right (I would define this as eating local, organic, whole foods.) and you become healthier while at the same time supporting the local economy, making new friends and being part of the greater good.

My number one reason for eating mostly organic is that is is guaranteed non-genetically modified (GMO free), plus organic foods taste better and last longer.  I believe  organic can help those that eat them last longer too 🙂 There are deleterious effects from GM on not just insects and weeds but humans and the environment as a whole and I've read enough that I know I want to avoid foods with GM ingredients.

This is no easy thing when eating out. Just as one example, most likely the chips at Mexican restaurants in the US are all GM corn. The odds are some form of GM corn is in the fine print on any US - made packaged cracker or cookie that's not organic or certified GMO-free. What better reason to avoid all of this junk food!

State governments don't legislate controls that would at least require labeling, because of the powerful lobby from Big Agra. The Non-GMO Project is a voluntary program that provides labeling to show that manufacturers have verified that their products are GMO-free.

I love it when restaurants use locally grown vegetables!  It would be great to have organic dishes on the menus.  Even though it costs more, I for one would pay more for it at a restaurant.  But .. most of the time we can be spending our food dollars with more awareness and creativity at a grocery store or farmers' market.  We can be growing our own food and perfecting the slow food movement of home-made meals and simplicity.

Its time to get back to the garden. The Essiac herbs are part of an amazing range of foods you can grow, even if your garden is tiny and in containers. Guaranteed best produce:  home-grown, or bought locally, GM-free and organic.

And so I say, find some Good Seeds and plant a garden! And support your local farmers' markets!

Coming next:  Part 2 - Growing and Wildcrafting the Essiac herbs...Oh No Snow

When its springtime in the Rockies – Growing and wildcrafting the Essiac herbs, Part 1

April already! really??? Cool! This is the time of planting seeds, digging sheep sorrel root, and reveling in the warmth and wonderful earthy smells in the greenhouse here at Rene Caisse!

Trillium - first blooms 2013

Trillium - first blooms 2013

This marks our first spring for growing the Essiac herbs in Montana.  A year ago April was also busy..I was the sprout-grower for a two-week intensive permaculture design course given by Michael "Skeeter" Pilarski, a well-known and much respected elder in the network of herbalists/permaculturists in the Northwest.  I was somewhat familiar with permaculture and wanted to learn more and apply the principles to Essiac, growing the herbs as part of a complete symbiotic system. I got way more out of it than that.  Permaculture is a way of life, of living in the world in such a way that interconnected relationships create a sustainable whole.  It can be applied to gardening but much more, including building and community design and even school curricula and other structures. Its about caring for the earth, caring for the people, and reinvesting the surplus created by this caring.  There is a great YouTube video presented by Toby Hemmenway, author of Gaia's Garden called Redesigning Civilization With Permaculture, for further info on permaculture.

It was quite an indoctrination making LOTS of sprouts at the permaculture training, but I did manage to learn a lot at the classes too.  After the training, I moved into my new house, and although I would have loved to have begun transforming my yard from turf to a permaculture paradise, I was just a tetch short on time, energy, and money...summer was upon us in no time. However, not to worry..a central tenet of permaculture  is 'observe'.  I put this to work, planning the layout and design for growing the herbs this spring.  The beginnings are humble, but the endeavor is officially underway~ growing medicinal herbs in the Flathead Valley!

There were a number of potted Sheep sorrel and Slippery elm plants started mid-season that wintered over nicely. I covered them all with straw in the greenhouse last fall.   Sheep sorrel doesn't mind freezing, but Slippery elm babies do seem to not handle it too well.. They appear to have overwintered just fine, though, plus it was a pretty mild winter. Most remained in their pots, but I actually planted a few Slippery elm saplings from Horizon Herbs, right in the ground, inside the greenhouse. I will move the greenhouse when alpha elm gets too big - along with the Pau d'Arco and Moringa trees I can't resist trying to grow here in the "banana belt" of Montana.  There is a fine three-story botanical garden at the U of Montana in Missoula, where they can go live should they need more room, like in the Rocky Horror Picture Show or  I believe the Slippery elm will take to living out in Montana just fine, though.

I had tried to grow Slippery elm in Idaho.  Its hardiness is to -40 F. but we put the saplings out too soon, and they froze.  Adequate mulching seems to be the ticket, until they are big enough to overwinter with grace. The largest specimen was doing really well in a pot on my porch last fall, and then the deer nibbled on it -rrr....but its still alive 🙂


First leaf of spring, Slippery elm in Montana!

It dropped its leaves, which is what they do in the fall anyway, and I've been waiting all winter to see  - is it alive??? .. I'm tickled to announce, the buds are forming!  I just discovered the first leaf today! Its a good thing to plant Slippery elm, since it is such great medicine, and its numbers could use reinforcement since so many died of Dutch Elm disease and over-harvesting in the past 40 or so years.


Burdock at the base of a naked Slippery elm.

Here is the full picture of the Slippery elm with the first leaf - as you can see, it and Burdock are friends!







All of the Sheep sorrel wintered over just fine. Below is a picture showing how much variety there can be between plants, depending on soil and other regional variations - all are rumex acetosella.  

Variety is the spice of life - all Rumex acetosella

Variety is the spice of life - all Rumex acetosella

Its also wildcrafting time for Sheep sorrel.  I have found a nice patch not far from here, and was out last week digging some.  It was wonderful being in the sun, with hands in the earth!  This time of year, Rene Caisse used to use the whole plant.  As you can see below, the new growth, being pretty tiny yet, is no doubt packed with nutrients!  Total time spent about 5-6 hrs., for 1.2 oz. root 🙂  There are worse jobs 🙂 The most time-consuming part is cleaning the root, to separate out the other materials like fine grass roots.  Its interesting to note that when Sheep sorrel is growing in a field, the grasses will compete with it and it seems to adapt by putting out lots of fine 'hairs' that mimic the grass roots, leveling the playing field so to speak.

Sheep sorrel, before cleaning

Sheep sorrel, before cleaning








...and after cleaning

...and after cleaning




Spring Sheep sorrel after drying

...and after drying - 1.2 oz.

I joined the United Plant Savers today!  Slippery elm is one of the native medicinal plants they are working with.  Their mission:  "to ensure the perpetuation of important medicinal plants and their native habitat so that when future generations of plant lovers walk upon this planet, they, too, will know and appreciate the medicines of their ancestors and the healing power that grows from the heart of the earth."

And so it goes..installment one of a growing story!  I know a lot of you are also doing the same thing, judging by our Essiac seed kit sales!  I would LOVE to hear how your growing experiences are going.

Earth laughs in flowers.~ Ralph Waldo Emerson