The Essiac Handbook
This handbook is dedicated to the Native American herbalists and elders whose wisdom and
understanding of nature led to the development of the Rene Caisse herbal formula known as
This handbook is also dedicated to Dr. Gary L. Glum, whose courageous struggle let the
knowledge of Essiac be known to us.
Rene Caisse was a nurse in Canada. In 1923 she observed that one of her doctor's patients, a
woman with terminal cancer, made a complete recovery. Inquiring into the matter, Rene found
that the woman had cured herself with an herbal remedy which was given to her by an Ojibway
indian herbalist. Rene visited the medicine man, and he gladly and freely presented her with his
tribe's formula. He explained that the Ojibway used their herbal remedy for both spiritual balance
and body healing. The formula consisted of four common herbs. They were blended and cooked
in a fashion which caused the concoction to have greater curative power than any of the four
herbs themselves. The four herbs were Sheep Sorrel, Burdock Root, Slippery Elm Bark, and
With her doctor's permission, Rene began to administer the herbal remedy to other terminal
cancer patients who had been given up by the medical profession as incurable. Most recovered.
Rene then began to collect the herbs herself, prepare the remedy in her own kitchen, and to treat
hundreds of cancer cases. She found that Essiac, as she named the herbal remedy, could not undo
the effects of severe damage to the life support organs. In such cases, however, the pain of the
illness was alleviated and the life of the patients was extended longer than predicted. In the other
cases, where the life support organs had not been severely damaged, cure was complete, and the
patients lived another 35 or 40 years. Some are still alive today.
Rene selflessly dedicated herself to helping these patients. She continued to treat hundreds of
patients from her home. She did not charge for her services. Donations were her only income.
They barely kept her above the poverty line. Over the years word of her work began to spread.
The Canadian medical establishment did not take kindly to this nurse administering this remedy
directly to anyone with cancer who requested her help. Thus began many years of harassment
and persecution by the Canadian Ministry of Health and Welfare. Word of this struggle was
carried throughout Canada by newspapers.
The newspaper coverage of Rene's work began to make her famous throughout Canada. Word
was also spread by the families of those healed by Essiac. Eventually, the Royal Cancer
Commission became interested in her work. They undertook to study Essiac.
In 1937 the Royal Cancer Commission conducted hearings about Essiac. Their conclusion was
that Essiac was a cure for cancer.