Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The C-Word: Essiac Tea

In the past few years, people often call or email me to talk a friend or family member who has just discovered he/she has cancer of one kind or another.

I tell them my story and give them tips about what they can do to heal naturally, as well as what they might do in conjunction with chemo.

Burdock root has anti-tumor properties

I've been impressed that people who take the information and run with it, have incredible results. Cancer recedes, diabetes disappears, aggressive tumors turn benign. Even if it is a few years' since their cancer was treated, changing their diets, breathing, exercising and taking supplements has changed their lives. They are energetic and vibrant, their skin glows, they are optimistic and active.

Usually, almost everyone I talk to gets really excited about the options available to them. There are so many ways to heal cancer these days - and heal it in a way that overhauls your life for the better - that people come away feeling relieved and positive about the challenge.

Unfortunately, three-quarters of the people I advise, then go to the hospital and get frightened.

Their doctors say things like, "Well, if you take these supplements, we can't help you.."

Or, as they said to a friend, "If you want to risk your life like that, go ahead, because we can't guarantee the results of alternative treatment."

So remember: Healing cancer, even more than almost any other disease, IS possible - but it's uncertain, no matter which method. All of our bodies are different and react differently. All of our minds and souls have different lessons to learn. Whether you choose the traditional route or the naturopathic one or a combination, THERE IS NO GUARANTEE. Just because the doctor/healer says they have success with one method or another, doesn't mean it will work on you.

For instance, if you have a virus and a doctor mistakenly prescribes you antibiotics and you get even sicker and end up in the hospital, you don't get anything back from the doctor.

There is no money-back guarantee on healing.

And worse, there is no health-back guarantee. This is even scarier when you are dealing with your kids.

So here's the other thing, YOU live in your body. You know it better than anyone else and you have for years. See what you feel comfortable with. Try one thing and see if it makes you feel better. There is nothing wrong with testing the experiences and listening to your body.

If it's your kid - remember, this child lived IN your body - you were there from his/her earliest moments. No one knows your child better than you do.

My recommendation - cancer is systemic - so never stick to any single therapy. You need to heal, mind, body and soul. If it makes you feel better to follow an oncologist's orders, do that. But also try the dietary changes and supplements. Try hypnotherapy, try polarity, try Brennan healing. Try acupuncture, infrared heat and vitamin therapy. Try intravenous glutathione, meditation, and Chinese medicine.

See what makes you feel like you are healing.

Recently, I discovered Essaic tea. 

It's a brewed herbal mixture that was created by a Native American tribe called the Ojibwa that uses local plant roots, bark and leaves to kill cancer and also normalize diabetes and HIV.  It started being used in mainstream healing by a nurse called Rene Caisse in Canada. She had such success with using it to heal the bottom-the-barrel cancer cases that it exploded.

Since I've been studying herbal medicine and Chinese medicine, I cross-referenced the four main ingredients with my textbooks and what I've learned. I also put in hours with my biology textbooks and reading testimonials and research online.

I should add that it has a tumultuous history with the mainstream - and even slightly alternative - medical establishment. Andrew Weil, for instance, says you should avoid it. But he also says that the formula was never passed on correctly by Rene Caisse. Apparently, Caisse refused to divulge her ingredients to the drug companies because she believed the product should be cheap and free and readily available. She did give it to Memorial Sloan Kettering, and interestingly, there are studies on their websites regarding certain ingredients, but from what I've read, she got angry at the way they handled it (they froze the herbs, making them much weaker) and took it all back.

That said, there are so many testimonials most people have bought a jar of vitamins on Amazon with fewer good reviews. And you can buy it on Amazon as capsules, pre-made liquid and dried herbs. It is also sold under the name Flor-Essence with the addition of kelp (good for the thyroid), red clover (builds iron and strength), watercress (purifies the blood, tones the kidneys and reduces inflammation) and blessed thistle (strengthens and tones the liver).

I suggest making it yourself as the pre-made versions are more expensive and, since they are not as fresh, they might not be as effective.

The ingredients are as follows:

Burdock root - which has been used for centuries in Chinese medicine to address a multitude of illnesses, amongst them, diabetes, gout, wrinkles (aging skin), measles and hypoglycemia. It has anti-tumor effects and is used in India and Russia in cancer treatments. It's also been used to cure fibroids. Burdock root is the main ingredient in Essaic tea. It's a pretty common weed that grows along roadsides in the U.S. and Canada.

Slippery Elm (inner bark) - you might recognize this name from natural sore throat and cough remedies. It coats the throat, esophagus and even bowels when ingested, which makes it great for mitigating the effects of chemo and/or radiation on your mucus membranes. When applied topically, it calms and soothes irritation on the skin as well. While, according to Memorial Sloan Kettering, it doesn't have anti-tumor effects, it does have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory qualities. Its mucillagenous (slippery, right?) qualities make it especially good for coating the stomach in IBS. People even eat it as a highly-digestible food. The trees grow in the Northern U.S. and Canada.

Sheep Sorrell - this grows wild all over North America, in fields and meadows. It's an astringent and a diuretic with a tangy, lemony taste. Traditionally, it's been used to treat fevers, scurvy and diarrhea, but it's also nice as a salad green. In Essaic tea, it's an anti-tumor agent, as well as an anti-bacterial. Kids like to chew on it, calling it sour grass. It should be taken in small quantities - and it's proportions are quite small in the essaic mixture.

Turkey or Indian Rhubarb - this plant has been used in herbal remedies for over 2,000 years.
It has both anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant effects. In Essaic tea, it's used for its anthroquinones, emodin and rhein, which have tumor killing capacities. Anthroquinones are also good for strengthening the lungs, especially after chemotherapy or radiation. Finally, it's said that the tea can be used for controlling menopausal symptoms like hot flashes.

It seems incredible. If you have any health issues that affect the pancreas or liver, from diabetes to hepatitus to HIV or cancer, you should try this tea. Some people, like Flor-Essence, add additional herbs but these are the four main ones.

(The tedious part is making the tea. This isn't the kind where you buy a teabag and put it in a cup with hot water. It is actually a herbal extract or tincture, so it is boiled for quite a long time. Then strained and reduced again. Then you have to sterilize and fill a bottle with the thick, dark substance and keep it in the fridge. The advantage is that it lasts for several weeks that way and you only take a tiny amount in the morning and the evening, ideally on an empty stomach.)

Think about it this way, if you have a horrible sinus infection and you go to the doctor for antibiotics, you are probably still going to drink chicken soup, take a ton of vitamin c and maybe a hot toddy and/or watch some funny movies on netflix.

The doctor will tell you that all these other things won't make any difference. But, if you really want to get well fast, you'll decide that you want to put in the extra effort.

Along with meditating and speaking gently to your body and your cancer, it's worth it to use every piece of soul and body strengthening weapons reinforcements in your arsenal.

Just know that if you want to be well, listen to your body. Love it. Put in the time to treat yourself with love and respect. Who knows what miracles you could make happen?

thank you to thich nhat hanh for reminding us