Ojibwa Tea of Life Blog

Getting to the Root of Sheep Sorrel

“Does Ojibwa Tea of LifeTM contain whole plant sheep sorrel?” It’s one of the most common questions we are asked. Why is Essiac containing whole plant sheep sorrel so hard to find?

At Ojibwa Tea of LifeTM, we use the original four-herb Essiac formula that was refined and promoted by Nurse Rene Caisse. This formula contains burdock root, slippery elm inner bark, turkey rhubarb, and, arguably most importantly, sheep sorrel leaf, stem, flower, seeds, and root.

The root of the sheep sorrel plant is very fine – almost like a hair or a thread. Because of this, sheep sorrel root is nearly impossible to harvest commercially.  We have spoken with many suppliers of botanicals – both large, commercial suppliers and smaller farms – and nearly all of them have found it impossible to offer sheep sorrel complete with roots due to the labor and time intensive process that is necessary to harvest the whole plant.  One organic farmer that we spoke with did make several attempts to gather sheep sorrel with the roots, but found the process to be unsustainable due to the time, expense, and expertise it required.

Due to this lack of availability, the vast majority of Essiac on the market does not include sheep sorrel root. Luckily, Ojibwa Tea of LifeTM has been fortunate enough to partner with a family owned, certified organic farm that is able to provide us with wild crafted whole plant sheep sorrel.

Our farmer takes on the arduous task of lovingly harvesting the wild sheep sorrel by hand to preserve the delicate roots. The harvest must occur at the proper times of year to ensure that the plant is in its most nutritious and efficacious form. The farmer also must take great care to prevent overharvesting of the herb from its natural environment and ensure that harvests will continue to be plentiful in years to come.

Ojibwa Tea of LifeTM purchases hundreds of pounds of whole plant wild crafted sheep sorrel at a time so that you can be assured that it is always included in our tea. For more information about the importance of whole plant sheep sorrel in Essiac, the writings of Mali Klein are excellent resources.

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Variations in Essiac Herb Color and Flavor

farm“Why do some essiac herbs vary in color and flavor from batch to batch?”

We get this question a fair amount, and it’s usually accompanied by customers worrying about the quality of their tea. Generally it’s along the lines of:

  • Is there something wrong with my batch?
  • Is this order less efficacious than the last order I got?
  • Have the herbs gone rotten or rancid somehow?
  • Are the herbs safe?
  • Are there different herbs in this order?

First of all, allow us to assure you that the herbs are safe, and our formula remains the same as it’s always been. We follow the original 4-herb formula as described by nurse Rene Caisse. (More details here and here!)

So what’s going on? Why do some batches of the essiac herbs have different colors and/or flavors? Read More »

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