Essiac Herbs Description

Original four herb Rene Caisse essiac tea

The four Essiac herbs

The original essiac decoction is a blend of four herbs in certain proportions.

  • 35% Sheep Sorrel (leaf, stem, root and seed)
  • 54% Burdock Root (and seed)
  • 9% Slippery Elm inner bark
  • 2% Turkey Rhubarb root

Some manufactures add other herbs, such as Kelp, Milk Thistle, Red Clover, and Cat’s Claw, among others.

However, ask your nutritional consultant if the essiac brand you are purchasing contains irritating or stimulating herbs. You need to know, because these types of additives cannot be safely taken every day, whereas brands without stimulating or irritating additions can be safely taken every day. Each of the original four herbs has been used for hundreds, if not thousands of years. Unlike many herbal formulations, these herbs have no irritating effect as used in this formula. General properties of each herb are listed here.

Sheep Sorrel (Rumex acetosella)


Carotenoids, a component of Sheep Sorrel, are present at a concentration of approximately 8 – 12%. Beta carotene (a strong antioxidant member of the carotenoids) is converted to Vitamin A in the liver. Vitamin A has been shown to strengthen the immune system by aiding production of white blood cells. White blood cells are what attack many of the body’s harmful intruders, including cancer.

Sheep Sorrel is rich in Vitamin A, B complex, C, D, K, and E. Its minerals include significant levels of calcium, iron, magnesium, silicon, sulphur, zinc, maganese, iodine, and copper.

Sheep Sorrel is also rich in chlorophyll, which increases oxygen content in the blood. High levels of blood oxygen can increase the body’s action against many invasive conditions. Research at the Linus Pauling Institute and a M.D. Anderson Cancer Hospital has shown chlorophyll enhances the body’s immunity against certain carcinogens (cancer-causing substances) and has been shown to strengthen the immune system. According to these studies, it appears to be effective against chromosome damage — which is considered to be a precursor to cancer.

Sheep Sorrel is rich in potassium oxalate. It aids digestion, and has been reported to relieve stomach hemorrhage and jaundice.

We include the whole plant – root, leaf, and seed – in our formula.

Burdock Root (Arctium lappa)


This herb is the best known for its beneficial effect on the skin. It increases circulation to the skin and helps to detoxify (cleanse) the epidermal tissues. Many users report exceptional beauty and glow of the skin from its use. “Some of the conditions which may benefit from the root are: psoriasis, eczema, acne, boils, sties, carbuncles, ulcers of the stomach…” Similar to garlic, the root has been reported to destroy bacteria and fungus cultures. Anti-tumor properties have also been noted. Nagoya University researchers in Japan found that the root helps reduce cell mutations.

Another beneficial feature of this root is its action as a “blood purifier.” This term means the formula helps eliminate toxins for the blood and lymphatic system. Its action is also reported to work on the respiratory and urinary systems. The liver, gall bladder, kidneys, and digestive system benefit from the properties of Burdock Root. It may also help with elimination of excess fluids from the body.

Burdock Root is rich in vitamins B-complex and E. Its trace minerals include potassium, phosphorous, chromium, cobalt, iron, magnesium, silicon, zinc and sodium.

Because of its diuretic action, conditions of arthritis, rheumatism, and sciatia may be improved. Many users report a rapid decrease in swollen ankles even if the condition hasn’t responded well to other treatments.

Burdock Root contains inulin (not to be confused with insulin) which helps regulate sugar (glucose) in metabolism. Diabetics may be helped and Inulin has also been shown to possess exceptional restorative properties. It increases immunity by improving the efficiency of white blood cells.

Slippery Elm Bark (Ulmus fulva)


This herb’s main constituent is mucilage. Mucilage is a gum dissolved in the bark’s juices. This material has extraordinary cleansing properties. It has been reported to reduce the pain of ulcers – the mucilage coats any area it passes through.

Slippery Elm Bark has a lubricating property which helps protect membranes linings and joints. Relief of inflamed areas is commonly reported. An antibiotic and anti-microbial effect has also been reported along with an ability to remove toxins from the body.


Turkey Rhubarb Root (Rheum palmatum)

herb-turkeyrhubarb2This root has been used in China for more than 2,000 years! Turkey Rhubarb has impressive detoxifying properties, especially for the liver. The root also has antibiotic, anti-microbial, and anti-tumor properties. Although the original formula called for Indian Rhubarb Root (Rheum officianale), that particular variety typically can’t be obtained in the USA without chemical contamination. Turkey Rhubarb is a good substitute.


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