The History of Essiac

The story of Rene Caisse and Essaic Tea

Ojibwa Tea of Life™ is an essiac tea four-herb blend. We offer you choices of our products in the following ways: Traditional Ojibwa Tea of Life (herbal blend), Ojibwa Tea of Life herbal extract, Ojibwa Tea of Life Concentrate (pre-made ready to use), and Ojibwa Native Healing Balm (a soothing luxurious emollient skin salve).


Our products are pure, non-irradiated, organically grown and affordable. Essiac (pronounced “es-ee-ack”) is an herb tea formula attributed to Canadian nurse Rene Caisse (reen-case) of Bracebridge Ontario, Canada. Rene claimed the formula was given to her by a miner’s wife who was seemingly cured of breast cancer by an herb recipe. These herbs were given to the woman by “a very old Indian medicine man.”

In the mid 1920s, Rene Caisse was head nurse at the Sisters of Providence Hospital in a northern Ontario town. While on duty, Rene was bathing an elderly lady and noticed that one of her breasts had a lot of scar tissue on it. Upon questioning the lady, she learned that the women had advanced breast cancer 30 years earlier. The woman further explained that she had met a old Indian medicine man who told her he could cure her cancer. She said that she had no money at that time, and didn’t want to have an operation anyway, so she went to see the Indian. He showed her certain herbs growing in the area and told her to pick them and make a tea and to drink it every day.

She had no reoccurrence of cancer to that day, 30 years later.

In 1922, Rene named the formula “Essiac” after the backward spelling of her own last name, Caisse. The recipe from “a very old Indian Medicine Man,” allows for many stories and theories. There has never been “proof” of the actual tribal heritage of the Medicine Man who offered this formula, as many Native American Tribes lived in the area at the time.

Rene Caisse spent her life working with this herb tea, until she died in 1978 at the age of 90. For a time, the Canadian Minister of Health allowed Rene to treat certain terminally ill patients in her Bracebridge clinic. According to Rene, many of the people she treated reported they were helped by the remedy while others claimed living with their illness was made more bearable.

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