Anyone can verify, with a computer, the correct Essiac formula that Mary McPherson entrusted to the town of Bracebridge, Ontario. Simply visit “The Rene M. Caisse Memorial Room” at www.octagonalhouse.com and click on the green “Essiac” link. There you will see this formula:
* 6 1/2 cups cut up Burdock Root
* 1 pound powdered Sheep Sorrel
* 1/4 cup powdered Slippery Elm Bark
* 1 ounce powdered Turkish Rhubarb Root
[The burdock root should be cut up into pea-sized pieces -- all other ingredients are powdered. Store ingredients in a dark, cool, dry place in sealed containers.]
The preparation of Essiac is as important as the formula itself. Essiac is a decoction, not an infusion. An infusion is what people do when they put a tea bag in a cup of hot water. Generally speaking, an infusion tends to extract vitamins and volatile oils. A decoction is used to extract minerals, etc. from roots, bark or seeds by boiling for ten minutes and then allowing the herbs to steep for several hours. Entrepreneurs often sell Essiac imitations in tincture form (herbs in alcohol) or in gelatin capsules; neither form is Essiac because Essiac is a decoction.
1. Using a stainless steel pot and lid, boil 1/2 cup of herb mix in one gallon of pure, unchlorinated water for ten minutes.
2. Turn off heat and allow herbs to steep for 12 hours.
3. Heat up tea to steaming, but not boiling. Allow herbs to settle a couple minutes.
4. Strain off hot liquid into sterilized canning jars. The remaining pulp can be used for healing poultices.
5. Refrigerate tea. For long-term storage use the boiling water bath canning method and store in a cool, dark, dry place.
6. For preventive purposes, people take 1 to 2 oz. (1/8 to 1/4 cup) per day diluted with about 1/2 cup hot water. Herbalists recommend increasing daily water intake due to diuretic and detoxifying action. People who are using Essiac to treat an illness or to eliminate toxins, sometimes take Essiac two or three times a day, depending on the situation. Do not eat or drink anything (except water) one hour before to one hour after taking Essiac; bedtime is recommended.
Make sure that the sheep sorrel you use is the small, wild variety of sheep sorrel and not a substitute like yellow dock or garden sorrel. Don't use imported turkey rhubarb root. Many Essiac merchants are unaware of the quality of their herbs. The best way to insure that you're getting true Essiac is to grow the herbs yourself. This puts you in control of product quality and takes out the commercialism. Burdock root is harvested in the fall of the first year. Slippery elm bark is wildcrafted and is easy to buy, but should also be homegrown so it doesn't become endangered. Turkey Rhubarb is the only herb in Essiac that cannot be wildcrafted in the U.S. It is an attractive ornamental that can be grown in a flower bed or garden.