Essiac tea is a blended brew of eight herbs that have immune-boosting properties. Since the 1800's, people have consumed the tea to give their body a better chance at fighting diseases, including cancer. While individuals have relied on essiac through the years as an alternative cancer remedy, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved Essiac to treat cancer or any other medical condition.
The eight natural ingredients that create the tea need to be blended according to a specific ratio to have the desired effect. The following herbs are mixed in the brew and all feature inherent immune-boosting properties.
Blessed Thistle. Blessed thistle is used for digestive problems such as gas, constipation, and upset stomach. This herb is also used to treat liver and gallbladder diseases.
Burdock Root. Burdock root is a mild diuretic. It increases the production of both urine and sweat, potentially making it useful in treating swelling and fever. Burdock root might play a role in preventing liver damage caused by alcohol, chemicals, or medications.
The exact reason for this protective effect is not known, but it is thought to involve opposition of a chemical process called oxidation, which occurs in the body as a natural function of metabolism.
Although oxidation is a natural process, that doesn't mean it isn't harmful to the body. One result of oxidation is the release of oxygen free radicals, which are chemicals that may suppress immune function. Antioxidants such as burdock may protect body cells from damage caused by oxidation.
Kelp. Kelp is a sea vegetable that is a concentrated source of minerals, including: iodine, potassium, magnesium, calcium, and iron. Kelp as a source of iodine assists in making the thyroid hormones, which are necessary for maintaining normal metabolism in all cells of the body.
This increases energy levels and helps make it easier to maintain a healthy body weight. Kelp is the most nutrient-dense of all the ingredients--and it isn't found in four herb formulas.
Red Clover. Red clover is a source of many valuable nutrients, including: calcium, chromium, magnesium, niacin, phosphorus, potassium, thiamine, and vitamin C. Red clover is also one of the richest sources of isoflavones (water-soluble chemicals that act like estrogens and are found in many plants).
The isoflavones in red clover have been studied for their effectiveness in treating some forms of cancer. It is thought that the isoflavones prevent the proliferation of cancer cells and that they may even destroy cancer cells.
Sheep Sorrel. Sheep sorrel is a rich source of oxalic acid, sodium, potassium, iron, manganese, phosphorous, beta carotene, and vitamin C. This ingredient is a mild diuretic, mild antiseptic, and a mild laxative.
Slippery Elm Bark. Slippery elm bark has been used as a poultice for cuts and bruises, and also for aching joints due to gout or other causes. Besides being an essiac tea ingredient, this herb is also used to alleviate sore throats.
Slippery elm bark is found in many lozenges that claim to soothe throat irritation. Since a sore throat and a cough are often linked, slippery elm bark has also been used in cough remedies. It also regulates the elimination process of digestion, easing both constipation and diarrhea.
Turkish Rhubarb Root. This detoxifying herb purges the body of bile, parasites, and stagnating food in the gut by stimulating the gall duct to expel toxic waste matter. It has been shown to alleviate chronic liver problems by cleansing the liver. Rhubarb root improves digestion and helps regulate the appetite.
It has also been shown to help heal ulcers, alleviate disorders of the spleen and colon, relieve constipation, and help heal hemorrhoids and bleeding in the upper digestive tract.
Watercress. High in Vitamin C, watercress is used as a general tonic, and its bitter taste is thought to regulate the appetite and improve digestion. It can be used to alleviate nervous conditions, constipation, and liver disorders.
As a component in essiac tea, watercress serves as a cough and bronchitis remedy. It contains a substance called rhein, which appears to inhibit the growth of pathogenic bacteria in the intestines. It is believed that rhein is also effective against Candida albicans (yeast infection), fever and inflammation, and pain.
This article on essiac tea was written by Bryan Paulhus of bulk-essiac-tea.com.