Up to now, we have chosen not to endorse a particular product. However, this one is one-of-a-kind. Read its evolutionary process and then make up your own mind.
The “product” began in the hands of a nurse in the 1920s, travelled through medical and governmental attempts at exploitation, nestled for a time with John F. Kennedy’s personal physician and a radio show producer from Vancouver, Canada, and finally ended up as a recognized herbal cleanser. How all this took place is a sad, but typical, story that could be told of many such products; but this one has a traceable history.
The word “cancer” strikes fear in the heart of anyone associated with the dreaded disease – just as it always has. Chemical poisons, burning radiation, and radical surgeries are the medical establishment’s answer for a “cure.” The only problem is – is that it does not. These methods serve only to thrust an already in trouble immune system further into the abyss. One solution, proven effective, but not accepted by the official medical establishment and could not be controlled by them, was outright dismissed, despite the fact that many doctors did approve of its use.
The story is familiar, but not all of it. Rene Caisse was a head nurse at the Sisters of Providence Hospital in Haileybury, Ontario, Canada. A patient told her about a hardened mass she had when she first arrived in northern Canada and settled among the Ojibwa Indians. Their medicine man gave her an herbal drink that would eventually purify her body and bring her back into balance with “the great spirit.” She rejected his kind offer and opted instead to follow the cultural thinking that such things were born only of superstion. She headed to Toronto where her fears were confirmed – the breast would have to be removed. Being destitute, the woman could not afford the expensive surgery, so she travelled back to the old Indian since she had nothing to lose. She was given a pleasant tasting tea and was told to drink it twice a day until her body returned to normal. He even taught her how to make it herself.
When nurse Rene heard this remarkable story, it was twenty years after the fact and the area, although scarred, was intact. The woman passed on the recipe to Rene, who then tried it on her aunt. So successful was this tea that Rene joined forces with once skeptical doctors and began treating terminally ill patients – but only with written orders from the doctors that these patients indeed were in the last stages of their illness. One by one, the patients regained their health, and the news spread. Rene refused to give out her formula. She wanted it directly in the hands of the sick rather than in the hands of the greedy.
As news of the “miracle cure” spread, more patients were showing up at Rene’s door. She treated each and every one for free, spending long days at her regular duties before adding additional hours to make enough of the tea for the next day’s treatments – often 100 a day. Despite the fact that many doctors signed a letter of petition to the Canadian government asking that her formula be recognized as a legitimate treatment, they were turned down. Scores of letters from a grateful public also went unheeded. Articles in newspapers were making her famous. More people were clamouring for her help to heal their cancers, all the while businessmen were offering her vast sums of money for her “recipe.” The first she took; the latter she refused.
Eventually, when the tea proved to help patients with diabetes, the news reached Sir Frederick Banting, MD, the co-discoverer of insulin. He offered Rene the use of the Banting Institute for further research. She refused, opting instead to continue to help people who needed it now rather than wasting years on research that already told her what she needed to know.
In his book, The Essiac Report, Richard Thomas has documented many stories of healing. In fact, three-quarters of the book is documentation, while the rest tells Rene’s remarkable story and the herbs she used. It also documents her never-ending battle with the wrath of the medical establishment in both Canada and the United States, the attempts by the Cancer Commission to gain control, and by governmental agencies seeking to shut down her efforts. It is for these very reasons that we have chosen to tell the story on our website. Why would the medical establishment and the Cancer Commission want to control it if it were indeed a hoax? Why would the governments elected by the people want to squash something proven to be so helpful to them? Why would doctors, committed to helping the sick, refuse to accept something that does just that? Pride, greed, control – take your pick – but it is obvious that the best interest of the people was not in their forethought.
Essiac, as it became known (Rene’s last name spelled backwards) was eventually outlawed, so to speak. However, Essiac and Rene’s efforts finally came to the attention of John F. Kennedy’s personal physician, Dr. Charles Brusch. His ideals were the same as those held by Rene, and they soon formed a partnership that lasted until their deaths.
In 1977, Rene, who was 88 at the time, again made the headlines. Homemaker’s Magazine, a nationally read Canadian magazine, did an extensive article on Rene and her story. It “hit Canada like a nuclear bomb.” The magazine offered to represent Rene in her efforts. She refused. They concluded, “There’s a tragic and shameful irony in the Essiac tale. In the beginning, a simple herbal recipe was freely shared by an Indian who understood that the blessings of the Creator belong to all. In the hands of more sophisticated (and allegedly more ‘civilized’) healers, it was made the focus of an ugly struggle for ownership and power. Perhaps our cure for cancer lies back in the past, with our discarded humility and innocence. Perhaps the Indians will someday revive an old man’s wisdom, and share it once again. Perhaps this story will be the catalyst; if so, our efforts will not have been in vain”.
Rene died December 26, 1978, from complications suffered from surgery to mend a broken hip. Dr. Brusch carried on, but knew he, too, would have to pass the torch as he was becoming too old to continue the battle of keeping the formula freely available to the public, all the while fending off those who did not like such a noble idea. In 1984, a Vancouver producer of the radio show “Stayin’ Alive,” Elaine Alexander, called Dr. Brusch for an interview. He turned her down, but she persisted, impressing him with her knowledge of the history of Essiac and her ideals that appeared to mirror his own. Finally consenting, Dr. Brusch appeared on her show several times thereafter and proved to be immensely popular.
Dr. Brusch and Elaine formed a partnership, but both realized that it would soon become impossible to keep Essiac in the hands of the people, and searched the world over for a reputable company that would continue to offer the formula to the people. They finally found such a firm in Bavaria, which also had locations in Switzerland and Canada. Because government regulations prevent anyone from ever using the name “Essiac,” especially in relation to cancer cures, they had to change the name and its purpose. The new name is Flor*Essence, produced by Flora (Canada), a part of the Salus Haus Health Food Products of Europe, and sold as an internal cleanser and purifier.
The product and the story deserves a second look. The story is a familiar one, having the same earmarks as other alternative theories readily squashed by establishments – and not just the medical establishment. The same behavior is found within other subject realms – religion, science, education, health, food production, etc. Documentation can be found in Richard Thomas’ book, The Essiac Report, published by The Alternative Treatment Information Network (1993), 1244 Ozeta Terrace, Los Angeles, California 90069 (310-278-6611).