Essiac Tea: 4 Bizarre Native American Ingredients with Major Effects
Essiac tea is a Native American tonic with numerous health benefits. Is it right for you? Read on to find out.
Indigenous people have always had a deeper and more spiritual connection with their environment. They considered themselves part of nature and drew from its meaning, fulfillment, and everything they needed for their daily lives.
That profound connection also helped them understand the benefits of natural remedies in a way that modern societies do not. One such remedy is essiac tea.
What’s in Essiac Tea?
The basic recipe for Essiac tea combines four ingredients:
- Burdock root stabilizes blood sugar and promotes blood circulation and detoxification
- Sheep sorrel has strong antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties
- Slippery elm is rich in antioxidants and is also anti-inflammatory
- Indian (Turkey) rhubarb root is also high in antioxidants, boosts the immune system, and combats fever
Watercress, blessed thistle, red clover, and kelp are sometimes added to increase effectiveness.
Essiac Tea Benefits for Immune Health
Essiac tea effectively improves several health markers, boosts immune health, and treats various diseases, especially cancer. The research so far is limited, on humans anyway - and that’s unlikely to change anytime soon, mainly due to a lack of pharmaceutical incentives (unfortunately, a common problem in the health industry). However, existing studies and anecdotal evidence indicate many benefits and positive results.
A study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology showed that essiac tea demonstrates potent antioxidant properties, effectively scavenging free radicals and protecting DNA. Another AntiCancer Research study corroborated this and showed an ability to modulate the immune system. Together, the herbal ingredients in the recipe have been shown to have more potent antioxidant properties than green tea, red wine, or cocoa.
These properties alone may go some way toward explaining the reported effects of the tonic. For example, the Canadian Journal of Urology describes the case of a 64-year-old man with prostate cancer who went into remission after using essiac tea as a supplement.
Essiac Tea is a Complementary Treatment, Not a Replacement
While the evidence so far is enough to persuade Reddit to add essiac tea to its list of alternative cancer protocols, it’s dangerous to assume that the tea alone will cure cancer or even work for everyone. Sadly, there are cases where false claims like this have had dire consequences, dramatically shortening the patient’s life.
With this in mind, patients with severe conditions like cancer should consider alternative methods as complementary treatments, not stand-alone cure-alls. Essiac tea is just one example of a complementary approach that can benefit cancer patients. Other examples include turmeric, which has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anti-cancer properties, and following a ketogenic diet, which dramatically reduces glucose in the body, effectively starving cancer cells.
It’s also important to note that essiac tea is unsuitable for pregnant or breastfeeding women. If you’re taking any medication, have underlying health conditions, or are on chemotherapy, it’s best to consult your doctor beforehand.
How to Make Essiac Tea
The easiest way is to use a pre-blended tea, either the original recipe or the one with extra ingredients and follow the directions on the packaging.
To brew essiac tea yourself, follow this basic recipe.
Measure out and mix these ingredients:
- 1.5 pounds burdock root
- 1 pound powdered sheep sorrel
- 1/4 pound slippery elm
- 1-ounce Turkish rhubarb root
Store the mixture in a sealed glass jar away from light.
To brew a quart of tea, boil 1 quart of water with 1 ounce of herbs for 10 minutes, preferably in a stainless steel pot. Then cover and leave to steep for 12 hours.
After soaking, gently reheat the tea (don’t boil it), allow the herbs to settle then strain them out. Pour the liquid into sterilized, sealed glass or ceramic containers, allow it to cool, and then store the tonic in the fridge for up to 2 to 3 weeks.
To drink, dilute ½ ounce of tea in 2 ounces of warm or cool water once a day, and take it ideally on an empty stomach before bedtime to maximize the benefits.
Given its many benefits, used correctly and under the right circumstances, essiac tea could be just the tonic you need!