The Rene Caisse Story

Disclaimer: This writing is for information and educational purposes. Essiac tea has not been FDA approved as a treatment or cure for any health problem, including cancer.

All of the following is widely available, public information. In 1922, Canadian nurse Rene Caisse(pronounced Reen Case) met an English woman who told her how her breast cancer had been treated by a medicine man of the Ojibwa Indian tribe.

A doctor had confirmed to the woman that she had advanced breast cancer and that her breast would need to be removed. The woman opted to be treated instead by the Indian with herbal medicine. The tumor steadily shrunk and 30 years later when she met Caisse, she was still cancer free. 

Caisse wrote down the names of the plants and herbs just in case she might want to use it on herself if she got cancer. In 1924, her aunt was diagnosed with advanced stomach cancer. She asked her aunt’s doctor if they may try the herbal formula on her. The doctor consented and after taking the formula regularly for two months, made into a tea, she recovered and lived another 21 years. She was never diagnosed with recurring cancer. The tea would later be called Essiac tea, which is Caisse spelled backwards, and contains the following four ingredients: burdock root, slippery elm bark, turkey rhubarb root, and sheep sorrel(including the root). Caisse emphasized the importance of the entire sheep sorrel plant, including the root.

After one doctor had witnessed the healing effects of Essiac, word spread and Caisse began administering the treatment at the request of Toronto doctors. She eventually gave up nursing to devote her full time to research and administration of this treatment. She never accepted payment for the treatment and lived by donations, barely keeping out of poverty. 

Eventually, Rene moved to Peterborough, Ontario, where she was threatened with arrest from the College of Physicians and Surgeons. She asked for a hearing from the Minister of Health, Dr. J. A. Faulkner. Five doctors arrived on her behalf as well as a number of patients who had been successfully treated with Essiac. Faulkner decided it was acceptable for her to treat patients as long as she didn’t charge and that they had written diagnoses from their doctors.

Rene was then contacted by Dr. Alfred Bastedo in Braceridge, Ontario, where a hotel was made into a cancer clinic for her to practice. It was there that she successfully treated cancer patients from all over Canada from 1934-1942, many of whom the medical establishment had given up on. 

Rene’s mother then became ill, diagnosed with gallstones. She contacted Dr. Roscoe Graham for another opinion. Dr. Graham examined her mother and diagnosed her with inoperable liver cancer, with only days to live. Rene began administering to her mother Essiac tea and her mother lived another 18 years. 

Soon after this, Rene petitioned the Minister of Health in the hopes of legalizing Essiac tea as an officially recognized treatment for cancer and other chronic disease. Her requests were consistently denied despite the support of many physicians and people attesting to the efficacy of the treatment. Her final petition in 1938 was denied despite the attendance of 380 patients having been successfully treated, and ready to testify to this. Only 49 of this 380 were allowed to speak at the hearing and it was recorded that only 49 actually showed up. The authorities also threw out all the x-rays that had been used to diagnose the patients and claimed that all the diagnoses were mistaken or somehow wrong, despite the patients having been diagnosed by multiple doctors. 

Rene’s efforts to contribute Essiac as a cancer treatment were met every step of the way with resistance from the government and medical establishment. This could have easily been the biggest contributor to the treatment of cancer and disease in Canada’s history. The medical establishment then, as now, denies the efficacy of any natural treatment and has consistently treated those like Caisse with great hostility. California chiropractor Gary Glum, author of a book on Caisse entitled “Calling of an Angel,” can attest to this as he was nearly financially ruined with bogus IRS claims because of his outspoken support and work promoting Essiac. He was even told by federal marshals who raided his LA office that this was about cancer, not taxes. Perhaps this is because natural herbs and plants cannot be patented? Perhaps efficacious and inexpensive treatments for cancer are a threat to a profit driven industry?

In the 1960’s, Rene moved to Massachusetts and worked with Dr. Charles A. Brusch, MD, of the Brusch Medical Center in Cambridge, MA. Dr. Brusch was the personal physician of John F. Kennedy before he was elected to the office of the presidency in 1960. When Dr. Brusch contracted bowel cancer, he was confident enough in Essiac to use it as his own treatment. In an April, 1990, notarized statement, Dr. Brusch wrote: “I do know that I have witnessed in my clinic, and know of many other cases, where Essiac was the therapy used. A treatment which brings about restoration through destroying the tumor tissue and improving the mental outlook which reestablishes physiological function. I endorse this therapy even today for I have in fact cured my own cancer, the original site of which was the lower bowel, through Essiac alone.” Dr. Brusch had much more to say about the effectiveness of Essiac on cancer and chronic disease and this information is widely available.

In a 2007 study published in the International Journal of Cancer Research and Treatment, the results showed that Essiac tea had a statistically significant antioxidant effect. Antioxidants are reported as being part of Essiac’s effectiveness against cancer, cardiovascular disease, and other chronic diseases.

Rene Caisse died in 1978 at the age of 90. On her 90th birthday, over 600 people convened with her to pay their respects for having been successfully treated for cancer with Essiac.

Essiac products are openly and widely sold on the market. As with anything, it is important to do your own research and due diligence. Some resources on this subject:

1) “The Essiac Report: The True Story of a Canadian Herbal Cancer Remedy and of the Thousands of Lives it Continues To Save.” by Richard Thomas

2) “Calling of an Angel” by Dr. Gary Glum, DC

3) “Essiac Testimonials” 44 minute documentary on


“YaHuWaH has created medicines out of the earth; and he that is wise will not reject them.” 

(Sirach 38:4)

Sirach is a book found in the original 1611 King James Bible.

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