Tea of the Ojibwe Indians (AKA: Ojibway, Ojibwa, Chippewa, or Saulteaux)
For millennia, America's native cultures have utilized the health promoting power of herbs. One such example is a tea the Ojibway Indians of Cobalt, Ontario, Canada, typically prepared from native herbs, particularly sheep sorrel, burdock mot, slippery elm and Turkish rhubarb. Additional herbs, watercress, red clover, kelp, and blessed thistle, potentiate these primary ones.
This is the story of how this amazing health remedy was first discovered and made its long journey all the way from the wilds of Canada. The story is almost as amazing as the product itself. There’s heroes and villains, twist and turns, government intrigue, ancient knowledge of a downtrodden people—dismissed because it threatened the status quo and also because it came from a women. There’s more than enough for a full movie. Before you invest the time to read the history you might want to know the current evidence for why this is one of the greatest natural remedies ever discovered. Before the “Then” here’s the “Now”.
Many studies now support use of this eight-herbal tea as an additive form of proactive preventative health support among health challenged individuals, and has become an acclaimed product for detoxification purposes at the cell level. In fact, Flor-Essence Tea is approved for use in Mexico, and recent clinical trials conducted by the Russian Ministry of Health among victims of the Chernobyl nuclear accident have led to its recommended use as a basic remedy for chronic non-healing lesions of the gastric mucosa. In a study done by the University of Texas Center for Alternative Medicine Research, among some 4,708 users of the product, over 72 percent found the results of the tea to be "very good" to "excellent. 44.1 percent of patients were found to have no evidence of abnormal cell growth at their last check-up with another 14 percent showing significant regression.
Genesis 1:29, KJV: "And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat."
Much like how Columbus “discovered” America, a continent with hundreds of millions of people already living there, the true origin of its discovery is lost to the mists of time. We know only that it had been
used for generations by the Ojibwe people’s of Canada, before a heroic nurse brought it to the attention of “Western Medicine”. Unlike Columbus, Rene Caisse, R.N. never tried to take credit for its creation or discovery. She only wanted to help people. Sadly history is filled with less like her and more like him. In order to get it out of the darkness and into the light, she would have to convince the medical community, this was the 1920’s. She would not be getting any statues.
It was not an easy sell to be sure. This new information came not only from a people suffering under systemic racism…it was coming from a woman. Barely one election cycle had gone by since women had been able to vote, and for that very reason the women of this time faced even more than the usual amount of prejudice. They were in the midst of the cultural blowback that inevitably occurs after any major paradigm shift in society—good or bad. Nurses of that time were often treated by many doctors as glorified maids and janitors, despite the fact that they had only slightly less (sometimes more) training than their male overlords.
All professions of the time had their ingrained biases and prejudice, but the medical community literally coined the phrase used to describe any situation where new information contradicts established norms. “The Semmelweis” effect named after the poor fellow that suggested washing your hands might be a good idea after handling corpses and before delivering babies, got ten years in a mental institution for his troubles. It’s still taught to every medical student to this day. This was the setting for our story. Now let’s hear Rene’s own words, and remember without the persistent, selfless efforts of Canada's famous nurse, Rene Caisse, R.N., this herbal formula might never have reached the vast number of users that it has today.
Caisse’s own words:
"In the mid-twenties I was head nurse at the Sisters of Providence Hospital in a northern Ontario town. One day one of my nurses was bathing an elderly lady patient. I noticed that one breast was a mass of scar tissue, and asked about it.
The elderly gal told me, "I came out from England nearly 30 years ago. I joined my husband, who was prospecting in the wilds of Northern Ontario. My right breast became sore and swollen, and very painful. My husband brought me to Toronto, and the doctors told me I had advanced abnormal cell growth, and my breast must be removed at once. Before we left camp a very old Indian medicine man had told me I had this problem, but also said he could get rid of it. I decided I'd just as soon try his remedy. One of my friends had died from breast surgery. Besides we had no money!”
She continued to recount her story, "She and her husband returned to the mining camp, and the old Indian showed her certain herbs growing in the area, told her to make a tea from these herbs, and to drink it every day.”
She was nearly 80 years old when I saw her, and there had been no recurrence of her cell problem. I was very much interested and wrote down all the herbs she had used.
A few months later, I received word that my mother's only sister had been operated on in Brockville, Ontario. The doctors had found she had bad cell growth in her stomach with liver involvement, and gave her, at the most, six months to live. I hastened to her, and talked to her doctor. He was Dr R.O. Fisher of Toronto, whom I knew well, for I'd nursed patients for him many times. I told him about the herb tea and asked his permission to try it under his observation, since there apparently was nothing more
medical science could do for my aunt. He consented quickly. I obtained the necessary herbs, with some difficulty, and made the tea. My aunt lived for another 21 years, after being given up by the medical profession. There was no recurrence of her problem."
~ Rene Caisse, R.N.
Dr. Fisher was so impressed that he asked Rene to use her herbal tea on some of his other hopeless cases. Other doctors heard about Rene from Dr. Fisher, and asked her to take patients for them after everything medical science had to offer had been used and failed. They, too, were impressed with the results. Can we even imagine how amazing this discovery had to have been to impress doctors at that time in history and coming from these sources? She had impressed the people around her, an amazing task in and of itself, now she would have to impress strangers and politicians. Could she do it?
The short answer is “no”, at least not right away. In spite of strong support from members of the medical profession who had seen their own patients improve with the herbal tea, Canadian medical authorities alternatively tolerated and persecuted Rene, nearly arresting her twice.
In March 1938, a private bill to authorize Rene to practice medicine in Ontario was introduced to the legislature. The rules of the House were suspended to allow this private bill to be presented without customary notice, and the debate before the Private Bills Committee was fierce. A petition signed by 55,000 citizens (many of whom were doctors) accompanied the bill. Unfortunately, legislation that would have provided legal support for her to continue to help patients failed to pass by a mere three votes. In 1942, Rene halted her work for fear of persecution.
Kennedy Physician Supports Herbal Tea
The story might have ended there if not for the efforts of Ralph Daigh, vice president and editorial director of Fawcett Publications in New York. In 1959, he was given a mysterious cachet of scientific papers pertaining to Rene's tea that had become known by now as essiac (Caisse spelled backward). The mysterious fellow who gave Daigh the papers told him that, as the publisher of some of America's leading magazines, he could help to introduce this important health support formula to millions who needed it desperately.
Daigh introduced Rene to doctors at the Brusch Medical Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts. There, under the supervision of 18 doctors, she began her work with patients. Her mentor there was Dr. Charles Brusch, a highly respected physician who, in 1955, administered the first polio vaccine in Cambridge. Dr. Brusch was very much interested in traditional remedies and took a great interest in the ancient tonic.
And thus Flor-Essence was born…
Herbs in Flor-Essence (Phytotherapy)
According to a February 2000 issue of Phyto therapy Research, "Individual case reports suggest that the tea improves quality of life, and in some cases, impacts progression among individuals with abnormal cell growth. Experimental studies with individual herbs have shown evidence of biological activity including antioxidant, antiestrogenic, immunostimulant, and anti-colorectal actions”.
Burdock Root (Arctium lappa) Used to cleanse and detoxify.
Arctium lappa, commonly known as burdock, is being promoted/recommended as a healthy and nutritive food in Chinese societies. Burdock has been used therapeutically in Europe, North America, and Asia for hundreds of years. The roots, seeds and leaves of burdock have been investigated in view of its popular uses in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). In this review, the reported therapeutic effects of the active compounds present in the different botanical parts of burdock are summarized. In the root, the active ingredients have been found to "detoxify" blood in terms of TCM and promote blood circulation to the skin surface, improving the skin quality/texture. Antioxidants and antidiabetic compounds have also been found in the root. In the leaf extract, the active compounds isolated can inhibit the growth of micro-organisms in the oral cavity. However, it is also essential to be aware of the side effects of burdock including contact dermatitis and other allergic/inflammatory responses that might be evoked by burdock.
Slippery Elm (Ulmus Rubra Muhl)—Has soothing qualities with large amounts of mucilage for inflammatory conditions.
Turkish Rhubarb Root (Rheum Palmatum)-Used to promote healthy elimination processes.
Blessed Thistle (Cnicus Benedictus)—Both British and German, pharmacopoeias note that 'bitters' such as blessed thistle stimulate bile flow and cleanse the liver.
Red Clover Blossom (Trifolium Pratense)—This herb has profound benefits in supporting many patients.
Kelp (Laminaria Digitata)—Rich in immune supportive polysaccharides and algin (Alginic acid), this herb greatly aids in Detoxification and health support.
Watercress (Nasturtium Officinale)—A member of the Brassicaceae family (including cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, kale, mustard greens, collard greens, bok choy and turnips), watercress contains specific indoles that activate enzymes in the body that deactivate and dispose of excess estrogen and other toxins, thereby reducing the risk of serious issues.
Sheep sorrel (Rumex Acetosella)—At least ten Native tribes of Canada and the United States have used this herb, also known as sour grass or sour weed, as a food and medicine, notes herbal expert Suzanne Diamond, B.Sc., M.Sc. Botany. "Sheep sorrel is a popular ingredient of many folk remedies and the tea was used traditionally as a diuretic and to address fevers, inflammation and scurvy." in Flor-Essence, sheep sorrel is considered the most active herb for stimulating cellular regeneration, detoxification and
cleansing, based on reports by Rene Caisse and her doctor colleague who did studies with mice bearing abnormal growths on the original eight herb formula.
Prescription for Using Flor-Essence
Flor-Essence is an important formula to be used by individuals as a means of potential health support, because it is both a detoxifier and purifier. Work with your physician and use this product to enhance your prescribed regimen's results. It should also be used routinely as a means of detoxifying and reducing risk of serious cell conditions.
Flor-Essence can be purchased ready-made or be prepared at home. Take on its own or as a tea by diluting the amount listed below with an equal or double amount of hot or cold water.
Flor-Essence Dosage: Adults should consume two ounces of Flor-Essence twice daily. Children should consume one ounce, twice daily. Take on an empty stomach, about thirty minutes before any meal, and at bedtime. Use spring or distilled water when preparing. Sip slowly.
Richardson, M.A., et al. "Flor-Essence herbal tonic use in North America: a profile of general consumers and cancer patients." Herbal Gram 2000(50):40-46.
-Healthy Living volume 7, number 8