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Essiac Herbal Blend

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What is Essiac?

Rene Caisse

Rene Caisse

Essiac, given its name by Rene Caisse (“caisse” spelt backwards), consists of four main herbs that grow in the wilderness of Ontario, Canada. The original formula is believed to have its roots from the native Canadian Ojibway Indians.

The four main herbs that make up Essiac are Burdock Root, Slippery Elm Inner Bark, Sheep Sorrel and Indian Rhubarb Root.

Who Was Rene Caisse?

Many believe Rene Caisse (pronounced “reen case”) is one of the greater heroines of the past century.

This modest Canadian nurse discovered a natural herbal forumla, she took no money for it, and died in relative obscurity.

Rene didn’t feel herself a writer so she never wrote an autobiography.  She did, however, write a series of articles entitled “I Was Canada’s Cancer Nurse” which was published in the seventies with Bracebridge Examiner.  Additionally, a collection of her writing and interviews was published posthumously in the Bracebridge Examiner.

Discovering Essiac (in the words of Rene Caisse)

In the mid-twenties [1920’s] 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.

“I came out from England nearly 30 years ago.” she told me. “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 cancer and my breast must be removed at once. Before we left camp a very old Indian medicine man had told me I had cancer, but he could cure it. I decided I’d just as soon try his remedy as to have my breast removed. One of my friends had died from breast surgery. Besides, we had no money.”

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 cancer. I was much interested and wrote down the names of the herbs she had used. I knew that doctors threw up their hands when cancer was discovered in a patient; it was the same as a death sentence, just about. I decided that if I should ever develop cancer, I would use this herb tea.

About a year later I was visiting an aged retired doctor whom I knew well. We were walking slowly about his garden when he took his cane and lifted a weed. “Nurse Caisse,” he told me, “if people would use this weed there would be very little cancer in the world.” He told me the name of the plant. It was one of the herbs my patient named as an ingredient of the Indian medicine man’s tea!

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 cancer of the stomach with a 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 because I had 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 was apparently 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 21 years after being given up by the medical profession. There was no recurrence of cancer. Dr. Fisher was so impressed he asked me to use the treatment on some of his other hopeless cancer cases. Other doctors heard about me from Dr. Fisher and asked me to treat patients for them after everything medical science had to offer had failed. They too were impressed with the results. Several of these doctors asked me if I would be willing to use the treatment on an old man whose face was eaten away, and who was bleeding so badly the doctors said he could not live more than 10 days.

“We will not expect a miracle,” they told me. “But if your treatment can help this man in this stage of cancer, we will know that you have discovered something the whole world needs desperately — a successful remedy for cancer.” My treatment stopped the bleeding in 24 hours. He lived for six months with very little discomfort.

The First Treatments (in the words of Rene Caisse)

On the strength of what those doctors saw with their own eyes, eight of them signed a petition to the Department of National Health and Welfare at Ottawa, asking that I be given facilities to do independent research on my discovery. Their petition, dated at Toronto on October 27, 1926, read as follows:

    To Whom It May Concern: We the undersigned believe that the “Treatment for Cancer” given by Nurse R.M. Caisse can do no harm and that it relieves pain, will reduce the enlargement and will prolong life in hopeless cases. To the best of our knowledge, she has not been given a case to treat until everything in medical and surgical science has been tried without effect and even then she was able to show remarkable beneficial results on those cases at that late stage.We would be interested to see her given an opportunity to prove her work in a large way. To the best of our knowledge she has treated all cases free of any charge and has been carrying on this work over the period of the past two years.
    (Signed by the eight doctors)

I was joyful beyond words at this expression of confidence by such outstanding doctors regarding the benefits derived from my treatment. My joy was short-lived. Soon after receiving this petition, the Department of Health and Welfare sent two doctors from Ottawa to have me arrested for “practising medicine without a licence”.

This was the beginning of nearly 50 years of persecution by those in authority, from the government to the medical profession, that I endured in trying to help those afflicted with cancer. However, when these two doctors sent from Ottawa, found that I was working with nine of the most eminent physicians in Toronto, and was giving my treatment only at their request, and under their observation, they did not arrest me.

Dr. W.C. Arnold, one of the investigating doctors, became so interested in my treatment that he arranged to have me work on mice at the Christie Street Hospital Laboratories in Toronto, with Dr. Norich and Dr. Lockhead. I did so from 1928 through 1930. These mice were inoculated with Rous Sarcoma. I kept the mice alive 52 days, longer than anyone else had been able to do, and in later experiments with two other doctors, I kept mice alive for 72 days with Essiac.

This was not my first clinical experience. I had previously converted Mother’s basement into a laboratory, where I worked with doctors who were interested in my treatment. We found that on mice inoculated with human carcinoma, the growth regressed until it was no longer invading living tissue after nine days of Essiac treatments.

This was during the period when I was working on Dr. Fisher’s suggestion that the treatment could be made effective if given by , rather than in liquid form, as a tea. I started eliminating one substance and then another; finally when the protein content was eliminated, I found that the ingredients which stopped the malignancy growth could be given by intermuscular without causing the reaction that had followed my first experiments with injecting mice. However, I found that the ingredients removed from the formula, which reduced growth of cancer, were necessary to the treatment. These apparently carried off destroyed tissue and infections thrown off by the malignancy.

By giving the intermuscular in the forearm, to destroy the mass of the malignant cells, and giving the medicine orally to purify the blood, I got quicker results than when the medicine was all given orally, which was my original treatments until Dr. Fisher suggested further experiments and developing an that could be given without reaction.I well remember the first of the medication in a human patient. Dr. Fisher called and said he had a patient from Lyons, New York, who had cancer of the throat and tongue. He wanted me to inject Essiac into the tongue. Well, I was nearly scared to death. And there was a violent reaction. The patient developed a severe chill; his tongue swelled so badly the doctor had to press it down with a spatula to let him breathe. This lasted about 20 minutes. Then the swelling went down, the chill subsided, and the patient was all right. The cancer stopped growing, the patient went home and lived quite comfortably for almost four years.

At the time I first used my treatment on terminal cancer cases –or cancers that did not respond to approved treatment referred to me by the nine Toronto doctors — I was still nursing 12 hours a day, the customary work day for nurses then. I had only my two-hour rest period and my evenings to give to my research work and my treatments.

I decided to give up nursing, to have more time for my research and treatment of patients. Doctors started sending patients to me at my apartment and I was treating about 30 every day.

I now felt I had some scientific evidence to present that would convince the medical profession my treatment had real merit. I made an appointment with Dr. Frederick Banting of the Banting Institute, Department of medical Research, University of Toronto, world famous for his discovery of insulin. After reading my case notes, and examining pictures of the man with the face cancer before and after treatment, and x-rays of other cancers I had treated, he sat quietly for a few minutes staring into space.

“Miss Caisse,” he finally said, turning to look me straight in the eyes, “I will not say you have a cure for cancer. But you have more evidence of a beneficial treatment for cancer than anyone in the world.”

He advised me to make application to the University of Toronto for facilities to do deeper research. He even offered to share his laboratory in the Banting Institute and to work with me. However, in making application to the University of Toronto, I would have to give them my formula. They would then have the formula, which could be filed in the archives and forgotten, or could be used for university staff research — and my application to do independent research at the university could still be refused. After much soul searching and prayer, I turned down Dr. Banting’s suggestion and his offer to work with me.

I wanted to establish my remedy, which I called Essiac (my name spelled backward),in actual practice and not in a laboratory only. I knew I had no bad side affects, so it could do no harm. I wanted to use it on patients in my own way. And when the time came, I wanted to share in the administration of my own discovery.

To do such a thing is impossible even today for any independent research worker, due to what is nothing less than a conspiracy against finding a cure for cancer. I decided to prove my treatment on its own merit, without assistance if necessary.

Dr. Banting approved my decision, and my courage. He had discovered insulin. He did not claim it was a cure for diabetes. He did know by experience that it was a palliative and a deterrent. I knew the same thing about Essiac.

But Dr. Banting was a doctor and a recognized practitioner, so although he surrendered his formula to the profession under the medical code of ethics, he was honoured and rewarded. I was in no professional position to secure acceptance of Essiac, or recognition for its discovery, if I surrendered the formula before the merit of the treatment was established beyond all doubt.

Tenants in my apartment house in Toronto objected to my numerous visitors — the 30 or more daily patients. Besides I could no longer afford to carry on in the city any longer because I had given up nursing. I made no charge for my treatments and depended entirely on occasional voluntary contributions. I felt I could live less expensively in a smaller town, so I went to Timmins, thinking I would go back to nursing. However, Dr. J.A. McInnis (who signed the petition in 1926 and had seen my work in Toronto) asked me to treat cancer patients for him, which I did with very good results.

I later moved to Peterborough, east of Toronto, and lived in a rented house, where I was no sooner moved in than the College of Physicians and Surgeons sent a health officer to issue a warrant for my arrest, again the charge was “practising medicine without a licence”. I have lost count of the number of times I have been threatened with arrest and imprisonment for treating patients with Essiac.

The health officer talked to me and some of my patients and then told me: “I am not going to issue this warrant; I am going back to talk to Dr. Noble, my chief.” Dr. R.J. Noble was head of the College of Physicians and Surgeons.

The next day I wrote to The Hon. Dr. J.A. Faulkner, the Minister of Health, and asked for a hearing. I received a letter granting me a hearing on the following Monday at 2 p.m. I got in touch with doctors who had sent patients to me, and five of them together with 12 patients went with me to the hearing. We were received very graciously at Queens Park by Dr. Faulkner, his Deputy Minister The Hon. B.T. McGee and other doctors of National Health and Welfare.

After I presented my cases, Dr. Faulkner said that I could carry on, provided the patients came with their doctor’s written diagnoses, and that I did not make a charge. “My only ambition, I told Dr. Faulkner, “is to prove Essiac on its merit, and make it acceptable to the medical profession.”

So I started back for Peterborough, very proud and happy that I could continue to help patients. The look of gratitude I saw in their eyes when relief from pain was accomplished, and the hope and cheerfulness that returned when they saw their malignancies reduced, was pay enough for all my efforts.

I had faith that if I trusted in God and did my best, a way to support my work would be found. I remembered our St. Joseph’s Church in my home town of Bracebridge, Ontario, and the window in it dedicated to the memory of my mother, Frizelda (Potvin) Caisse. She and my father raised their eight girls and three boys to love and fear God, and to believe that respect and love of our fellow man were more important than riches.

I never dreamed of the opposition and the persecution that would be my lot in trying to help suffering humanity with no thought of personal gain.

I have never claimed that my treatment cures cancer — although many of my patients and the doctors with whom I have worked, claim that it does. My goal has been control of cancer, and alleviation of pain. Diabetes, pernicious anemia and arthritis are not curable; but with insulin, liver extract and adrenal cortex extracts, “incurables” live out comfortable, controlled life spans.

Cancer patients were successfully treated by me for over 25 years using Essiac hypodermically and orally. Since I am a nurse and not a physician, I never gave the treatment until I had written diagnosis of cancer signed by a qualified doctor. I administered my treatment under the observation of doctors.

Bracebridge Clinic (in the words of Rene Caisse)

A few days after the hearing before the Department of National Health and Welfare, Dr. Albert Bastedo, of Bracebridge, called me. He had sent a patient to me with cancer of the bowel, and was greatly impressed with the results of my treatment with ESSIAC. He told me he had gone before the Bracebridge Town Council and had asked that they offer me the old British Lion Hotel building to be used as Rene Caisse’s clinic, if I would return to my home town to practice. He persuaded me to accept this offer.The Mayor and the Council of Bracebridge were very enthusiastic about getting the clinic started. With the help of friends, relatives and patients, I furnished an office, dispensary, reception room and five treatment rooms.

From 1934 to 1942 I paid the Council the sum of $1.00 per month for the building and there was a large “CANCER CLINIC” sign on the door. I treated thousands of patients who came from far and near, most of them given up as hopeless after everything in medical science had failed. Some arrived in ambulances, receiving their first treatments lying down in an ambulance; after a few treatments they walked into the clinic without help.

I had absolute faith that I could accumulate enough proof of results obtained with different types of cancer, as demanded by the Cancer Society, the medical profession would eventually be glad to accept Essiac as an approved treatment.

I did not know then of an organized effort to keep a cancer cure from being discovered, especially by an independent researcher not affiliated with any organization supported by private or public funds. Tremendous sums have been raised and appropriated for official cancer research during the past 50 years, with almost nothing new or productive discovered. It would make these foundations look pretty silly, if an obscure Canadian nurse discovered an effective treatment for cancer!

My own dear mother became ill…
About the time I opened my Cancer Clinic in Bracebridge, my own dear mother became ill. The four local doctors said she had gallstones, and her heart was too weak for surgery. Mother was 72 years old at the time.

As she got worse, I insisted on calling Dr. Roscoe Graham, a consulting specialist of international fame, for an examination and consultation with the other doctors. After the consultation, Dr. Graham came to me and said: “Your mother has cancer, Miss Caisse. Her liver is a nodular mass.”

Dr. McGibbon, a local doctor who was set against my cancer work, said very sarcastically, “Why don’t you do something?”

I’m certainly going to try, doctor,” I replied. And I asked Dr. Graham, “How long does she have to live?” Dr. Graham thought it would be only a matter of days.

I immediately started treating her with ESSIAC. I gave it daily for 10 days. When she improved I reduced the treatment to three a week, then to two, then to one. She continued to improve.To make a long story short, my mother completely recovered. She passed away quietly after her 90th birthday — without pain, just a tired heart.

This repaid me for all my work — giving my mother 18 years of life she would not have had without ESSIAC. It made up for the great deal of persecution I have endured at the hands of the medical world.

A few to investigate doctors in the United States became sufficiently interested in Essiac the John Wolfer of treatment. Some people from Chicago who knew my work persuaded Dr. the treat patients in Alumni Association of Northwestern University at Chicago, to have me a Chicago clinic under the observation of their doctors.

A consultant specialist took me to see Dr. Wolfer and read the histories of the cases selected for my treatment — all hopeless or terminal. I looked the histories over and asked “when would you like me to start, doctor?” He looked surprised because, as he told me later, he had expected me to turn them down.

I arranged to be in Chicago to treat these patients each Thursday, under observation of five doctors. The consulting specialist asked me, as he took me back to the home of friends in Chicago, why I had accepted these terrible cases.

“I will show results that will surprise your doctors, even in these late stages of the disease,” I told him. “The results will be enough to interest even the most sceptical doctors.”

I was proved right. Later, these doctors offered to open a clinic for me in the Passervant Hospital in Chicago, if I would stay in the United States.

Dr. Richard Leonardo, a surgical specialist and coroner of Rochester, NY, at first scoffed at the idea of any merit in my work. “The only way to prove or disprove the merit of Essiac,” I told him, “is to remain in the clinic and see the patients and observe my work and results.” He decided to do so.

The first day he stayed and talked to patients; then he told me he was satisfied that I was getting results, but it was my faith and encouragement that brought hope and improvement to my patients — not my treatment. “These results are entirely psychological” he stated emphatically.

The second day I invited him to come into my treatment room, examine patients and watch me administer the treatment. We had many advanced cases of cancer and I did not finish in the clinic until 7:30 p.m.; he stayed until the last patient left.

“Young lady,” he told me, “I must congratulate you. You have made a wonderful discovery.”

Dr. Leonardo stayed for four days examining patients and became more and more interested in my results.

“I like your method of treatment,” he said. “I feel it will change the whole theory of cancer treatment and will eventually do away with surgery, radium and x-ray treatments for cancer.”

He offered to establish and equip a hospital in Rochester if I cared to move there and work with him. I particularly appreciated Dr. Leonardo’s opinion because he had been scientifically trained in Germany, Vienna, London and Scotland and he at first had been so completely sceptical of my treatment.

Both of these offers to establish clinics in the United States were tempting, but my forbears on both sides of my family had come to Canada from France in the 1700’s and I had made up my mind long ago that Canada would get the credit for providing a cure for the world’s most dreaded disease.

Dr. Leonardo’s investigation of my treatment was during the summer of 1937, while Dr. Emma H. Carson of Los Angeles was spending June and July of that year visiting my Bracebridge Clinic and studying the treatment and its result.

Supporters Weigh-In
The following is quoted from a report of August 12, 1937, written for publication by Dr. Emma Carson, M.D.:

 “Several of my world-renowned professional friends (physicians, surgeons and attorneys) and also four famous business officials were spending the winter of 1936-37 in Southern California, and upon various occasions when they visited me I learned of Miss Caisse’s wonderful cancer clinic at Bracebridge, Ontario. Owing to such glowing and impressive reports and the intense interest so earnestly evidenced during these discussions, I became interested. 

“I then expressed a resolve to go to Bracebridge as soon as introductory letters could be exchanged, providing Miss Caisse would invite me to visit her clinic. The invitation was most cordially extended including explicit instructions for my convenience and comfort, her genuine assurance of sincere welcome and her appreciation of the fact that I was coming from a great distance to investigate her work, regardless of my sceptical attitude.

“At 8 a.m. on the fourth day after I received her welcome invitation, I left Los Angeles, enroute to Bracebridge for the exclusive purpose of meeting Miss Rene M. Caisse and ascertaining the real virtue of her Essiac treatments, according to her invitation, and especially appreciative of her promise to demonstrate her method and system personally in her clinical work.

“As I seriously and compassionately surveyed that extraordinary assembly of afflicted people and visually compared them with the most prominent and distinguished clinics I have ever witnessed either in this or foreign countries, I vividly realized I had never before seen or been in any manner associated with such a remarkably cheerful and sympathetic clinic, regardless of size, location or number of persons; or attended a more peaceful, sympathetic clinic anywhere.

“I was also assured by patients that they voluntarily abandoned narcotics and sedatives of every denomination, that had been prescribed to them by their physicians who had attended them previous to their adoption of Essiac treatments, and very soon after the first treatment of Essiac.

“My scepticism neither yielded nor became subdued by the hopes and faith so definitely expressed by the Clinic patients and their friends. However, I candidly admit that my curiosity became greatly augmented, and I resolved that scepticism should not blind my eyes or oppose my thorough investigation of the real efficacy of the Essiac treatment for cancer.

“Several prominent physicians and surgeons, who are quite familiar with the indisputable results obtained in response to Miss Rene M. Caisse’s Essiac treatments, and who have also asserted their intense interest in Cancer Research Work, including the investigation of the most prominent advocated remedial treatments for cancer, really conceded to me that Rene M. Caisse’s treatment is the most humane, satisfactory and frequently successful (in consideration of her unavoidable limitations due to certain restrictions) remedy for annihilation of cancer “that could be found at that time”.

“I candidly explained the motive that inspired the purpose that determined my visit to the Bracebridge Cancer Clinic. I hoped to obtain visibly authenticated proof that would sufficiently convince and satisfactorily establish incontrovertible evidence of Essiac as a reliable remedial agent for cancer.

“Miss Caisse explained her earnest desire to conscientiously provide all verified information, both favourable and unfavourable, to aid and establish unbiased and impartial conclusions, decisively confirmed, as a merited compensation for my long distance trip, made for the purpose of obtaining convincing evidence concerning the real merits of ESSIAC.

“I diligently proceeded in quest of the definitely assured results accomplished by the use of ESSIAC, and attributed to Miss Rene Caisse’s treatment for cancer. I firmly resolved that my investigation must be based on unprejudiced judgement.

“Miss Caisse does not even suggest ‘cure all’ pertaining to her ESSIAC remedy. When asked if her ESSIAC will cure cancer, she always replies:


    ‘If it does not cure cancer it will afford relief, if the patient has sufficient vitality remaining to enable him to respond to treatment.’


“The vast majority of Miss Caisse’s patients were brought for treatment after surgery, radium, x-rays, emplastrums, etc. had failed to be helpful and the patients pronounced incurable or hopeless cases. Really, the progress obtainable and the actual results from ESSIAC treatments and the rapidity of repair were absolutely marvellous, and must be seen to convincingly confirm belief.

“I was intently engaged in reviewing, comparing and summarizing my accumulation of data, records, histories etc., and mentally visualized each patient and his apparently miraculous progress toward recovery, when I realized that scepticism had deserted me, or in recognition of defeat folded its tent, like the Arabs, and silently passed away.

“When I arrived in Bracebridge, I contemplated remaining 12 hours, at least not more than 48 hours. Miss Caisse and her ESSIAC treatment and her patients were responsible for the unlimited extension of my time in Bracebridge and Toronto, as I remained 24 days and spent about 16 days at Toronto.

“During the three weeks of the time I visited Bracebridge and neighbouring cities and towns, I examined and investigated results obtained by ESSIAC treatments including 400 patients.

“I am pleased to assure all interested persons that I paid my own expenses and investigated ESSIAC to satisfy my own interest in cancer victims and learn of some remedial agent for cancer that had proved itself superior in every respect to all else, and which I could conscientiously recommend to my friends and interested persons.

“I can certainly express my genuine regrets that Ontario is so far and difficult to reach for cancer sufferers from California. Transportation covering such long distances is certainly an important consideration for the safety and comfort of invalids.

“With sincere interest and hopes that humanity throughout all nations be permitted to obtain Miss Rene Caisse’s remedy ESSIAC according to her philanthropic and humane principles, I remain,”

(Signed: Emma M. Carson, M.D.)
Hayward Hotel Los Angeles, California
August 12, 1937


Dr. Carson’s belief in my cancer theory and treatment reflected that of the many physicians who had followed my work for the preceding ten years.

 On page 3 [of her booklet], I quoted a petition filed in October of 1926. In October of 1936 a similar petition was filed by physicians from Cobden, Ottawa and Timmins; among the doctors signing was Dr. J. A. McInnis, whose name had been included with the 1926 document.

Plaque now on the Lee Building:

“This building was originally constructed and established in 1870 as the British Lion Hotel by two well established actors from England. It was to become the most historic and aristocratic of the many local hotels. The original British Lion Hotel stood close to the corner of the streets. The “new wing”, now known as the “Lee Building” (named in honour of Ernest P. Lee, Q.C.) was added in the early 1900’s. The hotel was a swanky place but fell on hard times with the advent of more mobility and especially when the town was voted “dry”. Having seized the property for taxes, the Town of Bracebridge, by By-Law No. 624 dated November 21, 1935, authorized the building to be used by Rene M. Caisse. Known as the cancer nurse, who used the building as her clinic where she administered her “Essiac” cancer treatment. Hundreds of her patients, many travelling great distances, came to this building for treatment until 1942 when, amidst great controversy, she was forced to close. The building was later purchased and converted to its present use.

Challenging the Establishment (in the words of Rene Caisse)

“Every few years I would make an appointment with whoever was then “The Honourable the Minister of Health for Ontario” and would attend with a group of patients and a petition. First, Dr. Robb, then Dr. Faulkner and The Honourable Harold Kirby. Each year the group of patients would be more numerous, and the petitions would carry more names.The last petition was presented in 1938 with a Bill requesting our government to legalize my ESSIAC treatment.

In 1938 a Bill was presented to the 2nd Session of the 20th Legislature of Ontario for:


Attached to the Bill were petitions bearing names of more than fifty-five thousand (55,000) persons who were in favour of its passage. Of this number, three hundred and eighty-seven (387) were patients, and many were doctors.

The bill was presented by Mr. J. Frank Kelly, a Liberal member of Parliament, and by Mr. Leopold McCaulley, a Conservative member. It was presented to the second session of the 20th Legislature in Ontario; the Committee consisted of 59 members of Parliament. The Bill failed by only three votes. It would have authorized the practice of the treatment of cancer by a specialist without a medical rating. This was a position never before heard of in the conservative history of the Dominion of Canada.

I learned later that this unusual bill authorizing me to practice medicine in the treatment of cancer would no doubt have actually been approved by the Legislature, except that members of the medical profession assured the members that if the bill was not passed they would then sponsor the appointment of a “Cancer Commission” to hear my case and to give my treatment a fair hearing.

NOTE: It came to light later that the Canadian Medical Association had debated my case with the Legislature before my hearing and had made this false promise.

Soon after the hearing of my Bill, the Legislature Assembly in Ontario passed “AN ACT FOR THE INVESTIGATION OF REMEDIES FOR CANCER”. This Act provided, among other things, that:

“The Commission may require any person who advertises, offers for sale, holds out, distributes, sells or advertises either free of charge or for gain, hire or hope of reward, any substance or method of treatment as a remedy for cancer, to submit samples of such substance or a description of such treatment, and samples of such substance used with such treatment to the Commission together with the formula of such substance and such other information pertaining to such substance or method of treatment as the Commission may determine.”

I immediately closed my clinic, and reopened it only at the urgent request of the Minister of Health, The Honourable Harold J. Kirby and the Premier of Ontario, The Honourable Mitchell Hepburn.

The Honourable Mitchell Hepburn said at the time this Act was passed: “The onus is on the medical profession now. They must either prove or disprove Miss Caisse’s claims, and I do not believe they can disprove them. I am in sympathy with Miss Caisse’s work and will do all in my power to help her.”

The Premier answered an inquiry from Mrs. Wilfred Raney, of Sunbridge, Ohio, about my treatment, stating that I could “carry on” as in the past. His letter of June 8, 1938, is attached [and reads as follows]:

Mrs. Wilfred Raney
Sundridge, Ontario

Dear Mrs. Raney:

In reply to your letter of recent date relative to Miss Rene M. Caisse’s cancer cure, I wish to advise you that the Commission for the investigation of so-called cancer cures has not been set up as yet. Miss Caisse is in the same position today as she was prior to the passing of An Act for the Investigation of the Remedies for Cancer. There has been no interference whatever by the department of health, nor by any department of the government.

The Minister of Health and the Deputy Minister have personally interviewed Miss Caisse, and she has been advised that she can carry on her treatment in the meantime the same as she has done in the past.

With kind regards, I remain
Yours very sincerely,

(Signed Mitchell Hepburn)

Eventually, on December 31, 1939, the Commission into the Investigation of Cancer Remedies brought in its report which read in part:

“After careful examination of all the evidence submitted and analyzed herewith and, not forgetting the fact that the patients, or a number of them, who came before the Commission, felt they had been benefitted by the treatment which they had received, the Commission is of the opinion that the evidence adduced does not justify any favourable conclusion as to the merits of ESSIAC as a remedy for cancer and would so report.”

It is my opinion, that the hearing of my case before the Cancer Commission was one of the greatest farces ever perpetrated in the history of medicine. More than 380 patients came to be heard, and the Commission limited the Hearings to 49 patients. Then, in their report stated that I had taken only 49 patients to be heard! They stated that x-ray reports were not acceptable for diagnosis, and that the 49 doctors had made wrong or mistaken diagnosis.

It is a sad state of affairs if doctors can diagnose an affliction as “Cancer” and send the patients home with a few months (at most) to live, if they are not sure. In the 49 cases examined by the Commission, the majority had been diagnosed by more than one physician. Some of them had three or four doctors, and were told they had cancer, and were treated for malignancy before coming to me for ESSIAC treatment.

The Cancer Commission at the Hearing admitted that every patient presented had benefitted or been cured by ESSIAC: many of them with pathological findings and reports, but they said the doctors had been mistaken in diagnosing the cases.

Over 300 patients were waiting to be heard but the Commission stated they had seen enough to give a report.

The Cancer Commission made much of the fact that I had not furnished them with the formula of ESSIAC or with samples thereof. What they did not state was that I had been offering to the proper authorities for years my formula providing they would admit some merit for ESSIAC on the CLINICAL PROOF I presented.

I had offered to give it to them if they assured me that it would not be shelved (as was done with penicillin). So I did not give out my formula and they published the bald statement that “I refused to give my formula”.

My files reflect hundreds of documented cases concerning the proven efficacy of ESSIAC with cancer patients, including many of the 49 that the Cancer Commission turned down for dubious reasons. I will give just two cases of patients who appeared before the Commission in July of 1939, and who were alive and well 20 or more years later.

Mr. Walter Hampson, Utterson, Ontario. Age 34 in Nov., 1937.
Diagnosis: squamous carcinoma of lip.
Doctors: Dr. Ansley, Pathologist; Dr. A.F. Bastedo, Bracebridge, Ontario.

After the pathologists report, Dr. Bastedo urged Mr. Hampson to go at once to have radium treatment as he had no time to lose. Mr. Hampson came to me for treatment and was cured. When he went before the Cancer Commission on July 4, 1939, with other patients, they listed his case as “recovery due to surgery”. The only surgery he had was the removal of a small section for the biopsy which showed the cancer!

Note: Mr. Hampson was well on May 4, 1960.

Mr. Herbert Rawson, Bracebridge, Ontario. Age 48 in 1935.
Diagnosis: carcinoma of rectum, confirmed by x-ray.
Doctors: Dr. A. F. Bastedo and Dr. Kenny

Patient had a hard mass with sloughing and bleeding and great pain. When he refused surgery, Dr. Kenny gave Miss Rene Caisse a written diagnosis with permission to treat with ESSIAC. Treatments began in April of 1935 and the last of 30 was given on May 1, 1936, and a good improvement in weight. Patient was able to work during treatment period except for one month of rest. No trace of cancer found in 1936 when he was examined by Doctors W.C. Arnold of Ottawa, Herbert Monthorne of Timmins, Ont., and F. Greig of Bracebridge, Ont.

Note: Mr. Rawson died of a stroke on May 22, 1960 at age 73 .

In 1963 Mrs. Carline Donald died at age 79 – Mr. John McNee died at age 95 this same year. Both had been cured of cancer at the Bracebridge Clinic, but no doubt the investigators would now claim they never did have cancer. It seems the only cases they admit had cancer are the ones who died of it. In spite of all the research and conventional treatments.

One of the well-known cancer victims who was informed about my treatment was Lady Eva Peron in Argentina. The contact was made by the Honorable Godfrey A. P. V. Winter-Baumgarten representing THEOPOLIS, in Rome. The Honorable Winter-Baumgarten had heard the excellent results from ESSIAC and he wrote to Eva Peron on June 6, 1952, and to me on June 14. She did not take advantage of his offer to help her get ESSIAC treatment, and she died soon afterwards.

The Prime Ministers, The Ministers of Health and later the Cancer Commissioners and the Attorneys-General of Ontario received hundreds of letters and pleas from patients and their doctors regarding ESSIAC. Many of the 55,000 persons who signed the petition supporting the bill to recognize and legalize my treatment, also wrote letters. The Cancer Commissioners, backed by certain medical groups, were deaf to the appeals, and used the same biased interpretations of data as have been placed on other treatments indicated for cancer, unless limited to their approved surgery, radiation and toxic drugs. It is my honest opinion that if apple cider vinegar were found to benefit cancer patients, it would be banned from the public!

Essiac Today

Rene Caisse continues to be loved and remembered for her contribution to naturopathic medicine. Sculptures of Nurse Caisse have been dedicated in Bracebridge and at the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine in Toronto.


Written by Tracey

September 17, 2008 at 3:20 am

One Response

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  1. Oh, Tracey, thank you sooooo much for posting this. Just yesterday at my first apt. with my NMD, Dr. Huber, she mentioned Essiac and told us where to purchase some. As you know, I start my first IV of Vitamin C & Bicarbonate of Soda plus all that other stuff she’s putting in my “special cocktail”. Afterwards, we’ll pick up some Essiac.

    I hope Jack reads this article. As soon as the Ojibwa’s of Canada were mentioned, I knew it was the same tea he got for his Dad. And, this will be an encouraging article for him to read.

    Thanks again,


    September 18, 2008 at 12:03 am

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