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Essiac Tea: Miracle Cure or Just Another Shameless Cancer Hoax?

Here at Irregular Times we’ve been writing about hoaxes in general, and cancer hoaxes in particular, for some time now. This month, the relevance of the hoaxsters hit home. My wife was diagnosed just a few weeks ago with an apparently incurable and deadly cancer. Since I’ve found out, I have myself felt the desperation for a secret, hidden, or just-developed miracle cure. It’s like a heavy pit in my stomach.

Now that cancer is in my family, I am more angry than ever at the inexcusable yet shameless behavior of snake oil salesmen (and women) who are willing to exploit desperation for a buck, selling “miracle” products that just don’t work. The lies of the snake oil salesmen are magnified by well-meaning people who out of their trusting, faithful and unquestioning natures take the hucksters at their word and spread that word far and wide.

Since my wife’s cancer diagnosis many well-informed friends and acquaintances have helped me find medical centers of excellence whose survival rates are available through analysis of freely available datasets containing outcomes for millions of people. I can check up on the expertise of the doctors we consult by reviewing their history of published research. I’m grateful for the help of these friends and acquaintances who have helped point me in the right direction and provided me with verifiable information.

There are also many friends and acquaintances who have pointed me in the wrong direction. I’m not angry at these friends because I know they’re trying to help. I’m angry at the people who have duped them by taking advantage of their belief in the honesty of human beings who look honest and sound honest. Friends have suggested my wife go on the “Gerson therapy” of juicing and coffee enemas (which not only doesn’t work but can actually harm some people). People tell me all the time that they’ll be praying for my wife’s return to health (although the effect of distant prayer appears in research to be nil). I expected these declarations and was prepared for them with a polite smile, a thank you and a quick segue into another subject.

I wasn’t prepared for the friendly visitor who with heartfelt concern insisted that my wife begin treatments of “Essiac tea.” “This tea was developed by a Canadian nurse after she learned the secret from an Ojibwe medicine man. I learned about it on the internet,” our visitor told me. “She didn’t make a penny on it, and this tea fights all cancers. There have been many cases where doctors can’t find any more cancer and they can’t explain it. There is a recovery rate of 80%. 80%! Your wife needs to start on this right away.” And with that, she put a package of Essiac tea in my hand. You can find versions of my visitor’s story all over the internet, containing various mixes of the above elements, including the claim about an “80% recovery rate” (without documentation).

What is Essiac tea? Well, the preparation I received, sold by the Good Tern Natural Foods Co-Op in Rockland, contained four herbal ingredients: sheep sorrel, burdock root, elm bark and turkey rhubarb. These ingredients are apparently typical, according to the boosterish naturopathic website essiactreatment.com. “Essiac” sounds like an adjective, but it is really just the last name of its developer, Rene Caisse, spelled backwards.

Does Essiac tea really fight all cancers, end cancer, stop cancer? It’d be great if it did. But there’s no evidence from systematic clinical trials indicating that it does. I have not been able to find a single clinical trial in a published, peer-reviewed scientific journal indicating that Essiac tea has any positive effect on cancer — and the National Cancer Institute also asserts that there have not been any published clinical trial results. I have not been able to find any proof of an “80% recovery rate” for people using Essiac tea — not anywhere. A rare publication in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, a sympathetic outlet, describes a retrospective non-experimental study of breast cancer patients that finds no difference between Essiac tea users and non-users in health-related quality of life or mood. That paper references a 1977 Phase II clinical trial that found no effect of Essiac tea on cancer survival; results from the trial were never published. However, a Canadian government review of unpublished trial data determined that Essiac tea had no effect on survival or tumor growth. Researchers at the Lawrence Livermore Libraries have shown that in vitro (outside the body), Essiac tea actually promotes breast cancer tumor growth.

Research summaries by the American Cancer Society, the National Cancer Institute, and Cancer Research UK corroborate these determination that Essiac tea does nothing for cancer. Even naturopathic “guru” Andrew Weill recommends that cancer patients avoid Essiac tea, because while doing nothing for cancer it can disrupt patients’ fluid balance and damage the liver and kidneys.

Those who sell Essiac tea today know full well that there is no demonstrated effect of the tea on cancer — but they continue to peddle and spread the stories and manipulate trusting, good-hearted people like my visitor into spreading the stories. There’s good money to be made peddling this nonsense tea. If you’re curious https://www.essiacproducts.com/secureorder/unitedstates (no hyperlink — I don’t want to reward the company with an actual working link) and review the price of Essiac tea sold by the holder of Rene Caisse’s proprietary license. As of today, a 10.5 fluid-ounce bottle of the stuff costs $38.00, plus shipping and handling fees. That’s a hefty profit, and according to the seller a bottle will only provide enough doses for 7 1/2 days.

People who make money peddling fake cures to desperate people used to merely offend me morally. Now they make me very, very angry. Let’s call these people what they are. Fraudsters. Let’s call Essiac tea what it is. A hoax. The only way to stop this is spread the truth in voices louder than the voices of the fraudsters and the well-meaning people they dupe. Will you do your bit? Will you share the truth?

58 thoughts on “Essiac Tea: Miracle Cure or Just Another Shameless Cancer Hoax?”

  1. Teri says:

    While I understand your anger, as I myself am a cancer survivor, I have seen first hand the benefits of Essiac. Two close friends of mine, one with pancreas cancer and another with lymphoma, both healed/went into remission, etc by using essiac. So, to sit here and call it a hoax is simply not true. While I cannot say it cured their cancer, I also cannot say it didn’t. I understand correlation does not mean causation. However, this is one remedy I would try if my malignant melanoma returned. Just because it doesn’t work for some doesn’t mean it won’t work for others. Big Pharma doesn’t tell the truth. People need to research things for themselves. You might be surprised at how many, “natural remedies” really are remedies. Until our gov & Big Pharma get involved. Look at statins, they are snake venom for Christ sake. Or how people with natural red hair process/absorb medications.

    1. J Clifford says:

      Teri, say that you understand that correlation does not mean causation, however, you don’t express that understanding when you say that friends were healed “by using essiac”. Also, what you describe isn’t even correlation. It is mere anecdotal association. To ask others to risk their survival on the basis of these subjective perceptions is irresponsible.

      1. ELISE says:

        Anecdotal is the best proof there, is to know if something works or if it doesn’t. Watch the Youtube videos, “Cancer- The Forbidden Cures!”, A World Without Cancer, The Truth About Cancer and Death By Medicine. There are alternative remedies for every disease and they have existed for thousands of years because they work! Unlike the evil pharmaceutical industry, whick kills, cripples and maims with their toxic poisons.

      2. Lori says:

        I have two relatives and husband’s coworker that had great results.

        1. J Clifford says:

          Please provide their names and their oncologists’ names if you want your claim to be taken seriously.

          I’d love to interview these people and their doctors about this miracle.

          Could you provide this information for your “70 year old uncle” too, please?

    2. Jim Cook says:

      You have NOT demonstrated that you have “seen first hand the benefits of using Essiac.”

      1. I imagine that at the same time you and your friendswere taking Essiac, you also had other therapies. If so, you don’t know which therapy did what.
      2. Even if I’m wrong and you were ONLY taking Essiac, you still don’t know that you didn’t have a spontaneous regression of malignant myeloma, which can happen on its own: see http://jnci.oxfordjournals.org/content/93/14/1047.full for details.

      There have been a number of people who have looked at Essiac carefully, under controlled scientific conditions, and who have NOT found any positive effect for Essiac, and who HAVE found that its ingredients have the potential to damage internal organs.

      Are you saying that all the people involved in all that research are part of “Big Pharma?” Do you have a shred of proof of that?

      If you don’t have proof to back up what you’re saying, and controlled scientific studies contradict what you’re saying, how can you justify your claims?

    3. Jim Cook says:

      I’m so bothered by the irresponsible anecdotal anti-science “Big Pharma” conspiracy theory Teri posted that I’ve written a separate article taking the time and space to rebut the absurd claim. Read it here: http://irregulartimes.com/2014/09/11/is-big-pharma-really-conspiring-with-the-government-to-hide-an-essiac-tea-cure-for-cancer/ .

    4. Elise says:

      You must not use the most holy name of our Savior blasphemously! It is a sin that cries to Heaven for vengeance!

  2. tricia mcintosh says:

    Biggest scam there is. Even the people selling it couldnt save thier own family members from.cancer or als. Willards water is a joke too. This should be looked into by dea. Selling false hope. By the way none of them are drs

    1. alex says:

      This article has definitely been posted to turn people away from the benefits of Essiac Tea. Dont be fooled by this article. You only have to research Essiac Testimonials written or via video, to find REAL PEOPLE who have been helped by this product, Apricot Kernals, vitamin C etc. To the contrary more money is made from Chemo, Radiation etc. Cancer is Big Business.

      1. Jim Cook says:

        OK, Alex. If it’s that simple, show me the double-blinded clinical trial that demonstrates the effectiveness of “Essiac Tea.”

        Waiting for it…

        1. Katia says:

          OK, Jim If it’s that simple, show me which funding bodies will pay as much for an objective, double-blinded clinical trial that demonstrates the effectiveness of “Essiac Tea.” Research and development a company strategy to invest in a cure they can sell – not validate something people could grow for themselves. Which research funding source is completely free from corporate interest or influence?

          Waiting for it…

        2. Hadar says:

          Hey Jim
          Your response sadly shows great ignorance.
          The response to your comment is correct, it is very rare to find trials on non commercial products and even if some one does decide to make one there will be another funded to show the opposite.
          You first have to research on your own who funded the first medical schools, who funded and pushed the mass coerced schooling of the population all in order to create robotic citizens that do not question authority, once you understand that you can start being free of the mantras you are being taught. Scientific trials is just one way to gain knowledge, two other very important ones are self experience and tradition which accumulate wisdom over hundreds of years.
          If you will start researching on your own natural alternatives to the drugs being prescribed by the robot educated doctors you will be surprised on what works.
          Today thanks for the internet you can find much more first hand experience of natural remedies that work,
          I don’t know about essiac but i’ve myself replaced drugs prescribed to my kids with natural remedies after researching and had effective results.
          I’m not saying modern medicine isn’t a great success but that you should be very very skeptic where big money is involved.

      2. Lori says:

        I agree with you.

        1. Lori says:

          I said I agreed with the one who has seen great results with the tea. Just in case my reply
          was not clear.

    2. ELISE says:

      The woman who brought Essiac tea to thepublic was a registered nurse and worked with Dr. Charles Brusch for many years to refined the formula. Watch the Youtube video, “Cancer-The Forbidden Cures!” and “Death By Medicine-A Film By Gary Null, before you open your mouth to reveal your ignorance!

  3. Dave says:

    If nothing else, Essiac Tea may provide just a little hope for a little while. There is no hope with conventional treatment. Only 2 out of a 100 cancer patients live 5 years after diagnosis. There are statistics that show that all of these mammograms are actually causing the rise in breast cancer. Radiation treatments and chemotherapy treatments are proven to cause secondary cancers. I was just diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. My doctor said she would not take any of the conventional treatments if it were here. I don’t know that she would say that in public. She said it privately with me after telling me I was going to die of lung cancer. If you look at the history of Essiac, you will find hundreds, if not thousands of people will to testify that Essiac has helped them. I also condemn the quackery. Just remember that aspirin at one time was a folk remedy.

  4. Robin Rosemary says:

    Mr. Cook, thank you so much for writing this piece. I’m currently waiting to hear if a tentative diagnosis of myeloma is correct, and my husband just called me to tell me that today a mutual friend spent half a hour telling him about essiac tea and how it can cure cancer. The excitement and hope in his voice just about did me in. Much as I loathe ‘big pharma’, my distrust of corporate values has not made me a complete and utter idiot, so I told him that I’d do some research and talk to him about it when he got home.
    Well, I did some research, and ended up reading probably about 70 first-hand accounts of how essiac cured someone’s cancer, or shrank their tumours, or made the side effects of chemotherapy more bearable. It’s amazing, how so many people say that it was the essiac that cured them, and not the chemo. Correlation or causation, indeed.
    I will add your post to the many others I have found that state essiac is not only not a cure, it can in fact cause kidney or liver damage. Thank you again, and I’m sorry to hear about your wife.

    1. ELISE says:

      Jim Cook is a big phatma shill and liar. CHEMO DOES NOT CURE CANCER. IT KILLS THE CANCER CELLS AND THE HEALTHY CELLS AS WELL. WATCH THE YOUTUBE VIDEO, “DEATH BY MEDICINE- A FILM BY GARY NULL”. Essiac Tea boosts the immune system and regulates all the functions of the organs, so they work properly. Keep believing the lies of Cook and others like him, to your own destruction!

      1. Jim Cook says:

        You can say that I’m a shill but (typical for Essiac tea supporters) you don’t have documented proof of that claim. Please be careful. Of course I haven’t taken so much as a penny from pharmaceutical corporations.

  5. Dee says:

    I have been treated with 6 doses of Chemo which killed my immune system but not the cancer as a matter of fact the cancer became stronger! The last two treatments were week long 96 hour constant infusions in the hospital. Then the Dr said oh well there is nothing more we can do you have 6 months to live. So after 700,000 the cancer was NOT cured it killed my healthy cells the Dr never talked about nutrition or stress and gave me no hope or emotional support. The drugs are so toxic they are administered with masks gloves and full body coverage. You are saying a tea can damage your liver or kidneys!! Thats laughable!! What exactly do you think chemotherapy does to the human body??? Until you have been given 6 months to live by the best Drs money can buy I suggest you find something else to do with your time. Chemo does not cure cancer it makes the Dr rich the hospital rich and Big Pharma rich!! I trusted my Drs. I don’t trust them any more they the guy on the corner selling drugs because that’s what it is!!

    1. Jim Cook says:

      I’m not saying it. Scientific tests say it. Essiac tea is toxic.

      1. ELISE says:

        Tell that to the millions of people who have been cured by taking the Essiac tonic! Watch the Youtube video- “Cancer-The Forbidden Cures! Your ignorance is astounding.

      2. Nick says:

        Hey Jim

        This is all analogous to the argument on B17. Your side of the fence say it is toxic due to cyanide. I’ll tell you something. My father was diagnosed with Pancreatic cancer stage IV, 2 months ago. He built up to 40 apricot kernels a day and has had no side affects. Both our GP and Oncologist are not all that keen on administering Chemo. My father has been drinking Essiac tea twice daily for some time now, and has no ill effect. There are just too many individual cases online just like my father who are taking supplemental or natural therapies with no ill effect. The trouble with your comment is that clinical trials and testing of Essiac or any such natural treatment has simply not been conducted or conducted properly. This is confirmed directly by our Oncologist who is a well respected and highly regarded professional. He told us directly that he is not sure if it helps or not as there is no scientific or proper clinical trial to determine effect one way or the other. I think it is safe to say that there is no proper scientific evidence one way or the other and it should be left to the individual to try something to see if they can pro long their lives. Giving one sided opinions is really not the best of advice when in reality stage IV has so little hope in any case. I truly wish the best for all who are diagnosed with this terrible illness!

        1. J Clifford says:

          Okay, what’s the name of your oncologist? We want to contact him to confirm the details of your story, Nick.

          If your story is genuine, you’d want to help us get the story out, right?

          So, why don’t you share the name of that oncologist, Nick?

          1. Sam says:

            Of course the oncologist is going to say he was wrong and the medicine man was right. No way. He is going to do everything in his power to protect the medical profession and its reputation.
            I don’t know why people are getting so embroiled in this argument. either take it or leave it.
            I had a rupturing polyp in my colon for six years and the doctors said that it was piles. I started taking essiac because I knew something was wrong.
            Finally surgeons found and removed the large cancerous looking polyp and were surprised that it wasn’t cancerous. This was a routine check up at 60.
            I didn’t have piles either. I am convinced that the tea kept any cancer at bay.
            I now occasionally take essiac as a precaution. If it works, then that’s a bonus.

          2. J Clifford says:

            Have you noticed that no one who comes here promoting essiac tea is willing to share the name of their relatives and doctors to provide actual testimony?

            These stories are complete fakes.

  6. mary says:

    Hi I have a fiend in NJ who was just diagnosed with her third cancer in 8 years. AML leukemia . I have done a lot of research and read a lot about ESSIAC Tea. What a lot of people don’t realize is that Rene Caisse gave Sloan Kettering and other labs to test a FOUR ingredient tea. Her tea formula was EIGHT herbs not FOUR. The reason she did this is because she did not trust the Medical establishment and was afraid her real formula would be “exploited” .She did work with Dr Brusch in Massachusetts who she trusted . If you buy 8 herb tea that is most likely the one she used. If I get cancer God forbid- I would try this in a heartbeat. Mary D

    1. Sandy Robertson says:

      Think you may be wrong there. From everything I’ve read, the 8 herb was an adaptation by a colleague of hers and most people say stick to the original 4.

  7. WHonoimmuno says:

    Big Pharma aren’t interested in cheap effective cures. Not convinced? Look up Coley’s toxins. Cheap, effective (In the hands of someone properly trained and using the procedure correctly) and has better CURE rates than chemo or radiotherapy. Was invented before them, but they cost more (More profits for Pharma) and have slightly better targeting of cancers, that is NOT to say they work better, they don’t, but Coley’s toxins do have the issue that they cure say ~41% of sarcoma patients (fantastically high cure rate) but it kills the other 59% (Who would have died slowly and painfully from their cancers anyway). So how can a slow, expensive painful death be better than a cure or a quick out? That is for the individual to decide, bear in mind that this treatment method was invented in the late 1800’s and if it had been researched and refined by big pharma it would most likely be the most effective treatment for most cancers today. Don’t forget, conventional treatments kill patients too, they have off=target effects too, they cause other cancers too, they fail to work at all in some people too, they are damn expensive, they have brutal side effects in some cases and actually shorten the lives of some people being treated with them even if they don’t kill them. At present there is no magic bullet, there are some less than conventional treatments with amazing cure rates, but really bad outcomes otherwise. Much the same as conventional. If anyone wants to argue that’s fine. Get a degree in cancer immunology and I’ll see you at a convention sometime. I’ve seen much anecdotal evidence that Essiac really does stand alongside some conventional treatments. It’s no surprise it has toxicities, so do chemotherapies, that’s how most of them work, they push already stressed cells over the line, the idea is normal cells are capable of recovery and hopefully the most stressed cells (the cancer) aren’t as capable. Just remember, 50 years ago cigarettes were ‘Healthful’ and the current line is that class ‘C’ cannabis and THC are not medicines yet class ‘A’ morphine is more sensible to consume instead? lets see how long that lasts. Methinks you would do better focusing on positively supporting your wife’s health than running down those who are trying (and in some cases succeeding) to help those with no other options…….

    1. Jim Cook says:

      You mean … than noting an utter lack of scientific evidence for the efficacy of this radical tea and the continuing profiteering hucksterism of people who pretend otherwise. A lot of words. Relevant?

      1. ELISE says:

        There are studies that exist that Nurse Rene Caisse and Dr. Charles Brusch and others left behind. Look for them! I don’t need a piece of paper to convince me. I believe first and educate myself later. But I would try anything that is natural over big pharma’s toxic poisons that never cure. They only mask the symptoms and bring on more illness. I don’t believe you have a wife who has cancer. You are a big pharma puppet!

        1. Jim Cook says:

          Well, if you’d like, you can meet her before she dies. Just let me know how you’d like to be contacted, and we can arrange for you to come up to Maine, meet her, and apologize to her face-to-face.

      2. Sandra says:

        you probably don’t believe in God either. That’s right, No scientific studies.

        1. Jim Cook says:

          Well, duh, yeah.

  8. danni says:

    You haven’t got a whole lot to lose with Essiac tea. You can order it off of Amazon and it is relatively cheap. Get the Starwest brand. It comes in a big bag for only about $20 and that will last you months. I have cancer and feel like it is helping me.
    Combine it with a plant based diet, oxygenation through exercise, alkalizing the body through nutrition and some other natural alternatives. All in all this will cost you a couple hundred bucks for a few month’s supplies.

    Compare that to what it costs to fight cancer using the mainstream medical system. I have done both and I know.

    Dan

    1. Jim Cook says:

      It can poison your organs and kill you. I’d say that’s a fair lot to lose.

      1. Lori says:

        If you need to feel that it could hurt your organs, then it may. The six people I have known who used it had NO toxic repercussions at all. My family drinks it every so many months as maintenance. It does not make us sick , just the opposite, we feel more energy, purge through nice bowel movements well and never get a cold. It is a nice tasting tea too. My grandma used to make sheep sorrel soup, for meals. It has a great flavor. I am not sure why you are so h*ll bent on demonizing something that has been around the block long enough to know it I really is an ok alternative to try.

  9. Bruce says:

    Hey Jimmy boy. You sure sound a big pharma flunky. I have been on this earth for 61 years. Have seen my share of people die from the cancer treatments rather than the cancer it’s self. Radiation and chemo are very carcinogenic. Surgery some what better but most of the time spreads that cancer. Essiac and hoxsey both worked better than any of the above. Getting a fair trial in this country will NEVER HAPPEN. The AMA and big pharma has everything locked down tight. In fact I would not doubt if big pharma found a natural cure that they couldn’t synthesize to make more money that they would bury it. Since the days of Nixon’s war on cancer not much has happened in my view. Cut, radiate and poison. Immune therapy only used as a last resort instead of a 1st treatment. Today’s cancer treatments in the USA is a big cash cow for big pharma. They have the money and they rule the roost.
    They try to tell us cancer is genetic but never mention environmental items like roundup in our food, insecticides, plastic leaching into water and food.

    So Jim if you are being paid to say what you are saying or you really really believe what you are saying. Then lets hope if or when you get cancer that you can prove us wrong. I doubt very much that it will happen. Everyone that I have known to get conventional treatment has died withing 2 or 3 years. Only one has died of cancer the others died from infections because the chemo or radiation destroyed their immune systems. The one that died of cancer (My Father) had the cancer spread from the surgery and radiation right after. Now I have prostate cancer and do you think I trust the current medical community? You take your chemo, radiation, and surgery an stick up your…….

    1. Jim Cook says:

      Asshole, my wife is dying of cancer. You know what I say to people accuse me of taking a buck for writing the obvious about this hoax treatment? I say “fuck you.”

      1. Toby Dwyer says:

        I’m terribly sorry about your wife. My wife had breast cancer 6 years ago and modern scientific medicine cut it out and radiotherapy killed any remnants. The surgeon recommended no chemo because in his analysis the first two treatments would suffice. She’s well and cancer free.
        The conspiracy theorists who believe Drs get a kickback from “Big Pharma”, and “Big Pharma” is “peddling poison”, politely forget that those involved in treatment and cure are dads and mums and grandparents and siblings who want to save lives. Who could possibly believe a Dr would deliberately kill a patient for a $100 “kickback” on prescribing chemo drugs? Those who suggest this must be terribly paranoid and scared and powerless.
        And if Essiac tea worked, Big Pharma would repackage it and sell it. Don’t these people understand capitalism?
        I understand the desperation of those with cancer to find a miracle cure, but I don’t understand the conspiracy theories against those who provide proven cures.

        1. Lori says:

          Doubt they would repackage and sell as natural items such as sheep sorrel cannot be patented and if not many people needed cancer treatment because they began to eat it and the other such items, they would have a cancer cow so to speak because of the loss of the industry that employs millions. No illness, no radiation machines, no cancer, no chemo drug, no cancer no cancer doctors. A whole industry down the drain? Sorry, but I do not think they would package it.

    2. Sandra says:

      Hi there. How are you making out with your prostate cancer? Did you use Essiac? I have a friend who just git his prostate removed and now they are saying the cancer spread. I am recommending Essiac. What’s going on with you?

      1. Lori says:

        Sandra, my 70 year old uncle had stage 3 prostate cancer. He started the tea and 6 weeks later when they checked his counts, it was at stage 2. 6 weeks later again it was at stage 1. 6 weeks more and he was “negligible”. (Their words, not mine.) I sure hope anyone who wants a great chance at fighting cancer will give it a whirl.

  10. Karin says:

    I must say that I am appalled by many of the comments written here. It seems like so many of you didn’t even read what Jim Cook wrote. He is not saying that Essiac definitely does not work. What he is saying is to be CAREFUL because (1) There is no reliable scientific study that has proven the effectiveness of Essiac. This statement is true. Because I have friends who are constantly touting Essiac, I too have searched for valid and reliable scientific studies of Essiac, and have found none.

    I think the problem with most of those who claim that “yes, there are scientific studies that prove the effectiveness of Essiac, simply don’t know what is required for a scientific study to considered both valid and reliable.

    First of all, a sufficient number of study participants are needed. The more variables are included in the study, the more participants are needed. And, it’s not a simply addition of variables, but multiplication of variables (e.g., 3×4 = 12 groups, not 3+4), and each group should generally have a MINIMUM of approx. 100 participants. The more participants, the better.

    Second of all, all the participants must be randomly assigned to each condition, and the study organizers must not know who is assigned to what condition (this is what is called “double-blind study” because neither the participants, nor those who run the study knows who is assigned to what).

    Third, there must be careful control of extraneous variables. This means that participants cannot receive any other treatment…only the specific condition tested for; because otherwise it is impossible to know which of the treatments had what effect. Under this umbrella also falls the fact that all study participants must suffer from pretty much an identical illness AND must not have received any prior treatment (as the result otherwise could be a delayed reaction to the previous treatment).

    Fourth, there must be a control group. A control group = a group that receives a placebo, to verify that any result obtained in the actual treatment group was significantly higher than the results of people in the control group (because the believing that something will help can create an illusion that something works even when it actually doesn’t).

    All these things are only for a study to be valid. For a study to be reliable as well, it must be reproducible. This means, that every single variable must be extremely carefully controlled, and documented, so that the exact same study can be repeated over and over again, and should result in pretty much identical (or at least highly similar) conclusions.

    These are just some minor details, to explain the difference between true scientific, empirical studies, and anecdotal evidence, or poorly controlled studies that result in unreliable and non-valid results.

    That said, this doesn’t exclude a strong faith in God. That is an entirely separate thing.

    Lastly, but not least, how dare you come with accusations about being paid by big pharma, when the motivation behind his writing is that his beloved wife is dying of cancer. How insensitive and rude could you possibly be. Please show some compassion. Being upset because you don’t agree with an article doesn’t give you the right to be so insensitive.

    Thank you for allowing me to add my two cents.

    Sincerely,

    – Karin

    1. Jim Cook says:

      Thank you, Karin. Although the cancer is incurable, my wife is doing OK right now.

  11. Karin says:

    Added to post above.

    The original article also said to be careful because some of these substances may be toxic, particularly in higher doses.

    There seems to be this misnomer that natural = safe, even though nothing could be farther from the truth. Natural does NOT equal safe.

    1. Dee says:

      My husband was diagnosed with stage 3 multiple myeloma a year ago. Started chemo and had to stop. Deteriorated to point he couldn’t walk and was in a wheelchair. Spent weeks in hospital. Desperate to find a solution I thought what the heck I will try the Essiac tea. So I have been brewing it myself and giving it to him. His last myeloma pansy improved drastically. He is now up walking and went out for Memorial Day to a picnic. This has to be the Essiac as he is taking no other treatment. The oncologist says keep doing whatever you r doing. I am thankful I found this tea.

      1. J Clifford says:

        Dee, this change doesn’t HAVE to be due to the Essiac tea. The reduction of ill feelings could be due simply to the cessation of chemotherapy. It could also be that the improvement is due to the delayed impact of the chemotherapy. There also could be unknown third factors involved. Causation is extremely difficult to establish, as is the difference between FEELING better and actually BEING better. This is why it’s a mistake to draw conclusions about the efficacy of a therapy from an individual patient. Long-term medical studies involving large numbers of patients are necessary to determine whether a therapy is actually likely to do any good.

        I hope that you’re aware, Dee, that there are many other effective treatments available to deal with multiple myeloma besides chemotherapy. That your husband would only be offered chemotherapy or nothing sounds very suspicious.

      2. Sandy Robertson says:

        Glad you’re having good results for your hubby. Like everyone, I’ve lost relatives and friends to cancer, one a couple days ago. I’m no gullible fool, but after reading everything here it’s plain that Jim is naturally angry at his wife’s suffering and it makes him feel he’s doing something positive by dissing Caisse and her tea. But he really picked the wrong target and his aim is bad. Some docs say that the ingredients CAN cause toxic effects in SOME people? Yep, and you can die from drinking too much water. There have been no extensive trials? Hardly Caisse’s fault. I feel awful for Mrs Cook, but that’s no reason for him to sneer at the success others have had with the tea, created by a nurse who treated patients who had been discarded by conventional treatments, charged little or zero,;and was hounded. Okay, some are making money off the tea now; that has nothing to do with whether it has helped people over decades. When one considers the price gouging lately over HIV meds or that the Harvoni that cleared my hep c last year costs an eye-watering sum per pill, Jim is firing arrows in the wrong direction.
        Love to all here.

        1. Toby Dwyer says:

          Sandy, for me the issue is your statement “the success others have had with the tea”. People who make these claims do not understand the scientific method, and do not question deeply enough the many factors that may have contributed to their remission. During the period they were taking the tea, million other events were happening as well. To attribute remission to the tea is to ignore the other 999,999.

      3. Ken S. says:

        The chemo must have been stopped due to low blood counts. This happens quite often. Normally the patient would be restarted on the same chemo when blood counts improve. Chemo would be stopped also if the efficacy is not there, if the cancer continues to grow while on that chemo. This is very common also. The oncologist would try another chemo at that point. Some patients are diagnosed late and are stage IV. The doctor would still explain the patients condition, and if the patient was at a point where a cure is not possible, palliative care would be offered. The whole picture about your husband is not clear. It does not seem right that a doctor would discharge a cancer patient with no alternative care and just say good luck with the tea where it is working. I would be going to another cancer center for a second opinion before I sole rely on tea. I am incurable. I have had chemo radiation, two surgeries, back on chemo, and now on a targeted drug like chemo. I am in palliative care, and I fortunately feel pretty well. I might try something like tea, or other products when my oncologist tells me I have run out of options by traditional means.

  12. Sandy Robertson says:

    I am a skeptic. And yet…the nurse seems not to have charged her patients, and busloads of them came from all over on her 90th birthday to thank her. If there are no peer reviewed clinical studies that doesn’t show the tea has no benefit, just that nobody could be bothered to look for it. There are numerous versions of the tea available but how accurately they replicate the original is moot.
    I’m all for investigation, but absence of proven efficacy doesn’t equate to proven absence of efficacy.

  13. Christopher says:

    Here is a youtube documentary on Essiac, the Hoxley therapy, and the Gerson therapy, all three of which had a higher success rate than conventional cancer treatment. Modern medicine will never suggest giving Essiac because it is ILLEGAL to prescribe anything besides conventional treatments. If your doctor ever tells you “I don’t want to know what you are doing but whatever you are doing keep doing it” thats a good sign you found one of the treatments that by law they can’t suggest.

    I believe any effort to cure a loved one from cancer is to be commended. I also strongly believe that NOTHING that comes from nature will ever be FDA approved, this does not mean chicken noodle soup doesn’t help cure the common cold. Strictly form an objective standpoint, Essiac is as valid as Chemotherapy or as any other treatment.

    1. J Clifford says:

      Taking money from people who have cancer in exchange for therapies that are not proven to work is not to be commended.

      It’s fraud that preys on people who are sick and frightened.

      This YOUTUBE video you point to is a schlocky documentary filled with nonscientific statements such as “fear anaesthetizes us”.

      It does NOT provide any substantiated, peer-reviewed evidence that Essiac tea, the Hoxley therapy, or the Gerson therapy is a valid treatment for cancer. It’s got a small number of anecdotal stories, many from people in the mid 1900s, and a lot of complaints about the medical industry.

      Assert all you like, Christopher, but you have provided no hard evidence for why anyone should believe a word you’re saying.

      1. Ken S. says:

        Jim sorry to hear about your wife. I too am in an incurable stage of my cancer. As some of you here thump your finger into each other’s chest and feel good about yourselves you need to save the bullshit. Doctors i.e. True doctors that are about trying to save lives utilize the medical means available. If you feel your doctor is tied to drug companies instead of their patients you need to change your doctor. You people have the right to your own opinions but quit talking shit and say it the way it is. There are too many variables in each cancer case which requires different forms of treatment. What might work for me does not work for others. It does not make either wrong. We all respond differently whether it is chemo radiation or alternative therapies. I will die from my soft tissue sarcoma which has now metastasized to my lungs. No tea or chemo or radiation or surgery can cure me. I am just thankful for the strength God gives me each day because I could feel 100 times worse and I Pray for those who suffer far more than I.

        1. Toby Dwyer says:

          Thanks for your appreciation for Drs of Medicine. I’m glad you have God to comfort you with your incurable disease. I hope you get the most out of your remaining time. Love to you, Toby

  14. Ken S. says:

    Everyone hear has bits and pieces of the truth. I have not heard of any cure for cancer. Any cancer. That would have been the biggest news story of the century. There are both medical and alternative treatments along with surgery, that may remove and or control cancer. With todays technology scans may not see cancer, but it does not mean microscopic cells are not still there. That is why we hear the term NED. No evidence of disease. That does not mean you are cured. Even if you are drinking tea, or THC, or traditional medical means. It takes up to 10 years minimum of surveillance before you may be considered cancer free. Which still does not guarantee a future recurrence. We all will die of something one day. What bothers me is hearing people denying themselves or afraid of chemo or radiation for what it MIGHT do to you, when we know what cancer WILL do to you. Just because some people have bad responses to chemo, does not mean everyone will. There are risks with every choice we make when it comes to cancer. You have to make the best choice for today, in hopes for a tomorrow. Alternatives are just that, alternates to traditionally proven treatments, that should only be included secondarily, after consulting with your oncologist.

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