Doctors continue to study all types of cancers, so they can find a cure. More and more people are diagnosed with cancer each year. In 1995, “an estimated 450,000 people in the United States were diagnosed, of which 10% to 15% were already locoregionally advanced” (Ames et al, 1996). Cancer has been affecting people for centuries, where it was “treated with such methods as amputation or by burning the lesion” (Eberlein, 210). A variety of supposed panaceas have been proposed as cures, however, the most modern technology and research has identified three main modalities in the treatment of cancer: surgery, radiation and chemotherapy.
These modalities are most advantageous in ridding the body of cancer and prolonging life as noted in key research studies. Though these methods of treating breast cancer have been prosperous, they come with many side effects. Loss of appetite, weight and pain are the most common symptoms. However research has shown that the use of herbal remedies can also help ease the side effects of cancer in patients. Cancer patients that have used the product Essiac have shown improvement in there health.
Essiac is a product that is not recommended by every doctor, but it has proven its use by curing almost all of the symptoms and in some cases, prolonging the lifespan of cancer victims. Herbal remedies have been around for centuries attempting to cure the ailments of the time. People have long believed in the healing capabilities of homemade herbal remedies as a healthy, less expensive alternative to more conventional and medical treatments. The desires for health 1 Ray and well being cause the public to try a range of panaceas, no matter how far-fetched some cures may appear.
Seeking a cure for her aunt’s stomach and liver cancers, Rene Caisse, a nurse, heard of a herbal cure developed by an Objibwa Indian Medicine Man more than seventy years ago. This Medicine Man gave his remedy, an elixir consisting of four different herbs, to a woman dying of breast cancer. She supposedly recovered and saw no recurrence during her thirty years of remission. Upon hearing this, Caisse gives this elixir to her aunt who then lives for twenty-one more years despite her original terminal prognosis.
With no clinical evidence supporting the validity of this elixir, known today as Essiac (Caisse spelled backwards), health care officials still debate over the relevance of Essiac as a cure for cancer. Essiac is not considered a drug, but a food, and therefore the FDA has not approved it as a “drug” to cure cancer. By combining powdered sheep’s sorrel (Rumex acetosella), burdock root (arctium lappa), slippery elm innerbark (ulmus fulva) and turkey rhubarb root (Rheum palmatum), and taking the daily recommended dose of one ounce each evening, the patient’s immune system should strengthen by “cleansing the blood which allows the blood to heal itself”.
Burdock has been found to produce “considerable antitumor activity… and reduction of cell mutation” (Zick). It also “stimulates bile production and helps liver functions, and is used as a tonic, blood purifier, and cleanser”(Zick). Turkey rhubarb root is a laxative and astringent; it is an effective tonic for the digestive system and acts upon the bowels, removing debris and tightening the tissues. Sheep sorrel is known to sharpen the appetite, assuage heat, cool the liver, and strengthen the heart.
Slippery elm is known as a stomach remedy and wound healer, is healing to the mucous membrane of the entire digestive tract Herbalists theorize that the synergistic interaction of herbal ingredients is the cause for the effectiveness of essiac.
This remedy has anticancer and antiviral properties. It eliminates the 2 Ray pathogens with nontoxic virucides; repairs the liver, pancreas, and kidneys; detoxifies the body by ridding it of metabolic wastes; increases cellular metabolism by normalizing the blood chemistry- rebuilds the immune system and T-cells by regulating the hormonal balance Caisse also noticed that essiac reduced nodular masses to a more normal tissue, while simultaneously lessening the pain In typical cases of breast cancer, the malignancy will metastasize in one breast and then invade either the mammary gland or the auxilla, or both, of the other breast.
Those promoting the use of Essiac as a cure for breast cancer claim that by ingesting the Essiac elixir, the growth resulting because of the primary malignancy will regress into the original growth. While this does increase the original mass, eventually the mass will soften and loosen and then can be removed without the danger of recurrence.
Patients reported that the tumor would enlarge and harden, then start to soften and discharge large amounts of pus and fleshy material, and finally the tumor would disappear. Caisse believed that “one of the herbs in essiac reduced tumor growth, and that the other herbs acted as blood purifiers, carrying away destroyed tissue as well as infections thrown off by the malignancy” (Fox, 385).
She even believed that if the tumor did not disappear, it could be surgically removed with less risk of metastases resulting in new outbreaks. This remedy has been shown to be a benefit to cancer patients because it “supplies the body with secretion resistant to the onslaught of malignant cells” (Fox, 385).
Patients have reported noticed benefits within the first few months of ingesting the nightly dosage of Essiac. Scientists and medical experts still don’t know the true medical effects of Essiac. When Dr. Brusch, a revered doctor, was asked about essiac, he responded, “essiac has tremendous merit to supplement any therapy a cancer patient may be using. I can’t call it a cure, but it definitely has had and still has important merit. I regard it as essential to back any other therapy (Fox, 410). ”
3 Ray Dr. Emma Carson, a Los Angeles physician wrote, “several prominent physicians and surgeons who are quite familiar with the results obtained in response to Essiac treatment for cancer is the most humane, satisfactory and frequently successful remedy for the annihilation of cancer that they had found at that time (Fox, 410). ” Essiac’s effectiveness has been affirmed by, many doctors, and thousands of patients who were submitted to the treatment.
Caisse spoke from the first-hand results she saw after treating thousands of patients, some of which were members of her family. In 1924, Caisse’s aunt Mzera Potvin was found to have cancer of the stomach and told she had only half a year to live.
Rene gave the essiac treatment to her aunt, who went on to live 21 years (Fox, 425). Caisse’s mother was also diagnosed with cancer and told that she had only days to live, Caisse gave her daily injections and she lived another 18 years before losing her life from heart disease (Fox, 425). There are also many testimonials given by patients who were treated with the herbal tea. J. Smith, an 80 year old man, came to see Caisse with a hemorrhaging growth on his face, and within 24 hours of treatment, the bleeding had stopped (Fox, 431).
After more treatments, the growth was noticeably smaller and the hole in his chin started to heal. Another essiac patient was Tony Baziuk who had lip cancer, and had received radium treatment, his lip was so enlarged that he could see it over his nose- he noticed instant relief, and six months later he had returned to work (Fox, 431). Dr. W. C. Arnold was so astounded by Caisse’s reports that he urged her to continue her experiments with mice; after they were injected with human cancer, they responded to essiac injections by living longer, and having regression of the tumors.
Dr. Carson summed it up when she said, “really the progress obtainable and the actual results from ‘Essiac’ treatments and the rapidity of repair was absolutely marvelous and must be seen to convincingly confirm belief (Fox, 440). Since Caisse’s death, doctors have failed faithfully to continue turning in 4 Ray patient reports to the government causing Resperin, Essiac’s marketing company, to fall behind with its records thus slowing completion of statistical data. This lack of data, therefore, causes more difficult marketing for Resperin.
Essiac is not the single panacea for all cancer victims, unless it works as a cure for one of them. As also being mindful that, the danger of limiting oneself to a single formula to treat cancer is: there are many different forms of cancer and they affect the body and its systems in many different ways. Although no scientific evidence exists claiming Essiac as a valid cure for cancer in and of itself, allegedly Essiac, like many other herbal remedies boost the immune system and enable the body to ward off and aid in the resistance to cancer more effectively (Fox, 313).
While Essiac may not be the sole herbal remedy needed to fight breast cancer, there is a need for more homeopathic, less medically draining therapies to aid the victims of breast cancer. While the combination of surgery with some sort of chemotherapy or chemohormonal therapy is medical sciences most advanced cancer treatment, these procedures have such extremely unpleasant side effects as nausea, vomiting and depression (Kaplan et al. , 1993).
As noted in a study (Fox, 345), side effects such as depression may lower immune function, thus making the body more susceptible to various germs as well as having a lower chance of fighting off the cancer.
Used as a person’s only mean of fighting cancer, it is generally not a good idea to use an herbal remedy, as medical science has proven numerous times the success rate of a combined surgery and radiation treatment. However, drinking Essiac while also undergoing a more medically advanced treatment, has not been proven to harm a person, while non-scientific literature has claimed its success. Herbal remedies may not fight off the cancer entirely, but by increasing the strength of the immune system, a patient stands a better chance to ward off unwanted illnesses and diseases. 5 Ray.
Works Cited Ames, Buzdar C.Locally Advanced Non-inflammatory Cancer: Surgical Clinics of North America. New York: Simon, 1996. 393-409. Print Eberlin, T. J. Current Management of Carcinoma of the Breast:Annals of Surgery. London: Penguin, 1994. 210-211. Print.
Fox, Brandon H. Symptoms and Risk of Cancer: From the American Medical Association. New York: Houghton 310- 353. Print. Kaplan, Sallis Jr. Health and Human Behavior of Cancer. San Francisco: McGraw-Hill, 1993. 263-266. Print. Zick, Brent. “Essiac Tea: Is this the new miracle worker? : Possible Cancer treatment. Cancer. org. American Cancer Society, 14 Oct 2011. Web. 15 Feb 2015.