Essiac (Salem Health: Cancer)
Cancers treated or prevented: Essiac is very versatile. The Ojibwa used the herbal mixture to treat various tumors, including breast and stomach cancer. The herbs have also been used to treat leukemias and melanoma in addition to cancer of the bone, colon, esophagus, lung, and prostate.
Delivery routes: Essiac is available in dry (capsules) and liquid (tea or extract) formulas. It is sold as a dietary supplement and therefore is not regulated as a drug.
How this substance works: Each of the four basic herbs in Essiac has been reported to possess antioxidant and anticancer activity. The original claim was that Essiac softened, shrank, and discharged tumors from the body, thereby changing tumors into normal tissue. While there is no scientific evidence to support these claims, ongoing studies of Essiac continue both to refute and to confirm Essiac’s benefits.
Essiac was found to be ineffective in controlling tumors in both older and recent studies by the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and the U.S. National Cancer Institute (the 1950’s to 1980’s), the University of British Columbia (2005), and the University of Michigan (2006). A 2006 study by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, however, determined that Essiac tea possesses potent antioxidant and DNA-protective activity, properties that are common to natural anticancer agents. A Canadian...
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