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Essiac or Flor Essence?

When Compassion Response Network explored the market for the best quality Essiac products, we found that there were two similar but different products available, Essiac and Flor Essence. Essiac, as explained in the Wildfire article of an interview with Dr Gary Glum, is a herbal tea from a mixture of 4 dried herbs, Burdock root, Sheep Sorrel, Slippery Elm bark, Turkish Rhubarb root. The difference between Essiac and Flor Essence is explained in the following article by Flora.

Flor Essence is similar but not identical to Essiac. Following is a little of the history of this remarkable tea, in point form so the differences between these two products are more clearly understood:

Which is the Better, Essiac or Flor Essence?

It is interesting that Flor Essence is derived from the eight herbal teas used by the native Americans. This is the thought that clearly attracted Dr Brusch to develop a herbal formula from these eight herbs.

But Rene Caisse developed the 4-herbal Essiac formula with extensive testing over a 50-year period. Unfortunately, Rene kept her formula secret, except for perhaps two or three people.

Dr Gary Glum bought the Essiac formula recorded by Mary McPherson before she died. Mary McPherson was a long-time trusted friend of Rene's and Rene only trusted Mary to make the Essiac tea for her. No-one has tested these herbs as much as Rene Caisse has, and the four Essiac herbs, burdock root, sheep sorrel, slippery elm, and turkey rhubarb root, seem to be what got for Rene Caisse the best and most consistent results.

Compassion Response Network could not decide from the promotional material of both camps which is the better. And most of the treatments and tests by Rene Caisse or by Dr Brusch were for cancer patients, not AIDS patients. So in the end we decided to include both Essiac and Flor Essence in our trials. We can then let the results of the treatment and testing speak for themselves.

Donation of Flor Essence by Flora Manufacturing & Distributing Ltd.

We wrote to Flora Manufacturing, expressing our interest in including Flor Essence in the Harare Project trials and they most generously donated 25 boxes of Flor Essence to Compassion Response Network. This amount they calculated as sufficient to provide "3 patients for 6 months at 2 ounces (of Flor Essence) twice daily", sufficient for our 2003 Harare Project.

Contact details for Flora Manufacturing;
Postal: Flora Manufacturing & Distributing Ltd, Burnaby, BC, Canada
Phone: 604-436-6000
Fax: 604-436-6060

Flor Essence Brewing Instructions

(slightly edited from an article by Flora; the first person here is the Flora representative)


1 – a 12 quart (10 litre) Stainless steel "Soup Stock Pot".

I got mine in the kitchenware aisle at WalMart. These pots are tall enough to give the steam, that rising from the boiling liquid, enough room to recondense and fall back into the liquid again. 12 quarts (10 litres) will be big enough for the contents of one pouch to one box (three pouches).

2 – Strainer.

Mine is the largest of a set of 3 sold together at Dollar stores. They can also be found in the kitchenware aisle at supermarkets. Mine is made of plastic, the handle and sides are solid. The bottom is flat and that is where the mesh is.

3 – 4-cup (1 litre) measuring cup.

Mine is glass, and all it is used for is as a receptacle for the strained hot liquid, before it is poured into the storage jars.

4 – Storage jars.

I use 32 oz (1 litre) sized Mason, Bell or other brand home canning jars. You need 1 – 32oz (1 litre) jar for each pouch you are brewing. I make sure the jars are thoroughly cleaned and rinsed when I start the brewing step. I sterilise the jars when I start the re-heating step.


  1. Put 5 cups or 1 liter of water into pot, add the herbs from one pouch, stir, cover with lid and put on stove burner. Turn burner to high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, and let boil for 10 – 15 minutes.
  2. Remove pot from stove, remove lid and scrape any plant material back into the liquid. Cover with lid and let sit on the kitchen counter for 12 hours. This is the steeping time.
  3. Re-heating

  4. Jar sterilisation: Take clean storage jars, fill with hot water and put in a pot filled with hot water deep enough to cover the jar. The jar can be lying on its side, or standing up. Bring water and jar to a boil and let simmer for 10 minutes. Leave the jar in the hot water until you are ready to fill with the liquid Flor Essence. The lid of the jar should be sterilise by putting in hot water too, but in a smaller pot.
  5. Remove lid from pot of Flor Essence, stir liquid, and place pot on burner without the lid. Turn burner to high, and keep an eye on the liquid. When you see steam rising from the whole surface and the surface seems to be vibrating, it has reached scalding and you can start straining it.
  6. Place strainer on measuring cup, and start pouring all the liquid from the pot through it. As you get toward the bottom of the pot, you will get more sediment coming into your strainer, and it will plug up.
  7. Take a stainless steel teaspoon, and stir the sediment in the strainer to get as much of the liquid to go through as possible. Obviously some of the finer sediment will go through at the same time. I just pour the liquid, sediment and all into the hot jar. Put the lid on the jar, tighten and let cool on kitchen counter.

Points About Flor Essence

  1. Flor Essence must be kept in the refrigerator. It has no preservatives in it when you make it.
  2. If your net result is less than 32 oz, use a deeper pot, to give the steam room to re-condense.
  3. You do NOT have to shake the jar before you measure out the amount you are taking.
  4. If your Flor Essence is very thick, and mucilaginous, and has fine sediment suspended in it, dilute the amount you are taking with hot water, and stir. The viscosity will dissolve and the sediment will fall to the bottom of your glass.
  5. Variations in colour, thickness, and taste can be attributed to the different sources of the herbs, the water you are using, the altitude at which you live and other simple things.
  6. Do NOT take the tea with anything other than water. NO sugar, or other additions at all.
  7. Take the Flor Essence hour before eating or drinking anything else other than water, preferably before breakfast and dinner (supper). This is the easiest time for most people, no matter what time of the day you have these meals.
  8. If you take too much Flor Essence, you may experience excessive nausea, or diarrhea. Cut back to a previous level.
  9. You may experience a cleansing crisis after about 4 weeks, with flu like symptoms such as: fever, headaches, bone and muscle aches, sweating, slight nausea, or maybe some diarrhea. Drink lots of water to minimise these symptoms.


Flora recommended a dosage for the Harare project suitable for Cleansing and Detoxifying: Take 2 oz twice daily (one sixteenth of a 32 oz pot as prepared from one pouch.

Considering that three patients each take 2 oz twice a day, the overall daily usage is 3 x 2 x 2 = 12 oz of pot brew. The brew from one pouch is expected to provide a 32 oz pot, which will in turn provide enough Flor Essence for the three patients for 2 1/2 days.

Compassion Response Network has been provided with 25 boxes or 25 x 3 = 75 pouches. This will last the three patients 2 1/2 x 75 = 187.5 days of treatment, or a touch over 6 months.


(unedited, from an article provided by Flora Manufacturing)

  1. Burdock root - Arctium lappa
  2. Bio-Activities - platelet activating factor (PAF) inhibitor; anti-bacterial; anti-fungal; anti-HIV; protects against cellular damage; anti-carcinogenic; induces apoptosis of tumour cells; cytotoxic; immuno-modulator; anti-tumour; anti-diabetic; cellular differentiation-inducing activity; bifidogenisic; anti-inflammatory; free radical scavenger activity.

    Burdock root has been used as a cancer treatment since the 11th century, when Hildegard of Bingen discovered its powerful healing properties. Since then it has been used likewise in many countries including Russia, China, India and the Americas.

    Burdock root contains a proven anti-cancer compound called arctigenin, which has been shown on scientific studies to have marked anti-tumour activity (G. Dombradi 1970: Journal of Chemotherapy 15:250).

    Other studies have found the herb to decrease mutations in cells exposed to toxic chemicals (K. Morita et al. 1984: Mutation Research 129:1:25). These studies show that the herb exhibits an anti-poisoning effect; animals fed burdock root were protected against several toxic chemicals.

    Burdock root is very safe for consumption, as it has been valued as a food for centuries by the Japanese (J. Tsujita et al. 1979: Nutrition Reports International 20:635). The major sugar (carbohydrate) in the root is inulin (up to 45% of the root), which does not affect insulin levels and thus is often recommended for diabetic patients and is known to be a blood cleanser.

    Burdock root used to be considered "poor man's potatoes", a staple food of many oriental immigrants. It is becoming more popular for its good taste and is now available at some farmers' markets and oriental food stores.

    The root also contains polyacetylenes that kill disease causing bacteria and fungi. This may explain traditional use of the herb against ringworm and several bacterial infections (M. Castleman 1991: The Healing Herbs).

    If your physician agrees, you can try using burdock root in conjunction with other cancer therapies to aid healing.

    CAUTION: Burdock has been shown to be a uterine stimulant and should not be taken by pregnant women.

  3. Sheep Sorrel - Rumex acetosella
  4. Bio-activities - anti-estrogenic; anti-tumour; antioxidant; anti-ulcer; anticancer; cytotoxic; anti-inflammatory; anti-septic; anti-spasmodic; cathartic; viricidal; laxative; immuno-suppressive; vaso-relaxant; anti-diuretic; antibacterial; anti-diarrheal.

    A tea of sheep sorrel has traditionally been used to cool fevers and inflammation and as a diuretic to promote the flow of urine (Foster 1990: Medicinal Plants).

    A good source of vitamin C, it was eaten to prevent scurvy and at least ten native tribes in Canada and the United States used this plant as food and medicine (Turner and Kuhnlein 1991: Traditional Plant Foods of Canadian Indigenous Peoples).

  5. Slippery Elm bark - Ulmus rubra, Ulmus fulva
  6. Bio-activities - anti-inflammatory; demulcent; emollient; anti-oxidant; anti-tumour; reduces bowel transit time; absorbs toxins from the bowel; increases fecal bulk; dilutes stool materials; reduces stool contact with the intestinal mucosa; enhances beneficial colonic bacteria.

    Slippery elm bark is an excellent healing herb that has been used for centuries and is even recognised by The American Food and Drug Administration for its medicinal properties. A decoction of the bark helps soothe the throat and digestive tract. It is safe for even the most sensitive stomach, soothing the inflamed digestive tract and providing nutrients when nothing else can be kept down. The mucilagenous tea is soothing for stomach ulcers. It gives relief from diarrhea with a gentle astringent action and can be used by pregnant women without any side effects.

  7. Turkish Rhubarb root - Rheum palmatum
  8. Bio-activities - anti-inflammatory; anticancer; anti-mutagenic; anti-tumour; cytotoxic; anti-ulcer; cathartic; antiseptic; antispasmodic; immuno-suppressive; vaso-relaxant; viricidal; improves digestion; remedy for digestive ailments; stimulates appetite; choleretic; laxative.

    Used since ancient times, Turkish rhubarb root is an effective remedy for digestive ailments. Traditionally used to improve weak digestion and loss of appetite, it increases both the flow of saliva and gastric secretions (Foster 1990:Medicinal Plants).

    It helps to normalise bowel movements and is considered a safe and effective laxative. Turkish rhubarb root is considered the "Number One" treatment for dysentery and is effective even when nothing else will work; it is said to be almost magical in its ability to alleviate this dreadful tropical scourge without any side effects.

    CAUTION: It is used for the treatment of both diarrhea and constipation, but is contra-indicated in pregnancy.

  9. Red Clover - Trifolium pratense
  10. Bio-activities - anti-estrogen; anticancer; antibacterial; inhibits endothelial cell proliferation; antioxidant; inhibits in-vitro angiogenesis; antimicrobial; inhibits proliferation of tumour cells; cellular differentiation activity; stabilises protein-linked DNA strand breakage and dynamic changes in chromatin structure; dose-dependent inhibition of cell multiplication and induction of cell differentiation; detoxification; increases the activity of phagocytes;

    Thirty-three different cultures around the world use red clover to treat cancer and cancer-like degenerative diseases (J. Hartwell: Journal of Natural Products).

    After researching and reporting this amazing fact, Dr. J. Hartwell of the American National Cancer Institute (NCI) decided to study red clover and has since isolated four separate anti-tumour compounds (Lloydia 3:97).

    The NCI also discovered that this herb contains significant amounts of the antioxidant tocopherol, which has been proven to help prevent breast cancer. Contemporary Chinese research shows that red clover also contains antimicrobial compounds, which are effective against several bacterial, viral and fungal infections (D. Scharz 1993: Thirty Plants that can Save Your Life).

    Red clover facilitates the elimination of wastes and toxins through the skin, kidneys and bowels. This herb also increases the activity of phagocytes, the body's amazing "cleanup" cells, that remove micro-organisms and debris from the blood and mucous.

  11. Blessed Thistle - Cnicus benedictus
  12. Bio-activities - anticancer; cytotoxic activity; anti-tumour; antibiotic; antibacterial; bacteriostatic action against Staphylococcus aureus, S. faecalis choleretic; hypo-lipidemic; relieves dyspepsia, indigestion and liver congestion; anti-cholesterolemic; tonifying; stimulates appetite; anti-inflammatory; anti-HIV and anti-PAF activity of seed lignans.

    This herb was used in ancient times for the treatment of digestive pains. Studies show that it increases gastric juices and bile secretions and is antibacterial (Foster 1990: Medicinal Plants).

    Traditionally used to stimulate appetite, it has also been shown to induce sweating, increase milk production, and act as a mild diuretic: and is still considered specific for digestive complaints and for loss of appetite.

    Through its bitter properties, blessed thistle increases the flow of gastric juices, relieving dyspepsia, indigestion, and the headaches associated with liver congestion. It is believed to improve circulation and blood, thereby strengthening the brain and memory.

  13. Kelp - Laminaria digitata
  14. Bio-activities - anti-inflammatory; demulcent; emollient; protective effect against radiation; anticancer; bifidogenic; increases fecal bulk; reduces bowel transit time; anti-lipemic (lowers cholesterol); antibiotic; immuno-stimulator; anti-tumor; cytotoxic activity; anti-viral; source of iodine; anti-estrogen; hydrasorbent laxative action; soothes intestinal mucosa.

    Used traditionally for the nutritive benefits of its abundant minerals, kelp is also a great source of iodine, which helps to regulate energy levels. The alginates found in kelp have a soothing and cleansing effect of the digestive tract and are known to help prevent the absorption of toxic metals like mercury, cadmium, plutonium and cesium (M. Castleman 1991: The Healing Herbs).

    Kelp is now best recognized for its ability to protect the body against radiation. The sodium alginate in kelp helps prevent the absorption of Strontium-90, a by-product of nuclear power and weapons facilities. Today it is estimated that almost everyone has detectable levels of this toxic metal in their bones, where it continues to accumulate. Studies have shown that alginate supplements can reduce Strontium-90 absorption by as much as 83% (International Journal of Radiation Biology).

    The U.S. Atomic Energy Commission guidelines advocate two tablespoons of an alginate supplement per day to prevent Strontium-90 absorption and the troubles that go with it, such as leukemia, bone cancer and Hodgkin's disease. Kelp is also therapeutic for heart disease, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure.

  15. Watercress - Nasturtium officinale

Bio-activities - anti-cancer; anti-tumour; chemo-preventive; anti-estrogenic; digestive aid; nutritional supplement; blood cleanser; choleretic; cytotoxic; remedy for vitamin deficiency.

The fresh leaves of watercress are a superior "food" medicine high in vitamins A and C and iodine. This herb is an excellent remedy for vitamin deficiency and was traditionally used for that purpose.

Today watercress is a popular item with gourmet chefs and health food restaurants, who love to use it in salads and as a garnish. It has a mild stimulating effect on the metabolism and is known as a blood purifier and diuretic. It has been used since classical times as a detoxicant and restorative in chronic conditions.

Watercress also has therapeutic value for the treatment of lethargy, rheumatism, heart trouble and bronchitis (Foster 1990: Medicinal Plants).

Side Effects and General Hints

There are no known side effects from taking the Flor Essence.

Sometimes minor difficulties, such as stomach upsets, can come from the illness itself.

People taking the tea have never done any kind of detoxifying before may not familiar with detoxification signs, such as: mild diarrhea, or nausea, or a bit of an itchy skin rash. Low grade fever, headaches, muscle aches, or other flu-like symptoms can also be signs of detoxifying.

There are a few other things that can be done to alleviate such reactions.

FIRST - Drink more water. Each of us needs to drink at least 2 liters of water to help the body flush out the toxins and poisons

SECOND - Dilute the Flor*Essence with a little more water when it is taken. Use 120 mls of water instead of 60 mls or even more. Make sure the tea is sipped over maybe 5 minutes or so.

There is no known contraindication for using Flor Essence with any other medical therapy or drug. To the best of our (Flora Manufacturing) knowledge, Flor Essence does not interfere with any allopathic treatment, nor with any alternative treatment.

Because the tea may reduce some of the causative factors of illnesses, the need for medications may be reduced.

The tea is definitely contra-indicated with severe allergic reactions to iodine, because of the kelp. And like many herbs it is best not to take it while pregnant or nursing.

The liquid tea concentrate is stored in the fridge, so it is cold. When the amount to be taken is poured into a glass or cup, and hot water added to it, it will be warmed approx. to body temperature. Many medicinal ingredients in liquids are better absorbed by the body in warm liquids.

DO NOT ever reheat the tea in the microwave oven. Use a stainless steel kettle to heat the water, take the cold tea from the fridge, pour it into a glass and add the hot water from the kettle, the tea warms up to a very pleasant drinking temperature.

Always dilute the tea, whether you buy the pre-prepared liquid concentrate in the bottle, or prepare the concentrate from the dry herbal blend. The dilution should be done with HOT water, as the medicinal qualities appear to be better absorbed when they are warm. SIP the tea when you take it, and swirl each sip around in your mouth when you first take it in. This helps the absorption process because it begins with the skin lining your mouth.

NEVER store the tea in plastic. Please make sure your bottles are sterile, and the liquid, once prepared, is kept in the refrigerator.- DO NOT FREEZE THE LIQUID. This will negate all the active properties.


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