SHEEP SORREL ROOTS
Essiac Essentials -- What is the Secret Ingredient?
Rene Caisse was very secretive about the Essiac tea recipe. The secret ingredient of Essiac tea was discovered by Sheila Snow who obtained letters from Dr. Chester Stock of the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in 1979.
Here is what Rene Caisse stated regarding the importance of using the whole sheep sorrel plant, including sheep sorrel roots:
"The herb that will destroy a cancer is the dog-eared sheep sorrel, sometimes called sourgrass. The entire plant must be used." 1
"The reason I offered to send you more material was because I know you cannot get the entire plant. You can buy the crushed leaves but they are no good alone. I found this out when I needed so much, when treating three to six hundred people afflicted with cancer every week for eight and a half years. I do know that the whole plant is needed." 2
"I am very shocked at the way your people are using the materials I sent you....They are just using leaves and stems, leaving out the roots. They are a part of Essiac." 3
"Dear Dr. Stock; I am worried about not receiving any reports on the tests. I thought about the way the lab had been preparing the material for the tests, and why they were not getting better results, so I read over their preparation and found that they were only using the leaves and stems, leaving out the roots, which are very essential in the 'Essiac' for treatments." 4
Learn more about how we grow our sheep sorrel root here.
Learn more about how we harvest our sheep sorrel roots here.
1. [April 4, 1974 letter to Dr. Chester Stock; Ref. ESSIAC, THE SECRETS OF RENE CAISSE'S HERBAL PHARMACY, p. 28]
2. [January 1975 letter to Dr. Chester Stock; Ref. ESSIAC, THE SECRETS OF RENE CAISSE'S HERBAL PHARMACY, p. 30]
3. [August 4, 1975 letter to Dr. Chester Stock; Ref. ESSIAC, THE SECRETS OF RENE CAISSE'S HERBAL PHARMACY, p. 31]
4. [June 14, 1976 letter to Dr. Chester Stock; Ref. THE ESSIAC BOOK, p. 123]
"If it works, don't change it."
-- Rene M. Caisse, R.N.
Sheep sorrel roots are much more potent than the leaves and the roots contain nutrients which are not present in the leaves. In fact, the potent sheep sorrel roots don't even taste like the leaves--as if they are an entirely different herb!
It takes three years to grow a crop of sheep sorrel roots. Young roots initially have little or no potency or flavor. They are fragile and they are a golden yellow color. In the third year the roots are larger, darker, bitter and tougher. This is when they have they are most potent and have the highest therapeutic or "medicinal" value. They should then be harvested after the first frosts before the ground freezes or in late winter right after the ground thaws and before spring growth.
Click here to read about our Essiac Herb Quality.
BUYER BEWARE: There are only a few websites that claim they include sheep sorrel roots in their Essiac herbs. However, an unethical company could only add a pinch of powdered sheep sorrel roots to a pound of sheep sorrel leaf and legally say that the roots are included. Obviously, such an insignificant or small amount of root will have negligible effect health-wise.
Therefore the only ethical way to prove that roots are included is to state the exact percentage of roots in relation to the total sheep sorrel content and disclose with pictures how the roots are separated from the top of plant. Essiac tea should contain at least 10% sheep sorrel roots. That translates to a minimum of 1.6 ounces of roots in every pound of sheep sorrel herb.
Standard farm machinery cannot accurately separate the roots from the tops. This can only be done by hand in a labor-intensive, time-consuming effort. Therefore it is very expensive to grow and harvest the roots. Due to the high labor costs and smaller root size sheep sorrel roots are more than twice as expensive as ginseng* or goldenseal roots. However, it is not practical or affordable for an organic farmer to employ many workers to hand-trim the roots from the aerial part of the plant. For this reason you will not be able to find a credible sheep sorrel root supplier on the internet.
There are plenty of cheap "Essiac" imitations on the internet. They are cheap because they do not add sheep sorrel roots (in spite of what they may claim on their website). Since Rene Caisse stated that sheep sorrel roots are "very essential" to the Essiac formula, they are falsely claiming it is Essiac.
If sheep sorrel roots are not included in sufficient amount, it is not Essiac.
We are aware of at least one Essiac website that fraudulently claims to have included sheep sorrel roots. Therefore they do not tell you how they grow and harvest them and show pictures of their operations like we do.
Also, several websites claim that Essiac tea has eight herbs instead of four. This is false information that has been disproven with legal documentation from Mary McPherson and Sheila Snow. Click here for more information about these eight-herb teas.
To see how we grow and harvest sheep sorrel roots click on the "Growing Methods" and "Harvesting Roots" links or the buttons at the top of this page.
*Ginseng was plentiful in north America until it became more valuable than gold. Therefore, it was over-harvested and it is now very rare to find it growing in north America.
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