Rene Caisse

Rene Caisse

A Life Devoted To Treating Cancer Patients
Essiac Home Rene Caisse
The Rene Caisse Story
Rene Caisse obtained the ingredients for her famous herbal tea from a patient in 1922 whilst she worked as head nurse at the Sisters of Providence Hospital in Ontario, Canada. The patient claimed that a native Indian medicine man had told her she had breast cancer and claimed he could cure her with herbs. She had the diagnosis confirmed in Ontario where the doctors said that the cancer was so advanced they would have to perform a mastectomy immediately. Instead she took her chances with the Indian herbal healer and took his brew daily. She reported that her tumours gradually shrank then disappeared. She was cancer-free when Rene Caisse stumbled across her in the hospital nearly thirty years later.

Rene Caisse asked the woman for the formula in case she ever developed cancer herself. However it was Rene’s aunt Mireza Potvin who was diagnosed with advanced cancer of the stomach in 1924 and given just 6 months to live. Rene asked for permission from her aunt’s doctor, Dr R. O. Fisher, to treat her with the herbal brew. The doctor gave his consent. Rene’s aunt drank the herbal brew for two months, during which time she recovered and went on to live another twenty-one years.

Dr. Fisher was so impressed that he teamed up with Rene to treat some of his other cancer patients for whom there was little hope. It wasn’t long before news of the treatment spread to other doctors.


Arctium Lappa Root (Burdock)
Ulmus Fulva Bark (Slippery Elm Bark)
Rheum Pamatum Root (Turkey Red Rhubarb)

Rene Caisse added a fifth herb, Red Clover, when it was in season. For completeness we have added Red Clover, a plant with many healing properties. As well as being used for cancer patients, Red Clover is renowned for promoting a more positive outlook and increasing energy levels.

Burdock Root – Sheep Sorrel – Rhubarb Root
Slippery Elm Bark – Red Clover Firs
Most Essiac Formulas contain just 4 herbs. However
Rene Caisse added a fifth herb, Red Clover, when in season.
Many Essiac Formulas fail to include Red Clover !

In 1926 after having monitored Rene Caisse treating cancer patients under their direction nine doctors petitioned the Canadian Federal Health Department to allow Rene to test her cancer treatment on a large scale. The doctors testified that Essiac reduced tumour size, prolonged life in hopeless cases and showed remarkably beneficial results even where everything else had been tried without effect.

The response came from Ottawa’s Department of Health and Welfare; they sent two doctors to investigate armed with official papers to arrest Rene Caisse or to restrain her from practicing without a license. However one of them, a Dr. W. C. Arnold was so impressed by what he found that he urged Rene to continue her research. He arranged for Rene to conduct laboratory experiments at Christie Street Hospital Laboratories in Toronto, with Dr. Norich and Dr. Lockhead. She did so from 1928 through 1930 with excellent results, significantly extending the life of mice inoculated with Rous Sarcoma.

Rene had been doing further research with other doctors interested in her work. Rene gave up nursing to devote more time to her research and treatment of patients. Rene was determined to discover the precise combination of the herbs that would maximize their effect. Once this was discovered Rene named her brew “Essiac”, simply her name spelt backwards.

Rene Caisse visited Dr. Frederick Banting at the University of Toronto, world famous for his discovery of insulin. After reading studying Rene’s case notes, and examining evidence of patients treated, he said to her: “Miss Caisse, I will not say you have a cure for cancer. But you have more evidence of a beneficial treatment for cancer than anyone in the world.”

Over the following years Rene Caisse treated thousands of patients in a clinic she set up with the help of the town council for Bracebridge. Shortly after the clinic was set up her mother was diagnosed with cancer of the liver, inoperable because she had also had a weak heart. A top specialist from Ontario Dr. Roscoe Graham gave her mother only days to live. Rene treated her mother with her Essiac brew and her mother began to recover after 10 days treatment. She continued on diminishing doses until she regained her full health and passed away quietly from heart disease 18 years later.

Rene was invited by Dr. John Wolfer, director of the tumour clinic at North-western University Medical School to treat thirty terminally ill cancer patients under the direction of 5 doctors in 1937. After supervising 18 months of Essiac therapy the Chicago doctors concluded that the herbal mixture prolonged life, shrank tumours and relieved pain.

Supporters of Rene Caisse submitted a bill to the Canadian parliament in 1938 to allow Rene Caisse to treat cancer patients with Essiac without the constant threat of arrest. Over 55,000 people gave their signatures to support the bill, including patients, their families and many doctors. The bill failed to pass by 3 votes after members of the medical profession assured the committee that if the bill was not passed they would then sponsor the appointment of a “Cancer Commission” to hear the case for Essiac and to give it a fair hearing. This was an unfulfilled promise.

In 1939 a Royal Cancer Commission was set up to investigate alternative cancer therapies. Many believed this was a judicial farce. 387 of Rene Caisse’s patients turned up to testify. Only 49 patients were allowed to be heard. Those that were heard repeatedly told of how their doctors had given up on them only to be restored to health by Rene Caisse. In what many supporters believe to have been a disgraceful charade the commission classified cases as recovery due to orthodox techniques or simple misdiagnosis of cancer.

For example Annie Bonar testified that her uterine and bowel cancer had spread after radiotherapy. She weighed just ninety pounds and was about to have her arm amputated when she opted for Essiac therapy instead. After four months she had gained sixty pounds and was declared cancer free. The Royal Commission listed Annie Bonar’s case as ‘recovery due to radiation’.

Another patient Walter Hampson was restored after Essiac treatment and having refused radiotherapy. Despite only having had a tiny nodule removed for analysis the Commission classified his case as ‘recovery due to surgery’.

In addition the Commission labelled many cases as ‘misdiagnosis’ despite having been diagnosed with cancer by two or more qualified physicians.

Using such tactics the Commission concluded that “the evidence adduced does not justify any favourable conclusions as to the merits of Essiac as a remedy for cancer …”.

In 1942, fearing imprisonment Rene Caisse closed her clinic and continued to treat patients in secrecy from her home. Documents from the Canadian Health Department indicate she was under surveillance during the 1950s.

In 1959 Rene was invited to the Brusch Medical Center in Massachusetts where she treated patients under the supervision of 18 doctors. After 3 months Dr. Charles Brusch and his research director Dr. Charles McClure concluded that Essiac had reduced pain and caused a recession in tumour growth, that patients had gained weight and shown a general improvement in health. They did not claim Essiac was a cure, but concluded it was “of benefit”.

Rene finally gave her formula to the Resperin Corporation in 1977, shortly before her death in 1978. She sold the rights for $1 as the company promised to do clinical trials to prove that Essiac could cure cancer. In 1982 the Canadian government found that clinical evidence did not support claims that Essiac was an effective cancer treatment. However Essiac could be obtained by physician request under Canadian Emergency Drug Release Program.

Disappointed with Resperin Rene Caisse gave her formula to at least 2 trusted friends and the four herbs in the recipe are well known