Message Number: YG3973 | New FHL Archives Search
From: Sukie Crandall
Date: 2001-05-25 16:57:00 UTC
Subject: Essiac

I was privately asked to look up Essiac and told that these are its
ingredients. Since one person asked it is likely that others will so
will get this on file to reduce work.

If there are other ingredients that I should look up, please, let me know.

All of these are for humans; so it's possible that ferrets could differ.

Sheep Sorrel (Rumex acetosa) aka: sorrel
Claimed effects: diuretic, antibacterial. _PDR for Herbal Med...s_
specifically notes that some of the effects are questionable. No
health hazards known in humans at doses required by these meds;
eating very large quantities of the leaves could possibly cause
oxalate poisoning. It's not listed as a Commission E Approved
medication, and there were no listed drug interactions.

Slippery Elm (Ulmus rubra) aka: Red Elm and Sweet Elm is also not
listed as a Commission E Approved, with all of the concomitant lack
of information about it. For it the claimed effects are demulcent
(soothing), emollient (soothing and softening), and soothing to the
digestive tract. There are a number of unproven uses listed as: 1.
treatment of gastritis or ulcers, external treatment of wounds,
burns, skin conditions, swollen glands, gout, and rheumatism. No
known hazards when used per instructions.

Turkish Rhubarb Root was not in the PDR, but the Tyler references
from 1999 have info on a range of such items which come from multiple
plants and are marketed under similar names so may be what they use
or something related. (Info on Tyler: Varro Tyler, PhD, ScD,
Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Pharmacognosy at Purdue U,, has
many honors in pharmacognosy and pharmacy; two books of his used
here are from 1999 and are new editions of _Tyler's Honest Herbal_
and Tyler's Herbs of Choice_ but I don't know how much material was
new then). The species used in herbal meds as rhubarb root come from
a range of species, some of which are used interchangeably in
preparations. (Rheum officinale. R. palmalum, R. emodi, and R.
webbianum). These are indigenous to China, India, Pakistan, or
Nepal, and they are NOT garden rhubarb. This grouping has a potent
laxative effect and can induce colic if not careful. Also referred
to in this grouping id Yellow Dock. (Rumex cripus is usually what is
used but at times R. obtusifolius is substituted.) This is not
garden rhubarb, and also has a laxative action. There is a side note
on Yellow Duck. It has a rumored use for skin conditions which does
not come from its astringent properties, but from it at one time
being used as an unsuccessful "cure" for syphilis and the sores from

Burdock Root (Arctium lappa) aka: Bardana, Beggar's Buttons, Burr
Seed, Clot-Bur, Cocklebur, Fox's Clote, Great Burr, Happy Major (I
kid you not.), Hardock, Hare Burr, Lappa, Love Leaves (Must be why
the major is happy.), Personata, Philanthropium (More reason for the
major to be happy...), Thorny Burr.
Effects: mild antimicrobial effect in vitro.
Unproven claims are uses for: GI complaints, blood "purifying", skin
diseases (externally), sore throat, and ulcers. There are no known
adverse reactions except for a mention of the possibility of some
skin sensitization (the major again?).

I didn't run into mention of that preliminary study the vet of the
person who wrote mentioned (which may pan out on study or may not),
so would appreciate knowing more about that. If anyone can find that
preliminary study indicating that a tumor effect might be present I
would be interested. It's either too recent or too unproven to have
made the references I have. ***Questioner did say that vet noted it
as "preliminary".***

There was no mention of possible bad interactions with medications of
any type, which was one of the person's big questions. There also is
nothing to indicate that it would be of benefit beyond the feeling of
having done/taken something, or the extra attention associated with
that. Since it doesn't seem likely to hurt, though, that's not a
biggie and certainly a very personal choice.