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Cancer Health Center

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Essiac/Flor Essence (PDQ®): Complementary and alternative medicine - Health Professional Information [NCI] - General Information


The manufacturers of Essiac and Flor Essence both state these products can be used in conjunction with other cancer treatments.[1,10] Nonetheless, some proponents of Essiac have recommended that no additional anticancer therapy (such as chemotherapy or radiation therapy) be undertaken while patients are being treated with the mixture.[7] The purported rationale for this statement is that conventional anticancer treatments may alter immune system function and prevent Essiac from working effectively.[7] As indicated previously, no evidence has been reported in the peer-reviewed scientific literature to show that Essiac is an effective treatment for patients with cancer.


  1. Essiac. Kirkland, Canada: Altramed Health Products, 2002. Available online. Last accessed February 3, 2014.
  2. Tamayo C, Richardson MA, Diamond S, et al.: The chemistry and biological activity of herbs used in Flor-Essence herbal tonic and Essiac. Phytother Res 14 (1): 1-14, 2000.
  3. Tamayo C: Essiac for cancer. Alternative Therapies in Women's Health 2 (3): 19-23, 2000.
  4. Kaegi E: Unconventional therapies for cancer: 1. Essiac. The Task Force on Alternative Therapies of the Canadian Breast Cancer Research Initiative. CMAJ 158 (7): 897-902, 1998.
  5. Ernst E, Cassileth BR: How useful are unconventional cancer treatments? Eur J Cancer 35 (11): 1608-13, 1999.
  6. Locock RA: Essiac. Can Pharm J 130: 18-9, 1997.
  7. Herbal treatments. In: US Congress, Office of Technology Assessment.: Unconventional Cancer Treatments. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1990. OTA-H-405, pp 71-5. Also available online. Last accessed February 3, 2014.
  8. Essiac. Toronto, Canada: Canadian Breast Cancer Research Alliance, 1996.
  9. The History of Essiac & Rene Caisse, Canada's Cancer Nurse. Kirkland, Canada: Altramed Health Products, 2001. Available online. Last accessed February 3, 2014.
  10. Flora Flor•Essence®. Burnaby, Canada: Flora Manufacturing & Distributing Ltd. Available online. Last accessed February 3, 2014.
  11. Cheung S, Lim KT, Tai J: Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of ESSIAC and Flor-Essence. Oncol Rep 14 (5): 1345-50, 2005.
  12. Franke AA, Cooney RV, Custer LJ, et al.: Inhibition of neoplastic transformation and bioavailability of dietary flavonoid agents. In: Manthey JA, Buslig BS, eds.: Flavonoids in the Living System. New York, NY: Plenum Press, 1998. Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology, 439, pp 237-48.
  13. Waladkhani AR, Clemens MR: Effect of dietary phytochemicals on cancer development (review) Int J Mol Med 1 (4): 747-53, 1998.
  14. de Witte P: Metabolism and pharmacokinetics of anthranoids. Pharmacology 47 (Suppl 1): 86-97, 1993.
  15. Campbell MJ, Hamilton B, Shoemaker M, et al.: Antiproliferative activity of Chinese medicinal herbs on breast cancer cells in vitro. Anticancer Res 22 (6C): 3843-52, 2002 Nov-Dec.
  16. Ottenweller J, Putt K, Blumenthal EJ, et al.: Inhibition of prostate cancer-cell proliferation by Essiac. J Altern Complement Med 10 (4): 687-91, 2004.
  17. LeMoine L: Essiac: an historical perspective. Can Oncol Nurs J 7 (4): 216-21, 1997.
  18. Bennett LM, Montgomery JL, Steinberg SM, et al.: Flor-Essence herbal tonic does not inhibit mammary tumor development in Sprague Dawley rats. Breast Cancer Res Treat 88 (1): 87-93, 2004.

This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

WebMD Public Information from the National Cancer Institute

Last Updated: 8/, 015
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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