The Individual Herbs of Essiac and Flor Essence
Laboratory and animal experiments have shown that some of the chemicals in the herbs used to make Essiac and Flor Essence have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, estrogenic, or anticancer activity. Reviewed in [7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14,15]
Among the herbs used in both mixtures, burdock root (Arctium lappa L.) contains several flavonoids and polyphenols that have shown antioxidant activity; Indian rhubarb root (Rheum palmatum L.) contains several anthraquinones, including emodin and aloe-emodin, which have demonstrated anti-inflammatory and cytotoxic effects; sheep sorrel (Rumex acetosella L.) contains several types of anthraquinones, including emodin and aloe-emodin, as well as phytoestrogens, which may possess both procancer and anticancer activity; and slippery elm bark (Ulmus fulva Michx.) has been shown to contain antioxidants. Reviewed in [7,8,9,10,11,12,13]
Among the herbs found in Flor Essence alone, watercress (Nasturtium officinale R.Br.) contains phenethyl isothiocyanate (PEITC), which has shown cytotoxic and antitumor activities; blessed thistle (Cnicus benedictus L.) contains cnicin, which is a sesquiterpene lactone that has demonstrated cytotoxic, antitumor, and anti-inflammatory effects, and arctiin and arctigenin, which are lignans that have shown anticancer activity; red clover (Trifolium pratense L.) contains a complex mixture of phytoestrogens including genistein, which has demonstrated antiangiogenic, estrogenic, and procancer and anticancer effects (depending on the dose); and extracts of kelp (Laminaria digitata [Hudson] Lamx.) have shown immunostimulatory and antitumor activities. Reviewed in [7,8,11,12,15]
Whether equivalent concentrations of relevant molecules can be achieved in the bloodstream of individuals who consume Essiac or Flor Essence in the amounts recommended by their manufacturers has not been determined. An uncharacterized Flor Essence commercial product was dosed at amounts less than those recommended by the manufacturers for humans, and there was an increase in tumor incidence in this model.
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- 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.
- Kulp KS, Montgomery JL, Nelson DO, et al.: Essiac and Flor-Essence herbal tonics stimulate the in vitro growth of human breast cancer cells. Breast Cancer Res Treat 98 (3): 249-59, 2006.
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