• Essiac tea

    Asked by StrongSteph on Sunday, April 7, 2013

    Essiac tea

    How do you feel about Essiac tea? I am thinking of adding it to my prevention regimen. Looking for your thoughts.

    2 Answers from the Community

    • melanomamama's Avatar

      About Essiac Tea, an interesting article on the American Cancer Society website at http://www.cancer.org/treatment/treatmentsandsideeffects/complementaryandalternativemedicine/herbsvitaminsandminerals/essiac-tea says that there are no studies showing the effectiveness of Essiac Tea in treating cancer, that it "actually increased growth of breast cancer cells," and that it can have these side effects: "Essiac may cause headache, nausea, diarrhea or constipation, vomiting, low blood sugar, liver damage, and kidney damage. Allergic rashes are possible. Rarely, serious allergic reactions have been reported." They conclude that Essiac Tea is "not helpful in treating people," and that "relying on this type of treatment alone and avoiding or delaying conventional medical care for cancer may have serious health consequences."
      This report from the National Cancer Institute lists the studies that have been done on Essiac Tea, and also concludes that it has no proven cancer benefit in humans. http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/cam/essiac/patient/page2
      I am a firm believer that people have the right to choose their cancer treatments, but that it is important to know whether scientific double-blind studies have shown the effectiveness of a treatment. Apparently, all the claims about Essiac Tea's effectiveness are in the realm of what science considers anecdotal evidence.
      I have survived melanoma for 22 years, and all my treatments have been scientifically studied on humans, and had shown a certain percentage of effectiveness before I chose to undergo them, so I personally choose standard medicine over alternative treatments. That said, I do believe unproven "complementary" treatments along with standard medicine can, if not harmful, help a patient feel more in control of a bad situation.
      Constance Emerson Crooker
      Author of Melanoma Mama: On Life, Death, and Tent Camping

      over 4 years ago
    • Becky@UMich's Avatar
      Becky@UMich RN, BS, OCN, Cancer AnswerLine Nurse

      Another great resource is information from the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) website “Cancer and Complementary Health Practices” http://nccam.nih.gov/health/cancer/camcancer.htm?nav=gsa
      The fact sheet provides a good overview of complementary practice as it relates to cancer, some questions to consider, and will help you make an informed decision about whether or not to take Essiac tea. Hope you find it useful! Becky RN OCN

      over 4 years ago

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