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| Renessence vs. Essiac® |
Answered by: Conrad Richter
Question from: Pierre Gaulin, Respirin Corporation
Posted on: June 24, 2002
After viewing your herb catalogue 2002, p. 64, "renessence", [y]ou seem to mislead the public that the "renessence" is the Rene Caisse famous tonic prepared according to Dr Glum’s recipe. Let us mention that Dr. Glum NEVER had the recipe of nurse Caisse. He got a pseudo recipe from a patient of nurse Caisse. [Presumably] Dr Glum [paid] a lot of money for it and tries to regain some of the loss. There are more than 4 herbs and less than a 100 in the only true complete original ESSIAC. Furthermore Dr. Glum gave a letter that he would cease and desist using Essiac (August 25 1993). The source of information you received is erroneous, deceptive and it is not Essiac nor any recipe of nurse Rene Caisse.
It would be appreciated if you could correct the information given in your catalogue, and or eliminate it completely from the advertisement. If you need information on the only true complete ESSIAC you may contact us and or visit the website essiacinc.com.
Our Renessence product is never represented as "Essiac". "Essiac" is a registered trademark of your company and we fully respect that.
Our claim simply this: that Renessence is made exactly according to the formula published by Dr. Glum in his book, "Calling of an Angel." He claims that his formula is indeed one that Rene Caisse used. It is the same recipe that was published in Sheila Snow’s book, "Essence of Essiac," and in Cynthia Olsen’s book, "Essiac: A Native Herbal Cancer Remedy."
Whether Dr. Glum’s recipe is the same one that your company uses to make your Essiac product, only you can know. But I note from your own website that four ingredients are listed and they are the same ones in Dr. Glum’s recipe. Quoting from the "Information for Physicians and Health Care Practitioners" page of your website:
CONTAINS: Burdock; Rhubarb; Slippery Elm; Sorrel..... note the complete formula has never been devulged except to the owners of Essiac Products Services Inc. But on the package of the Essiac product sold in Canada, presumably under license by your company, the same four ingredients are listed and there is no suggestion of any additional ingredients. If there are any other ingredients and they are not listed on the label that would be a violation of Canadian packaging and food and drug laws.
It seems to me that it is entirely possible that Rene Caisse used more than one formula to make her famous remedy. Perhaps the four herb formula was one that she used at certain times and at other times she used more complex formulas.
I met Rene Caisse in the 1970s. She and my mother appeared on a program on CKVR television in Barrie. I remember Rene walking with us in a field just outside the studio and she said the herbs in her formula are growing in the field we were standing on. I am a trained botanist and a professional horticulturist and I know very well that there was no Turkey rhubarb or slippery elm in that field. But there might well have been burdock and sheep sorrel there. My mother and I also suspected at the time that red clover was one of the ingredients because that was growing in the field and it has been said to have potent anticancer properties.
Because Rene Caisse was known to be very protective of her formula, I suspect that she sometimes chose to reveal selective or even misleading information as it suited her. If there is only one true formula and it has rhubarb and slippery elm then Rene was clearly misleading us in that field outside the CKVR studio because those two herbs don’t grow there.
The presence of Turkey rhubarb in the formula also doesn’t square with Rene’s story that Essiac is an Ojibwa remedy. Your website says:
ESSIAC is an herbal decoction with proven healing properties. Freely given by an Ojibwa medicine man in 1892, it has generated one of the most compelling stories in modern medicine. But Turkey rhubarb does not grow in North America; despite its name, it comes from Tibet and western China. There are no species of Rheum native to North America; they all come from Eurasia. Does it seem likely that the Ojibwa medicine man could have used Turkey rhubarb roots imported to North America by traders? It is possible, but we are inclined to think no. There is no record anywhere of any native Indian tribe ever using any rhubarb, let alone the Turkey rhubarb species, according to Daniel Moerman’s authoritative "Native American Ethnobotany Database" published by the University of Michigan-Dearborn (http://www.umd.umich.edu/cgi-bin/herb). The Objibwa story we believe is added indication that Rene Caisse was selective and sometimes deceptive in telling the story of her remedy.
Be that as it may, we feel that our Renessence product is consistent with available published information on Rene Caisse’s formula. Whether our version of the Rene Caisse formula is the only one she used we obviously cannot say, and we don’t make that claim. Our own research of the scientific and medical literature revealed that several of the four ingredients in the Renessence formula have proven anti-tumour and anti-cancer properties, so we are confident that our product is probably one of the true Rene Caisse formulas.
By the way, your comment about Dr. Glum’s letter in which he states that he will "cease and desist using Essiac" surely must pertain to the use of the word, "Essiac", which, of course, is your trademark. That’s not the same as saying that Dr. Glum is recanting his claim that his formula was used by Rene Caisse. I doubt very much that he has done that.