Allergic Sensitivities to RenEssence (Based on Rene Caisse’s Formula)
Answered by: Conrad Richter
Question from: Joan
Posted on: July 31, 2006

I have a friend who was diagnosed with cancer of the liver and given about 6 months to live.

She started taking "Renessence" and has been taking it for about two years now.

Recently she has developed a very sore mouth and finds it difficult to eat.

She has a little book about "Essiac" but it does not mention any side effects, or how long one should take "Essiac". Could one of the ingredients be causing the soreness in her mouth? Does she have to take "Essiac" every day for the rest of her life?

She has allergies and is also a diabetic. The allergies prevented her from having chemotherapy or radiation treatment. She feels the "Essiac" tea has helped her very much and will continue to take it but we are worried about the mouth sores.

Has anyone taking "Essiac" had similar problems?

As we state in our catalogue, RenEssence is a tea mixture of four herbs blended according to Rene Caisse’s formula as revealed by Dr. Gary Glum in his book, "Calling of an Angel" (Silent Walker Publishing, Los Angeles, 1988). We cannot make any health claims for the product according to Canadian law.

You asked about side-effects. There are several books that have some information on adverse effects of Rene Caisse’s formula. "Herbs: Everyday Reference for Health Professionals", published jointly by the Canadian Pharmacists Association and Canadian Medical Association (2000), discusses known digestive and abdominal side-effects such as diarrhea, nausea and vomiting, but there is no mention of allergic sensitivities. Sheila Snow, in her book "The Essence of Essiac" (available from Richters), says Rene Caisse adjusted the formula to address varied individual tolerances; for example, nausea and indigestion in some patients was controlled by reducing the frequency and size of the dose. The nausea and indigestion are likely to be related to the presence of rhubarb which is a well-known laxative.

It does not appear that Rene Caisse set an absolute limit to how long the formula should be taken. According to Snow, Rene Caisse "advised those who had been very ill to continue her treatment for at least a year, even when they felt well again." However her patients were known to continue to take the formula as a "seasonal tonic", presumably for the rest of their lives. On the other hand, the APA-AMA book advises that the formula should not be taken for more than 8-10 days because of the laxative effects of rhubarb.

Snow reports that Rene Caisse saw "allergic sensitivities" in some patients but gives no further details. Because any food or herb can cause allergic reactions in some sensitive individuals it is always important to watch for reactions. Because your friend’s sore mouth could be an allergic sensitivity to one or more herbs in the formula, we strongly recommend that your friend stop taking the formula immediately and that she seek medical advice from a competent health professional such as a doctor, naturopath or professional herbalist. Her health professional can help your friend determine what the cause of problem is and how to manage it. If the soreness disappears after stopping the formula then that would be a strong indication that your friend is sensitive and her health professional may recommend that she not resume taking it.

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