Essiac® Canada International, A Canadian Success Story
(Excerpts from Natural Health Products Report, Vol. 11,2003)
Along with prairie wheat, Ontario wines, Quebec maple syrup, New Brunswick blueberries and Atlantic salmon, Canada is also know throughout the world for Essiac®, an herbal formula world- renowned since 1922. The native Indian herbal brew was discovered by Rene M. Caisse, a nurse from northern Ontario town of Bracebridge. As with many herbal products that have come to light, but ran afoul of the prevailing government establishment and regulators of the day, the Essiac® herbal formula, for a time , was not legally available to Canadians, and it wasn’t until the early 1970s after pressure was put on Health Canada by the citizens of Canada, with the delivery of a 55,000 name petition by Stan Darling, a former MP for the federal constituency of Muskoka-Haliburton, that Canadians could have their herbal tea made available to them in Canada.
According to the company’s president Mr. T.P. Maloney, “We are participating in several research projects currently under way at Canadian Universities and abroad to evaluate Essiac®”.
Besides the emphasis on research, the company under the direction of Mr. Maloney has successfully negotiated the turbulent international markets, and Essiac is now firmly established internationally bringing a worldwide awareness to this popular Canadian herbal formula that would make Rene Caisse proud. With the development of a liquid extract in 2002, the ready-to-use formula in a distinctive dark green 300ml bottle is gaining ground over the traditional powdered tea which requires time consuming preparation. Since 2007 Essiac® has added the capsule formula to its list of products. The powdered tea, liquid extract and capsule formula are made in cGMP compliant facilities in Quebec, Canada and all facets from raw material sourcing, laboratory analysis, production, through the marketing are done in Canada- truly an all- Canadian success story!
As with many popular products, Essiac® has had its imitators, and products developed from traditional native Indian formulas abroad. Essiac® and only Essiac® however, is the original Rene M. Caisse formula: others may try to claim the Essiac® story as their own, but the formulas are not the same.
Mr. Maloney also has an international perspective view the current move to regulate natural products in Canada as being long overdue and welcomes the change. “The international trend is towards greater regulatory control and Canada is just following this trend. Tightening up regulations will benefit consumers who will be able to better assess the products and the claims made,” he said.
Nurse Caisse who fought the establish governmental hierarchies of her day to preserve public access to herbal products would no doubt be please that people throughout the world now have access to Essiac®. In Rene M. Caisse, Canadians have a natural health pioneer of international acclaim. However, like many a Canadian pioneer, Caisse, who died at the age of 90 in 1978, was largely a forgotten heroine in her native land. That all changed when in 2000, the company undertook to commemorate her life and honor her achievements in “alternative medicine” commissioning a bronze statue sculpted by Brenda Wainman-Goulet. The statue, a gift to the town of Bracebridge, ON, was unveiled publicly in Totem Pole Park by mayor, Mr. Scott Northmore at the town’s 125th anniversary celebration on November 15, 2000. Another statue is at the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine (CCNM) in Toronto, ON, which has also been a recipient of the company’s philanthropic endeavors including the $250,000 Essiac® Botanical Library which is the largest of its kind in Canada. With these and other projects, Essiac Canada International ensures that Caisse’s vision for Essiac® remains storng and vibrant as ever which is a fitting tribute to her mission.