CAPSULES, TINCTURES, TEA
This page is for educational purposes only. It contains the opinions of the author and her research. Perhaps it will help in your choice regarding the form you choose to take for your essiac tea.
CAPSULES: This form is considered the most convenient and seems to be the one many persons will choose in taking herbs or supplements. Convenience is not always the best rationale for taking herbs this way though.
Herbs require either water and/or alcohol to help extract their constituents (chemicals), which in turn will determine the actions you receive from the plant material. In the case of taking capsules, one is bypassing this crucial step. Relying on stomach acids, digestive juices and an adequate intake of water in helping to break down the capsule and assimilate the contents can result in a slower-acting and less potent preparation. Capsules are also composed of dried powdered herbs. Ideally, herbs should not be powdered until just prior to use to avoid the more rapid breakdown of their potency. In the case of commercially prepared capsules, one can never be sure of the age of the herbs, or if any fillers or additives are present.
When traveling, capsules may be more convenient. The best utilization then, would be to open the capsule and add to a cup of boiling hot water, steep for 15 minutes and strain. To be assured of stronger potency, it is simple to make your own capsules from the cut essiac herbs, powder them just prior to capsuling, and take along with you for a cup of tea. Most healthfood stores carry the necessary equipment for making either the -0- or -00- size. To powder the herbs, a coffee bean grinder and fine mesh strainer works well.
For those with cancer, there may very well be a compromise in the digestive tract for the ability to assimilate nutrients - - caused from chemotherapy, candida albicans, or other health issues. Once again, capsules would not be the best option here. What good is convenience if it reduces your chances of getting all you can from the herbs?
TINCTURES: In traditional herbalism, this is the preferred method of storing and preserving herbs - preferably fresh harvested. Broadly termed, tinctures are made using either alcohol, glycerine (glycerite), or vinegar (primarily for external applications), using a base other than water to extract constituents from herbs. Most commonly, it is alcohol that is used. Generally speaking, they are made using 5 parts alcohol to 1 part plant materials, using the highest percent alcohol available. Tinctures should remain potent for several years, if stored in amber bottles.
With this method, you will be extracting not only the water-soluble constituents, but the alcohol-soluble ones as well. It is rather inexpensive and easy to make your own. For those that are alcohol-sensitive, the glycerites can be a substitute, although you will only be extracting those chemicals which are water-soluble.
We do not know how the alcohol in a tincture may affect the properties and constituents of this tea. We also do not have any data on the use of tinctures by Rene Caisse. As the tea is the most common form of preparation in taking this herbal blend, and the one Rene Caisse did the most research on, I have pursued that area more strongly in my research.
I have not utilized this option in taking the essiac tea. I therefore, have no data to provide you on how much tincture is comparable to one ounce of the brewed tea.
TEA: This is made using either a decoction, infusion, or both. The "standard" instructions utilize only the decoction method for brewing essiac. The combination of heat and water is what extracts some of the constituents from the plant materials, breaking them down and releasing certain chemicals. Assimilation of this method also is dependant upon digestive tract health.
This information is provided for educational purposes and to promote discussion only. It is not intended to diagnose, treat or claim cure for any disease or imbalance in the body.