Ojibway Tea

Canada's Famous Herbal Tea Which Became Essiac (Ojibway medicine man tea)



Ojibway Tea History

Ojibway Tea has a history dating back over 100 years. The tea was originally prepared by the Ojibway Indians of Ontario, Canada. Rene Caise a nurse who procured the recipe from the Ojibway Medicine Man helped make the tea famous when she renamed it by its now patented name of Essiac (her name spelled backwards). Ojibway Tea is a tea concocted of those same four herbs: Sheep Sorrel, Burdock Root, Slippery Elm and Rhubarb.
Ojibway Tea is currently being consumed throughout the United States, Canada Mexico, Europe, Australia, and Africa and is marketed under many different names...

The Ojibway

The Ojibway have been described as having knowledge of herbal healing and spiritual powers as extensive as any other Native American tribe. The medicine men gained their knowledge of plants in several ways. It came in the form of spiritual visions, intuition and thousands of years of observation. Observing the behavior of ill and injured animals, they learned which plants the animals consumed to heal themselves. From these sources as well as guidance from the Great Spirit, Kitche Manitou, they amassed a wealth of knowledge and passed it down from generation to generation.
The Ojibway believe that all plants, as creations of the Great Creator, express their own unique identity. They believe that each plant possesses an incorporeal being: a spiritual substance that gives it physical form, growth potential and power. They also believe that plants have another remarkable gift, the power to combine and become a single "unified spirit," much more powerful than any of the plants individually. They feel this "unified spirit" give the teas supernatural powers. Not coincidentally, many modern herbalists believe in the "synergy" of combined herbs in herbal teas, some "magical" quality that only emerges when blended together.
This is the herbal tea recipe of the Indian Medicine Man.

Ojibway Tea Herbs; the Famous Four:

Sheep Sorrel

sheep-sorrel.jpg(Rumex acetosella)The leaves of young Sheep Sorrel plants were popular as a cooking dressing and as an addition to salads in France several hundred years ago. Indians also use Sheep Sorrel leaves as a tasty seasoning for meat dishes. They also baked it into their bread. Thus it is both an herb and a food.  Sheep Sorrel belongs to the buckwheat family. Common names for Sheep Sorrel are field sorrel, red top sorrel, sour grass and dog eared sorrel. It should not be confused with Garden Sorrel. (Rumex acetosa).  Sheep Sorrel grows wild throughout most of the world. It seeks open pastures, rocky areas, and the shoulders of country roads. It is considered to be a common weed throughout the U. S. It thrives with little moisture, and is a good indicator of acidic soils.  The entire Sheep Sorrel plant may be harvested to be used in Ojibway Tea or just the leaves and stems may be harvested, and this allows the plants to be "reharvested" later. The plant portion of the Sheep Sorrel may be harvested throughout the spring, summer, and fall, to be taken early in the morning after the dew has evaporated, or late in the afternoon.  Always harvest on a sunny day, as the plants need several days after a rain in which to dry properly.
Harvest the leaves and stem before the flowers begin to form, since at this stage, all of the energy of the plant is in the leaves.  Roots may be harvested in the fall, when the energy of the plant is concentrated in the roots. Never collect more than a year's supply of Sheep Sorrel, as it loses its potency when stored longer.
Sorrel plants have been a folk remedy for various complaints for centuries both in Europe and America.
It contains high amounts of vitamins A and B complex, C, D, E, K, P and vitamin U. It is also rich in minerals, including calcium, chlorine, iron, magnesium, silicon, sodium, sulfur, and has trace amounts of copper, iodine, manganese and zinc. Sheep Sorrel also contains carotenoids and chlorophyll, citric, malic, oxalic, tannic and tartaric acids.

Burdock Root

burdock.jpg(Arctium lappa)The roots, young stems, and seeds of the Burdock plant are edible. Young stalks are boiled to be eaten like asparagus. Raw stems and young leaves are eaten in salads. Parts of the Burdock plant are eaten in China, Hawaii, and among the Native American cultures on this continent. It is then, both an herb and a food.  The Burdock is a member of the thistle family. Remember the last time you cleaned cockle burrs from your clothing after a sojourn in the woods or meadow? Chances are, you had run up against this very friendly and helpful plant, you just didn't know it! It is a common pasture weed throughout North America. It prefers damp soils.  The first year the Burdock plant produces only green leafy growth. It is during the second year that it produces the long sturdy stems with annoying burrs.  The root of the Burdock plant is harvested. It is harvested from only the first year plants. The roots are about an inch wide, and up to three feet long. As with the Sheep Sorrel, the roots should only be harvested in the fall when the plant energy is concentrated in the roots.
For centuries Burdock has been used throughout the world in herbal preparations. The Chinese use Burdock Root as an aphrodisiac, tonic, and rejuvenator.  Burdock Root contains vitamins A, B complex, C, E, and P. It contains high amounts of chromium, cobalt, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, silicon, and zinc, and lesser amounts of calcium, copper, manganese, and selenium.


Slippery Elm

slippery-elm.jpg(Ulcus fulva)The inner bark of the Slippery Elm tree has a long history of use as a food supplement and herbal remedy. Pioneers knew of it as a survival food. The powdered bark has long been used, and is still being used today, as a food additive and food extender, rich in vitamin and mineral content. Thus it also is a food.  The Slippery Elm is a favorite shade and ornamental tree. It is found throughout Canada and the United States. Only the inner bark of the Slippery Elm is used to make Ojibway Tea. Reliable supplies of Slippery Elm can be purchased in powdered form, and this is probably easier and preferable to harvesting it yourself. Should you wish to harvest your own Slippery Elm, strip the bark from branches, rather than from the main trunk system of the tree so that you do not damage the tree.
Slippery Elm Bark is widely known throughout the world as a herbal remedy.  It contains, as its primary ingredient, mucilage, as well as quantities of garlic acid, phenols, starches, sugars, the vitamins A, B complex, C, K, and P. It contains large amounts of calcium, magnesium, and sodium, as well as lesser amounts of chromium and selenium, and trace amounts of iron, phosphorous, silicon and zinc.

Turkey/Indian Rhubarb

indian-rhubarb.jpg(Rheum palmatum)We have all eaten Rhubarb. Its red, bittersweet stems are to be found in supermarket produce shelves each spring. We also eat rhubarb pie, jams and pudding. Turkey/Indian Rhubarb is a member of the rhubarb family with roots, which contain a particularly strong and desirable potency.  The roots are harvested when the plants are at least six years old.
Rhubarb, also a well known herb, has been used worldwide since 220 BC as a herbal remedy.  Rhubarb root contains vitamin A, many of the B complex, C, and P. Its high mineral content includes calcium, chlorine, copper, iodine, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous, potassium, silicon, sodium, sulfur, and zinc.