An in vivo analysis of the herbal compound essiac.
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BACKGROUND: Essiac is a herbal compound that has been in common use with cancer patients in North America for over 80 years. Despite its relatively widespread use, there are no peer-reviewed published reports of in vivo studies regarding the use of this compound. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Essiac was administered orally to test animals prior to all experiments. Standard assays to test protection from ethanol-induced gastric ulceration and carbon tetrachloride-induced hepatic injury were performed on Wistar rats. Assays of postglucose-load serum glucose and cellular and humoral immune modulation were conducted on ICR and BALB/C mice, respectively. RESULTS: Essiac demonstrated a modest gastric protective effect via reduction of ethanol-induced gastric ulceration. However, Essiac did not demonstrate significant hepatoprotective, hypoglycemic or immunomodulatory properties. CONCLUSION: Essiac, administered in established in vivo experimental models, did not significantly demonstrate its purported physiological modifying effects.
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