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ssiac-like formulas have no proven anticancer effect in humans or animals but nonetheless remain popular as alternative treatments. Based on a simplistic analysis of the amount of herbal material and active constituents in these formulas, it seems unlikely that they would produce any significant medical effect, other than a slight purgative action. The purgative action could be of general benefit to some individuals, but would also prevent significantly higher doses of the formula from being used in cancer treatment. Because of the popularity of Essiac-like formulas, adequate assessment of their anticancer potential is needed.