The search for a cure for Cancer has been in full-swing for many years. Scientists around the globe are investigating every possible substance and protocol that they can dream up to offer mankind relief from this often terminal illness. Included in this research are many plants and plant extracts that have played significant roles in traditional medicine systems throughout history. In the last few years, interest and research into the potential of essential oils as anticancer agents has grown tremendously. (For those new to essential oils, they are simply the volatile aromatic constituents of plants — for example, the chemicals that make up the scent of a Rose or the pungency of fresh Basil. They are complex compounds, very compatible with human physiology, with a host of research-supported health benefits.)
Two Outstanding Essential Oils Researched for Anticancer Activity
Sorting through the available research published in peer-reviewed scientific journals, one finds two particular essential oils most often associated with anticancer activity: Frankincense and Lemongrass. To clarify, Lemongrass is distilled from the grass leaves of Cymbopogon citratus; the name Frankincense actually refers to the resin of Olibanum trees found mostly in Ethiopia, Somalia and India — the essential oil is distilled from the resin — or ‘sap’ — of these trees. Both Lemongrass and Frankincense have a very long history of medicinal use. Frankincense has been one of the most highly valued medicinal products throughout man’s history — Lemongrass just happens to be very prolific, but its efficacy is no less valuable because of its availability.
Modern Research Proves Ancient Medicine’s Potential
Frankincense essential oil has been noted by leading medical aromatherapists to be most effective immune system modulating aromatic. A review of the research on Frankincense oil is quite amazing, and lives up to this declaration. Using the search term ‘frankincense oil cancer’ on the National Institute of Health’s database produces 34 results (as of this writing). Frankincense oil appears to have the ability to distinguish between healthy and cancerous cells in an organ or tissue, and lead to the death of the cancerous cells while leaving the healthy ones unharmed.
Research is focusing on the chemical components of the essential oil unique to frankincense: the Boswellic acids. These natural compounds have been thoroughly studied for their anti-inflammatory activity, with a significant body of positive results. Boswellic acids can be used to reduce pain and inflammation in arthritic joints, and has even been shown to improve the texture and appearance of skin that may be prematurely aged due to sun overexposure. It is these same Boswellic acids that have been shown to induce natural cell death in cancerous cells — it is one of the features of cancer that natural cell death does not occur, and the cancerous cells then in essence grow unabated throughout the body.
Cancer Cell Specificity
The conclusion of a study published in the journal of Complementary and Alternative Medicine, March 2009, by researchers at the University of Oklahoma was “Frankincense oil appears to distinguish cancerous from …