Can Frankincense Treat Cancer?

           A recent article written by Zawn Villenes and reviewed by Alana Biggers, MD, MPH, offered some good information on frankincense.  Frankincense oil is derived from the Boswellic tree and has a long history in myth and folk medicine. This was one of the three gifts offered to Jesus by the wise men.  This very well might have been because of its apparent healing powers.

         It is believed by some supporters of herbal medicine, that frankincense offers numerous health benefits.  Frankincense may benefit the controlling of bleeding, speeding up the wound-healing process, improving oral health, fighting inflammatory conditions as arthritis and improving uterine health, with the most promising use as a cancer treatment.  The leading cause of death is cancer, killing 8.2 million people worldwide in 2012. The effectiveness of frankincense is limited, according to research, but early results are promising.

        Boswellic acid is contained in frankincense, which may help fight inflammation that is one of the key processes through which the body fights infection.  As the tissue becomes inflamed, white blood cells arrive to fight infection and the local inflammation causes redness, swelling and heat. Pimples and cellulitis are examples of such inflammation.   The Planta Medica published a 2006 study that found a number of ways the boswellic acid in frankincense might fight infection.  It was also found by researchers that boswellic acid might target free radicals and cytokines that play a role in inflammation.

       It is suggested that the anti-inflammatory properties of frankincense might also be effective in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, bronchial asthma and ulcerative colitis.  It may directly attack cancer cells and not just reduce inflammation.

       Chemotherapy kills many healthy cells as it fights cancer and frankincense might target cancer cells without harming healthy cells.  Frankincense affected cultures of normal and cancerous bladder cells in a 2009 study. The oil did target cancerous cells but did not destroy healthy cells.  In 2015 a study found similar effects in breast cancer. These studies are preliminary, however, they do offer hope that frankincense might one day fight some forms of cancer without the potentially life-threatening effects of chemotherapy.

        As always, people should talk to a doctor before trying frankincense or any other essential oil.  This oil is not an alternative to mainstream cancer treatments as no research currently supports using the oil in place of other cancer treatments.

       Some suggestions for the use of this essential oil is in skin care products, soaking in frankincense in a bath tub, using it on pulse points during meditation or yoga and ingesting it after diluting.

       Try adding the oil to honey or another sweetener.  It is cautioned to watch carefully for side effects.  Discontinue immediately if any ill effects develop. If you plan to use it on the skin, a small patch of the skin should first be done.  It can be poisonous even though it is a natural substance. Avoid if you have a history of allergic reactions, weakened immune system, pregnant or lactating.

Dr Fredda Branyon

image c/o pixabay

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