When it comes to the treatment of cancer, one of the more challenging aspects can be choosing
a treatment. Which treatment is best? Which is best for my particular cancer? What are the side
effects of a particular medication? Do I have any alternative options?
The truth is, conventional cancer therapy, while helpful, doesn’t always work. On top of that,
many of these conventional treatments, such as chemotherapy and radiation treatment, often
cause a whole host of side effects that are unpleasant and can leave a person feeling weak.
This can make enduring cancer treatment a big challenge.
As a result, researchers are searching constantly for new ways to treat cancer and help people
manage other cancer treatments. One possible option that has emerged? Frankincense oil.
Keep reading to learn more about frankincense oil and the role it might play in treating cancer.
What is frankincense oil therapy?
When you hear frankincense, you immediately think of one of the gifts carried by the three wise
men. Created from Boswellia family trees, frankincense oil was a common product made in the
Middle East and northern Africa. In ancient times, it had both religious and medicinal uses.
Nowadays, frankincense, considered to be one of 90 essential oils, has gained traction lately as
a key part of aroma therapeutic approaches. Despite not being the most common essential oil
(think of how popular lavender is), frankincense oil does have some health benefits.
For example, when combined with other compounds like myrrh, frankincense oil could offer the
- Pain relief
- Relief from swelling
How does frankincense oil therapy work for cancer?
When it comes to cancer, the key to understanding frankincense oil’s anti cancer benefits
comes from the boswellic acid it contains, which it gets from its source: boswellia trees.
Boswellic acid has several medicinal properties; chief among them is its ability to offer anti-
Inflammation is a mixed bag of a human process, but it can actually play a role in causing
cancer. Inflammation is a normal part of the body; the immune system usually initiates
inflammatory pathways when there is a need to fight an infection, for example. The body often
releases free radicals as part of this process. However, many things can cause chronic
inflammation, or inflammation that persists despite a clear need for it. When this happens, free
radicals often remain in the body, causing a range of effects, including cellular and DNA
damage. This creates the perfect conditions for cancer cells to form.
Is frankincense oil therapy effective?
While existing research hasn’t reached a conclusion about how frankincense oil could or could
not help with treating cancer, there are some positive outcomes that have emerged. Here are a
few key findings from research:
- Interfering with cancer cell growth. An older research study explored the use of an
extra from the Somolian frankincense herb Boswellia carteri as a treatment for bladder
cancer. The study showed that the extract was capable of interfering with the cell growth
cycle process and initiating cell death. What’s more impressive, it was able to tell the
difference between a healthy cell and a cancer cell, something that treatments like
chemotherapy and radiation cannot do.
- Anticancer properties. A review study found that boswellic acid does in fact contain
some anticancer properties and, as a result, may prove promising.
- May prevent metastatic disease. While cancer usually starts in one location (e.g. the
liver or brain), cancer cells can spread to other parts of the body, making it harder to
treat. This is called metastatic disease. Some research suggests that, at least in mice
models, boswellic acid could help prevent the development of metastatic disease.
- Differentiates between healthy and cancerous cells. Treatments like chemotherapy
cause many side effects because, in addition to destroying cancer cells, they also
destroy healthy cells. Chemotherapy can’t tell the difference. One research study found
that frankincense oil could tell the difference between healthy and cancerous cells, an
Is frankincense oil therapy safe?
Generally, frankincense oil is safe. However, everyone responds differently to it, so make sure
to talk to your doctor about possible risks.
With any type of cancer treatment, it’s important to make sure you fully understand the available
treatment options and choose options that work for you. This should include talking to your
doctor before starting any cancer treatment. They can help you decide which treatment options
are right for you.