The gifts of the Magi – gold, frankincense, and myrrh – were carried a great distance specifically for the new King that their star-watching indicated. In the past, scholars and health researchers have mused and debated over them. Who were the Magi? What was the significance of the gifts? Were they for the infant Jesus or for a much bigger purpose?
In 2013, the University of Leicester conveniently published just before Christmas that has rekindled this theory. According to their press release, the Omani government-funded research has (for the first time) uncovered that frankincense has the ability to target cancer cells in late-stage ovarian cancer patients. And this all appeared to be due to AKBA (acetyl-11-keto-beta-boswellic acid).(1) According to lead researcher Kamla Al-Salmani,
“After a year of studying the AKBA compound with ovarian cancer cell lines in vitro, we have been able to show it is effective at killing the cancer cells. Frankincense is taken by many people with no known side effects. This finding has enormous potential to be taken to a clinical trial in the future and developed into an additional treatment for ovarian cancer.”
Boswellic Acid and Beta-Elemene
It has become glaringly obvious that boswellic acid (BA) is a compound fit to kill cancer cells, and researchers have tested frankincense essential oil to determine if it should role to play in oncology.
Although there is some debate whether or not BA is too large a compound to survive conventional essential oil filtration systems, there are studies in the literature that claim they are indeed part of frankincense oil; as we will see below. Subsequently, the jury is still out as to the exact mechanism(s) explaining why frankincense essential oil is so beneficial to cancer patients. However, advances in recent research suggest that Beta-elemene – a cancer fighting terpene found in frankincense and myrrh with the ability to cross the blood brain barrier – may be partly responsible.
As stated by the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center,
“Beta-elemene is a compound found in plants such as celery, mint, and in many others used in traditional medicine. Although the pure form is not used as dietary supplement, some cancer patients use herbs high in beta-elemene as treatment. Beta-elemene was shown to prevent growth of cancer cells in laboratory cells by different mechanisms. A few poorly designed studies done in humans showed that it may improve quality of life in cancer patients. It is unclear if raw herbs containing beta-elemene have the same effects in humans. More research is needed.” (2)
Some even suggest that the amount of β-elemene that frankincense and myrrh contain could very well explain why so many people claim that both oils have been instrumental to them beating cancer God’s way. (3) At the end of the day, once we know the basic properties of an herb, root and resin we are able to determine the best ways to utilize it. Let’s take a closer look at what the components of frankincense mean for our daily lives…
Frankincense Cancer Research
Used because of its anti-inflammatory properties, the various Boswellia species have been a “go-to” or natural healers for centuries because of its ability to help with a myriad of health concerns like learning disorders, gastrointestinal dysfunction and skin conditions. New cancer research, has uncovered that the medicinal uses of frankincense can reach well beyond this.
While we do know that the various forms of frankincense (essential oils, extracts, pure resin, etc.) have the potential to fight cancer, much is left to be understood, making this a controversial topic in the natural health and research world.
Current research demonstrates anti-mutagenic and apoptotic (programmed cell death) abilities. Though the results have occurred in lab tests and we have yet to see how to best replicate these results in active cancer in humans, the demonstrated results remain. Researchers found that boswellic acids are “cytotoxic to ovarian cancer cells at pharmacologically achievable concentrations” and “may form the basis of a novel anticancer treatment for ovarian cancer, perhaps alongside conventional chemotherapy.” (4)
For those who have added frankincense essential oil to their cancer care plan, the benefits may go beyond anti-tumor effects. Conventional treatment is often still required, but can be more painful and difficult than the symptoms of cancer itself. Brain cancer patients, for example, sometimes experience swelling in the head called cerebral edema after their tumors have been removed. Steroid treatment is common but also associated with difficult side effects and complications.
Frankincense, on the other hand, has shown remarkable effects against this particular problem. In 2011, a clinical trial evaluating 44 individuals monitored frankincense as a remedy for cerebral edema. In 60% of the patients, the swelling was reduced by 75% or more. The concluding remarks called for frankincense to be prescribed for cerebral edema in these circumstances, avoiding the struggles of steroid therapy. (11)
Overshadowed the past several hundred years by its role in the “Christmas Story,” frankincense is finally getting the attention it deserves as one of the most viable healing agents on the planet. The journal Oncology Letters published an article late last year that highlights the ability of this Biblical tree to kill cancer cells; specifically the MCF-7 and HS-1 cell lines, which cause breast and other tumors. (12) The essential oil has also been used with much success to treat issues related to digestion, the immune system, oral health, respiratory concerns and stress/anxiety.
Another promising property of frankincense is its potential to fight cancer. In several studies, frankincense has demonstrated anti-cancer properties and the ability to mitigate many different kinds of cancer cells. (13) As more studies are conducted, the implications of this ability will be exciting to watch unfold!
Arguably the most potent medicinal EO out there, recent research studies suggest that frankincense not only kills cancer cells, but it also promotes health and vitality in neighboring non-cancerous cells! To help prevent getting sick and boost your immune system, simply follow the advice below and take some frankincense with a carrier oil!
An Important Note
Essential oils are transdermal and work at the cellular level, and each species has distinct properties that can help cancer patients. Also, please recognize that specific species that a given company sells will NOT be addressed in this protocol, and we cannot correlate these data to species that your favorite brand(s) may cell. However, the chemical constituents in various species are so similar, that it is quite possible that all of the species will contain similar properties.
Also, let’s remember peer-reviewed articles discuss the success clinical researchers have experienced in using various essentials oils to prevent, stop and even reverse the growth of various cancer lines in animal and human cell studies. It is important to keep in mind that a vast majority of these studies are based off of cells in a petri dish. Subsequently, many experts and critics of using essential oils for cancer therapy insist that we cannot extrapolate the data from these studies to live, in vivo cancer patients. Even though there is merit to what these people say, let’s not throw the baby out with the bath water. The burden of proof is on the critic in this case. Thousands of thousands of testimonials and case studies alone should awaken us to the realization that Essential Oils can be quite effective in helping people prevent and treat cancer.
REO Foundation & H.K. Lin, PhD
In addition to being an Associate Professor Department of Urology (University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center), Dr. Lin is quickly becoming the essential oil research guru of the 21st century. He’s actually a pretty big deal. His research on frankincense essential oil is unparalleled and he’s been able to uncover some pretty profound findings such as:
- Frankincense oil derived from Boswellia carteri induces bladder tumor cell and Boswellia sacra does the same with breast cancer cells; meaning that they target cancerous cells by killing them and leave the healthy cells alone.
- Frankincense oil derived from Boswellia sacra represses signaling pathways and cell cycle regulators that have been proposed as therapeutic targets for cancer.
- Suppression of cellular network formation and disruption of spheroid development of cancer cells, suggests that frankincense oil derived from Boswellia sacra may be effective for advanced breast cancers as well as for cancer prevention.
Having already published several articles supporting the cancer-fighting characteristics of essential oils, Dr. Lin has set out to change the course of healthcare by developing scientific evidence to support the use of essential oils to fight cancer and other diseases. He has started a non-profit organization named REO Foundation with the help of President Julie Dahl and a team of volunteers and, because government grant monies are not focused on supporting “alternative” therapies, Dr. Lin’s vision is to raise $25 million dollars to build a center to help his team conduct more life-saving research.
More Than Just Cancer
People who have added Boswellia into their natural health cancer care plan may find themselves experiencing double-benefits from this miracle essential oil.
For many cancer patients, there’s a time when the treatment becomes worse than the cancer itself. It is as this point that quality of life and symptom suppression is the focal point for many diagnosed with this deadly disease. Debilitating in-and-of itself, these cancer treatment side effect can make having cancer absolutely miserable.
Take, for instance, brain cancer patients who experience cerebral edema (swelling in the head) after having their tumors irradiated. Typically, these people are treated with dexamethasone and other corticosteroids to control the swelling, but this is done at a great cost because the deadly complications of steroids are limitless. Unfortunately, these people suffer toxic overload from the drugs that are supposed to help them in the first place and get headaches, migraines, and may even deal with blurred vision because of the steroid treatments.
Thankfully, frankincense offers a natural, viable solution to this horrible issue. Back in 2011, the journal Cancer published the results of a 44 person clinical trial evaluating how brain edema fared in brain cancer patients that were randomly assigned to radiotherapy. Astoundingly, 60% of the patients displayed 75% reduction or greater in cerebral swelling after being treated with 4200 mg/day of frankincense! These results are so significant that scientists are urging the medical community to consider prescribing this potent essential oil instead of steroids for cancer patients assigned to radiotherapy.
We hope this spreads like wildfire within cancer treatment circles. Who knows what could happen if more people utilized this approach. As we’ve seen above, if Boswellia serrata can kill cancer cells and prevent tumors from growing, the sky’s the limit for folks who follow natural health guidelines.
Frankincense and Immune Function
A growing body of research has recently unlocked the doors to our understanding of why frankincense is so beneficial to our health. In a study published by Phytotherapy Research, for instance, when mice took 1-10 mg of Boswellia serrata orally it was discovered that multiple levels of their immune systems were stimulated including:
- Cytokines (interferon gamma, interleukin-4, and tumor necrosis factor-alpha)
- Delayed hypersensitivity reaction (early 24 hours, delayed 48 hours)
- Immunoglobulins (IgG and IgM)
- T-cell interactions (i.e. CD4/CD8, which are generally low in AIDS patients)
In layman’s terms, frankincense can boost the immune system like no other! Two fundamental ways this is accomplished is by proliferating lymphocytes (white blood cells, which are the body’s primary defense team) and by keeping inflammation at bay (which is arguably the primary risk factor for most chronic diseases). This may also explain why Boswellia serrata is so effective in treating autoimmune conditions like bronchial asthma, Crohn’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and ulcerative colitis.
Implement frankincense into your natural health regimen today. The essential oil can be used in vaporizers with ease to treat respiratory conditions. A salve is effective for skin issues. And, an all-natural, organic supplement is fantastic for everything in between!
To help boost immunity and as a cancer prevention technique:
- Add 1 drop of frankincense oil in 1 teaspoon of carrier oil (like coconut), and consume first thing in the morning.
- Put the oil in a soft gel capsule to prevent esophageal irritation.
- Add 3 drops each of frankincense and myrrh oils to a diffuser.
To address tumor and malignant growths consider:
- Applying diluted frankincense on the tumor directly, and on the bottoms of your feet. 2 drops of carrier oil per drop of frankincense is a popular approach
Morning Immune Booster
Add 1 drop of frankincense to a tsp of honey, maple syrup, or coconut oil. Take first thing in the morning. You can also add 1 drop to 4 oz of water and drink.
Dr Eric Z