Can frankincense treat cancer?
Frankincense is most well known for being one of the gifts the three Wise Men gave to the baby Jesus in the bible. It is the resin from the Boswellia sacra tree, which is found in Africa and Arabia.
Frankincense contains an ingredient called boswellic acid, which may help fight inflammation.
Inflammation, when it becomes chronic is a major risk factor for many types of disease, including heart disease, arthritis, and even many types of cancers.
A 2006 study published in the journal Planta Medica showed the many ways that boswellic acid could fight chronic inflammatory diseases.
Boswellic acid inhibited 5-lipoxygenase, which is a chemical involved with the inflammation processes in the body. The researchers also learned that boswellic acid might target free radicals and cytokines, both of which are linked to inflammation.
Can frankincense treat cancer?
Because frankincense has anti-inflammatory properties, it may fight cancer. Many studies have linked inflammation to cancer.
However, frankincense may not just reduce inflammation, it may even attack cancer at the source.
One of the biggest challenges with treating cancer is that traditional treatments like chemotherapy kill healthy cells along with cancerous cells.
Some evidence suggests that frankincense may directly target cancer cells without harming healthy ones. Also, frankincense may produce much less side effects that traditional treatments like chemotherapy.
A 2009 study showed that frankincense oil targeted cancer cells in the bladder without affecting healthy cells.
A 2015 study showed similar effects. The researchers found that frankincense killed breast cancer cells and may inhibit the future growth of cancer.
Another recent study from Leicester University showed that frankincense may beat chemotherapy in ovarian cancer treatment.
Dr Mark Evans, Lecturer in the University’s Department of Cancer Studies and Molecular Medicine explained: “We have shown that this frankincense compound is effective at killing ovarian cancer cells at realistic concentrations. What has been most surprising is that the cells we have tested which are resistant to chemotherapy have shown to be more sensitive to this compound, suggesting frankincense may indeed be able to help overcome drug resistance, and lead to an improved survival rate for patients with late-stage ovarian cancer.”
Note: None of the information in our website is intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any illness or disease. The content on our website is for educational purposes only.
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1. “Can Frankincense Treat Cancer? Get the Facts.” Medical News Today. MediLexicon International, n.d. Web. 01 Dec. 2016.
2. “Boswellic Acids in Chronic Inflammatory Diseases.” Planta Medica. U.S. National Library of Medicine, n.d. Web. 01 Dec. 2016.
3. “Frankincense Oil Derived from Boswellia Carteri Induces Tumor Cell Specific Cytotoxicity.” BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine. U.S. National Library of Medicine, n.d. Web. 01 Dec. 2016.
4. “Frankincense Derived Heavy Terpene Cocktail Boosting Breast Cancer Cell (MDA-MB-231) Death In vitro.” Science Direct. Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine, n.d. Web. 01 Dec. 2016.