Essential Oils and Cancer: Research Continues to Show Efficacy

Cancer in the Headlines

If one were to take survey of the largest concerns in modern America, at the top of the list would be the development of cancer. Headlines from magazines, newspapers and websites denote a rise in cancer among young and old alike. Concerns vary from how to escape this seemingly inevitable disease, and how can one pay for this disease if diagnosed, to what is the most effective method or supplement against developing cancer in the first place.

Another shift in headline news is alternative treatments to often expensive and sometimes invasive forms of health care. More and more individuals are seeking ways to gain freedom from dependence upon pharmaceuticals, intensive scans and often impersonal treatments to both body and soul.

Essential oils are non-invasive and a highly effective method of treating ailments and supporting overall good health. These plant extractions are low in cost compared to often overarching methods of modern medical treatment and can be used safely by all ages.

This paper specifically addresses the rising interest of essential oils in research, specifically on the effectiveness in preventing and treating cancer. It also addresses how essential oils when used in conjunction with conventional cancer treatment can decrease the side effects of these modern methods.

What really is Cancer?

Cancer in general terms is growth of abnormal cells. The mechanism (found in the mitochondria of the cell) to stop the growth of the cell is interrupted or turned off. Once this process begins, these abnormal cells either invade or replace normal tissue. Such a process can occur within any parts of the body.

There are two main groupings of cancer cells: solid and non-solid. Cancers that form in solid tissues like the liver, bone or brain are solid, whereas cancers that do not form solid structures and proliferate in the blood and lymph systems, such as leukemia and lymphomas are of course non-solid in nature.

Causes of cancer formation within the body are variable. Most cancers are now attributed an unhealthy lifestyle, dietary choices – a diet rich in processed foods, genetics and hazardous chemical exposure either though air, water or direct contact.

According to a 2005 paper produced by the American Cancer Society (Cancer Facts and Figures, 2005), over one million new cancer cases were expected to be diagnosed in the United States alone. According to this publication, cancer is the second leading cause of death, taking the lives of 1 in 4 Americans.

Research Grows on Essential Oils

With the rising cost of orthodox medical care and the escalating interest of Americans to seek alternative treatments to bodily ailments, medical researchers are expanding their interests to other forms of potential treatment, specifically essential oils.

European practitioners have been using essential oils to treat various illnesses for years, even centuries. Yet, in the United States, it is now just stirring the interest of medical practitioners and researchers. In the paragraphs below a brief overview of current research on essential oils and cancer is provided.

Findings of Current Research

Numerous studies looking at various essential oils on the cytotoxic (killing of cells) properties of cancer cells have been conducted. The results are promising and hopeful. In the last three years alone, studies have found isolated compounds in essential oils to have noticeable cyotoxicity on cancer cells.

A study found in the BioMed Central Journal of Complementary and Alternative Medicine, March 2009, titled: “Frankincense oil derived from Boswellia carteri induces tumor cell specific cytotoxicity” concludes with: “Frankincense oil appears to distinguish cancerous from normal bladder cells and suppress cancer cell viability. Microarray and bioinformatics analysis proposed multiple pathways that can be activated by frankincense oil to induce bladder cancer cell death. Frankincense oil might represent an alternative intravesical agent for bladder cancer treatment.

Lemongrass, after Frankincense, may next most commonly researched essential oil for anti-cancer activity. In the May 2009 journal of Chemico-Biological Interactions, researchers tested Lemongrass essential oil against 12 human cancer cell lines. Colon cancer and neuron cancer cell lines were found most susceptible to the essential oil. In a Canadian study, researchers even found conventional aromatherapy treatment to increase the cytoxicity of a commonly-used cytotoxic drug was significantly increased.

The above studies had similar conclusions – essential oils have effective anti-cancer properties. It is also evident that essential oils can increase the effectiveness of conventional cancer treatments as well as reduce their side effects. Such findings are stirring and of great value to the future of medical research and caner treatment.

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