Friday, December 23, 2016

Can Frankincense Treat Cancer?

Frankincense oil is derived from the Boswellia tree. It has a long history in myth and folk medicine. In the Bible, it is one of three gifts offered to Jesus by the wise men, possibly because of its apparent healing powers.

Some supporters of herbal medicine argue that frankincense offers numerous health benefits. These supposed benefits include controlling bleeding, speeding up the wound-healing process, improving oral health, fighting inflammatory conditions such as arthritis, and improving uterine health.

Its most promising use may be as a cancer treatment. Cancer is a leading cause of death, killing 8.2 million people worldwide in 2012. Current research on the effectiveness of frankincense is limited, but early results are promising.

A 2006 study published in Planta Medica uncovered a number of ways the boswellic acid in frankincense might fight infection. Boswellic acid inhibited 5-lipoxygenase, a chemical involved in inflammatory processes. Researchers also found that boswellic acid might target free radicals and cytokines. Both of these play a role in inflammation. By disrupting inflammatory processes, frankincense could stop cancer before it starts.

The anti-inflammatory properties of frankincense suggest that it might also be effective in the treatment of diseases such as Rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, Bronchial asthma and ulcerative colitis.

Some evidence suggests that frankincense might target cancer cells directly without harming health cells.

A 2009 study of bladder cancer studies how frankincense affected cultures of normal and cancerous bladder cells. The oil targeted cancerous cells, but it did not destroy healthy cells.

A 2015 study found similar effects in breast cancer. The researchers found that frankincense could kill breast cancer cells and disrupt the growth of future cancer cells.

People should talk to a doctor before trying frankincense or any other essential oil. It is not an alternative to mainstream cancer treatments. No research currently supports using the oil in place of other cancer treatments. Frankincense may, however, be used as a supplement to medical treatment.

Frankincense has not been approved as a drug for any specific disease, and there are no scientifically proven guidelines for its use.

My Take:
Frankincense is the Chinese term for the herb Boswellia. Boswellia is the Ayervedic term for the extract of the Boswellia tree. I have been using Boswellia in my practice and personally for the past 20 years.

Contrary to the statements in this article, there are scientifically proven guidelines for the use of Boswellia. There are 447 studies on Boswellia published in PubMed, 72 of those are related to the treatment of cancer.
Research has repeatedly demonstrated that Boswellia blocks the leukotriene and cytokine pathways. This is why it is so effective in the treatment of autoimmune diseases like those noted above.

I use a 7:1 extract of Boswellia gum oleoresin from Boswellia serrata 1.9 g. It is pharmaceutical grade, standardized to contain 180 mg of boswellic acids. The maximum dosage is 4 tablets per day.

The Bottom Line:
This article on frankincense is encouraging but the U.S. is way behind on the use of herbs in modern health care. Over two hundred years ago American physicians taught Australian physicians how to use these plant extracts. Today, we American physicians are having to relearn this information from Australia and India.

Source: November 28, 2016 Medial News Today

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