Essential or “quintessential” oils are volatile liquid substances extracted from the seeds, bark, stems, roots, flowers, or other parts of plants by steam distillation or through mechanical processing. They are naturally aromatic and have amazing medicinal properties.
Skin cancer is the abnormal growth of skin cells and is the most prevalent form of all cancers. It most often develops on skin exposed to the sun, but can also occur in areas that are not ordinarily exposed to sunlight. The most common types of skin cancers include basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma.
In ayurvedic medicine, cancer is considered a disease that is usually associated with all three doshas, although it begins with the predominance of just one of them. Essential oils are popular in alternative remedies because of their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Some essential oils can fight cell mutation and release of free radicals (highly reactive chemicals that have the potential to harm cells). These characteristics have made them a focus of intense attention in cancer research.1 Here are the essential oils that have potential to treat skin cancer.
1. Frankincense Oil
Aromatic gum resins, obtained from the trees of the genus Boswellia, also known as frankincense, have been used in ayurvedic and traditional Chinese medicine to treat a variety of health-related issues. Frankincense oil is one of the most potent natural healing agents. Several clinical studies have reported its ability to kill various cancers including that of the breast and the bladder and skin tumors.
Frankincense extracts have been shown to suppress tumor development, induce tumor apoptosis (death of some cells of an organism as part of its natural growth and development) in animal models, and reduce skin cancer symptoms. They contain beta-elemene, a natural chemical compound that stops the growth of cancer cells.
The biological constituents of frankincense essential oil and its activity against cancer cells are being studied in detail so that this oil can become a safe and effective alternative therapeutic agent for treating basal cell carcinoma.2
2. Black Raspberry Seed Oil
Fruit seeds rich in antioxidants are widely known to have anticancer properties. Raspberry oil is high in vitamin A and essential fatty acids, both key ingredients in skin care. Linoleic, alpha-linolenic, and oleic acids all help reduce the damaging effects of free radicals on the skin, while replenishing moisture.
The oil also contains vitamin E, which helps to repair and condition skin. Black raspberry seed not only helps kill cancer because of its immune-boosting properties but actually targets the tumor itself. This makes raspberry seed oil a particularly potent alternative for prevention and treatment of cancer.
The real power of the raspberry in terms of its anti-cancer property lies in flavonoids such as ellagic acids. Recent studies have revealed that ellagic acid displays anticancer effects by inhibiting the growth and spread of tumor cells, inducing cell damage, destroying the DNA binding to carcinogens, and blocking virus infection, and drug-resistance processes required for the growth and spreading of cancerous cells from one organ to another.3
3. Myrrh Oil
Myrrh is a resin, or sap-like substance, that comes from a tree called Commiphora myrrha. The essential oil of myrrh is extracted from the resin and has been a common ingredient in traditional therapies as a remedy for a variety of ailments. Myrrh essential oil is good for treating skin diseases such as eczema, ringworm, and itches.
Researchers are showing interest in myrrh because of its potent antioxidant activity and potential in cancer treatment. Some studies have shown that myrrh has caused the death of cancer cells and that it is especially effective in killing breast and skin cancer cells. More extensive research is required on the scope of myrrh in the fight against cancer.4
4. Sandalwood Essential Oil
Sandalwood essential oil is derived from the heartwood of the sandalwood. Studies have shown that sandalwood oil could be an effective agent against chemically induced skin cancer in animal models.
Sandalwood essential oil can act as an anti-carcinogenic agent as it causes DNA damage and cell cycle arrest of the cancerous cells. Besides directly killing cancer cells, sandalwood essential oil can also help reduce the side effects of traditional cancer treatment.5
Ways To Use Essential Oils To Help Patients Recover From Cancer
Before using essential oils for cancer prevention and treatment, seek the advice of a qualified medical practitioner. Essential oils can be used individually or combined for maximum benefits. Once you zero in on the right oil or oil combinations, they can be applied to your skin or inhaled. If essential oils are being applied directly to your skin, apply along with a carrier oil. It is also important to carry out an allergy test before you use them.
|↑1||Liju, Vijayastelter B., Kottarapat Jeena, and Ramadasan Kuttan. “An evaluation of antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antinociceptive activities of essential oil from Curcuma longa. L.” Indian journal of pharmacology 43, no. 5 (2011): 526.|
|↑2||Fung KM, Suhail MM, McClendon B, Woolley CL, Young DG, Lin HK. Management of basal cell carcinoma of the skin using frankincense (Boswellia sacra) essential oil: A case report. OA Alternative Medicine 2013 Jun 01;1(2):14.|
|↑3||B. Dave Oomah, et al., “Characteristics of raspberry (Rubus idaeus L.) seed oil,” Food Chemistry 69 (2000): 187-193.|
|↑4||”Cytotoxicity activity of extracts and compounds from Commiphora myrrha resin against human gynecologic cancer cells ” – Shulan Su et al. – Journal of Medicinal Plants Research – Vol. 5(8), pp. 1382-1389, 18 April, 2011. – Accessed October 15th 2013.|
|↑5||European Journal of Cancer Prevention October 1999, 8(5):449-55|