The Truth About Essential Oils And Cancer

As more studies on natural therapies are being done, it is becoming clear that people don’t have to solely rely on prevailing treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation to eliminate cancer.

Holistic treatments are widespread and a quick look at the Internet will provide you with a wide array of online resources on the topic. Of all the most well-known solutions available today, essential oils and cancer research have attracted attention and it’s easy to know why.


Essential Oils And Cancer Research

There are four truths about cancer and essential oils (EOs):

1. Research reveals that oils can aid in the prevention and treatment of cancer at the cellular level. They have also been shown to be very effective at minimizing the side effects of cancer, as well as the effects brought about by cancer treatments.


2. It is vital to understand that this is not an all-or-nothing method. You can still use essential oils while undergoing chemotherapy. Many patients and healthcare professionals simply consider natural and allopathic therapies as separate entities and do not recognize the need to use them together.

3. We need to see things from another angle and remember that the peer-reviewed articles about the capability of essential oils to prevent, stop, and even reverse the spread of cancer are in vitro. This means there aren’t many human trials that involve a considerable number of participants.


Instead, we have studies that use human cells in a petri dish. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that these studies are futile. Remember that using essential oil therapy for cancer is still experimental.

4. There are a significant number of people on the Internet who claim that EOs have helped treat their cancer. These results cannot be disputed because most of them are simply from people who are not selling anything. These are bonafide medical “miracles,” which will be used for further research.


8 Best Essential Oils For Cancer Patients

Of all of the studies on essential oils, here are some that explain how essential oil therapy can help patients with cancer.

1. Citrus Oils

Citrus Oils Helps Cancer Patients


The most popular and important component of citrus oils is d-limonene, which has been found to be a powerful cancer-fighting agent. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine’s open chemistry database, PubChem:

“D-Limonene is an oral dietary supplement, containing a natural cyclic monoterpene and major component of the oil extracted from citrus peels with potential chemopreventive and antitumor activities. Although the mechanism of action has yet to be fully elucidated, limonene and its metabolites perillic acid, dihydroperillic acid, uroterpenol, and limonene 1,2-diol may inhibit tumor growth through inhibition of p21-dependent signaling and may induce apoptosis via the induction of the transforming growth factor – beta-signaling pathway. In addition, they inhibit post-translational modification of signal transduction proteins, resulting in G1 cell cycle arrest as well as differential expression of cell-cycle and apoptosis-related genes.”


2. Clary Sage

Clary Sage Helps Cancer Patients

Sclareol – the major ingredient of clary sage essential oil – has potentially powerful anti-cancer effects in laboratory studies. Studies dating back from 1999 to just recently have revealed how it affects the way cancer cells spread by eliminating them via a process called apoptosis.1 2


Apoptosis causes cancer cells to commit “suicide” through programmed cell death. This suggests that clary sage oil could have significant effects on preventing and treating cancer.

Clary sage contains phytoestrogens that are commonly avoided by people with cancers caused by estrogen. Hopefully, more studies will be conducted to help change the view that cancer patients should avoid certain oils because they contain phytoestrogens, which, in theory, can make cancer worse.

3. Frankincense

Frankincense Helps Cancer Patients

Of all the essential oils capable of combating cancer, frankincense (Boswellia sacra, B. carterii, B. frereana, and B. serrata) is the most disputable. Studies on frankincense are being closely looked at because of their industry bias, with some of them claiming that frankincense oil doesn’t have chemical compounds that can kill cancer. However, when you do an online search, you’ll see a lot of positive testimonials and healing stories. It is hard to disregard thousands of people who claim that frankincense helped treat their cancer.

The biggest problem some chemists and aromatherapists have about frankincense is that it might contain boswellic acids (BAs), which have been found to be “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.”3

Whether it contains BAs or not, a number of studies have been published proving that it can help with bladder4, breast5, colon6, skin7, stomach8, and pancreatic cancers.9

Including frankincense, essential oils in a healthcare routine can do more than just fight tumors. For people undergoing conventional anti-cancer procedures, the pain and other side-effects can be more problematic than the disease itself. This is particularly true for those with brain cancer, who often experience cerebral edema after surgery or radiation therapy. Steroid treatment may also make these side-effects worse.

Frankincense extract can aid in this problem. A 2011 clinical study of 44 patients found that swelling was reduced by 75% or more among 60% of the patients with cerebral edema after taking 4200 mg/day of a Boswellia serrata (BS) extract. The scientists deduced that “BS could potentially be steroid-sparing for patients receiving brain irradiation.”10

BS extract can also help reduce depression and pain and strengthen the immune system.11 12

4. Lavender

Lavender Helps Cancer Patients

Antioxidants are a big help when healing our body. Free radicals, on the other hand, are caused by chemicals, pollutants, stress, and toxins. They can cause cellular damage, weaker immune systems, and other health issues. In short, antioxidants are the superheroes while free radicals are their super nemeses.

The human body produces antioxidants in the form of catalase (CAT), glutathione peroxidase (GSH-Px), and superoxide dismutase (SOD) among others. However, when it is frequently exposed to free radicals, naturally occurring antioxidants can be drained quickly.
It has been found that lavender essential oil can improve the levels of all three enzymes in mice within the first day of the treatment, plus it can safeguard brain cells from stroke and other damage.13

Romanian scientists observed similar activity through the inhalation of lavender for one hour daily. The study said, “Taken together, our results suggest that antioxidant and antiapoptotic activities – of healthy brain cells – of the lavender essential oils are the major mechanisms for their potent neuroprotective effects against scopolamine-induced oxidative stress in the rat brain.”14

5. Lemongrass

Lemongrass Helps Cancer Patients

A number of studies looked at the potential of lemongrass essential oil to combat cancer.15 A 2009 article studied the in vitro cytotoxicity ability of the essential oil of Cymbopogon flexuosus (a variety of lemongrass) against 12 human cancer cell lines and its anti-cancer effect on mice in vivo. The results were groundbreaking.

It was found that the essential oil activates a number of mechanisms that eliminate cancer cells. Results indicated that the oil has the potential to deter cancer activity and make tumor cells less prominent by triggering the apoptotic process.16

6. Myrrh

Myrrh Helps Cancer Patients

In 2013, a study published in the journal Oncology Letters revealed that myrrh has more anticancer properties than frankincense.17
For years, resins from frankincense and myrrh trees have been used in Chinese medicine to treat inflammatory diseases and blood stagnation. They also offer effective relief from swelling and pain.18

Although the researchers failed to find a synergistic effect regarding cancer, a previous study found that combining myrrh and frankincense oils produces synergistic effects on the harmful bacterial infections Cryptococcus neoformans and Pseudomonas aeruginosa.19 20

7. Peppermint And Spearmint

Peppermint And Spearmint Help Cancer Patients

BioMed Research International published an article in 2014 revealing that peppermint and spearmint are very good at dealing with the common side effects of conventional cancer treatments, particularly vomiting and nausea.

As the study suggests, these oils as well as other EOs can provide aid in a wide range of conditions experienced by cancer patients. They can also help reduce the medical expenses of people with this life-threatening disease.

  • Cancer side effects can be reduced using alternative methods. EOs are utilized in aromatherapy to minimize the suffering of brain cancer patients.21 Essential oils are effective against depression and anxiety.22 Cancer patients receiving chemotherapy are prone to a wide range of side-effects.23
  • Menthaspicata (spearmint) and M. Piperita (peppermint) are quite helpful in overcoming these side-effects. They also help reduce the cost of treatment.24
  • EOs of Leptospermum scoparium (Manuka myrtle) and Kunzea ericoides (Karo Greenfingers) can stop mucositis in the head and neck when used as a mouthwash.25
  • Cancer patients with metastatic tumorigenic ulcers of the skin sometimes develop necrosis and malodor.26 A mixture of eucalyptus, melaleuca, lemongrass, lemon, clove leaf, and thyme EOs with a 40% ethanol base can help improve malodor.27
  • Lavender EO is frequently used in aromatherapy and can be helpful in easing the distress of cancer patients.28 Therefore, essential oils are quite effective at reducing the side-effects and difficulties of cancer patients.

8. Thyme

Thyme Helps Cancer Patients

The journal Molecules published a study in 2010 showing that thyme essential oil is the most effective against prostate, lung carcinoma, and breast cancers.29 A major herb that promotes estrogen binding, thyme oil aids in balancing and regulating hormones.30

Similar to clary sage, thyme is not the only potential estrogenic EO known for its latent anti-cancer properties. Interestingly, people with cancer are often told to avoid estrogen because cancer holds receptors for estrogen.

With the powerful anti-cancer qualities of essential oils we have encountered in the studies mentioned above, it is possible that we’ll soon find out that the plants and foods we avoid because of their “cancer-causing” properties may actually possess the secret to unlocking our body’s natural capability to fight cancer.

Interested to find out more? Click on the link below to learn how to effectively use essential oils