Posts tagged: essential oils

Frankincense And Myrrh Essential Oils Found To Suppress Multiple Cancers In Lab Studies

Frankincense And Myrrh Essential Oils Found To Suppress Multiple Cancers In Lab Studies
Frankincense And Myrrh Essential Oils Found To Suppress Multiple Cancers In Lab Studies. Graphic © Photo © Shutterstock 176330732 (under license)

Here’s some fascinating research just notified to us by our esteemed friends over at Eden Prescription: Scientists have demonstrated that Frankincense and Myrrh Essential Oils suppress multiple cancers in lab studies. [1]

In the most recent in vitro study, the essential oils of both frankincense and myrrh were shown to potently suppress human breast cancer, lung cancer, cervical cancer, liver cancer and skin cancer – slashing growth rates by at least 50% at surprisingly low concentrations!

Myrrh was the most potent cancer killer of the two, and breast cancer cells were the most easily killed by both essential oils. But how do these medicines of the ancients stack up against other known anticancer herbs?

It turns out that this has already been tested: A fascinating 2009 study [2] compared 374 herbal extracts against neuroblastoma and found that frankincense and myrrh ranked in the best 15 of all 374 extracts! They easily outperformed green tea, oregano, garlic, sage, ginger, rosemary, olive leaf and many others.

I dug this study up and thought the results were worth listing: The “top 15” herbs out of the 374 in the study, in order of potency against neuroblastoma were randomly dispersed across the plant kingdom:

1. Wild Yam Dioscorea villosa (Dioscoreaceae)
2. Bloodroot Sanguinaria canadensis (Papaveraceae)
3. Teasel Dipsacus asper (Dipsacaceae)
4. Balsam Poplar Populus balsamifera (Salicaceae)
5. Frankincense Boswellia carteri (Burseraceae)
6. Guar Bean Cyamopsis psoralioides (Fabaceae)
7. Buckthorn Rhamnus cathartica (Rhamnaceae)
8. Creosote Bush Larrea tridentate (Zygophyllaceae)
9. Blue Evergreen Hydrangea Dichroa febrifuga (Hydrangeaceae)
10. Alkanet Root Batschia canescens (Boraginaceae)
11. Burning Bush Kochia scoparia (Chenopodiaceae)
12. Yellow-fruit Nightshade Solanum xanthocarpum (Solanaceae)
13. Sweet Myrrh Opoponax chironium (Umbelliferae)
14. Blue Cohosh Caulophyllum thalictroides (Berberidaceae)
15. Dryopteris crassirhizoma (A type of fern) (Dryopteridaceae)
16. Malabar tamarind Garcinia cambogia (Clusiaceae)
17. Chaste Tree Vitex agnus-castus (Verbenaceae)
18. Dragon’s Blood Calamus draco (Arecaceae).

Other studies indicate positive results for Frankincense: Earlier research (2006) found cytotoxic effects of frankincense-derived compounds against neuroblastoma – with 15 of the 18 compounds demonstrating potent cytotoxic activities in vitro. [3]

A 2011 study found that the action of Frankincense Essential Oil was selective against breast cancer cells, whereas normal human breast cells were more resistant to essential oil treatment! The researchers concluded that Frankincense (Boswellia sacra) essential oil should be tested for safety and efficacy as an actual therapeutic agent for treating breast cancer. [4]

Frankincense and myrrh are the dried resin (sap) from small trees (closely related to each other) that grow in the Middle East and Northeast Africa. Frankincense and myrrh are most commonly used in incense – and widely available as incense and essential oils, in soaps, skin lotions, aromatherapy, body scrubs and are even found in a rubbing oil for the prevention of cold and flu due to their potent antibacterial and antiviral properties!

They’ve also been used in traditional medicine for thousands of years; for relief from pain, fever, coughing, sore throat, swelling, and digestive problems.

Safety / use note: Please note that in general, in vitro studies (i.e. lab studies conducted on cell cultures) such as these do not demonstrate that the substances tested are in any way safe or effective to use medicinally.

It is also not ascertained to what extent the active compounds from the herbs would survive digestion / skin absorption and make it to the places in the body where they would need to go to work, however positive in vitro results are the first indicators that further trials might be conducted with a view to the creation of new medicines.

Some of the substances mentioned may be available as herbal products but for legal reasons we have to “cover our butts” and can make no actual medicinal recommendations as to their use. We do not claim that ingestion of the substances tested is either safe or effective.

It does appear however from the studies that frankincense and myrrh show very interesting potential for investigation as potential cancer medicines.

Further Reading: Check out also our full herbal research pages on Frankincense and Myrrh Essential Oil.


[1] Composition and potential anticancer activities of essential oils obtained from myrrh and frankincense. (2013) Oncol. Lett.

[2] In vitro screening for the tumoricidal properties of international medicinal herbs. (2009) Phytother Res.

[3] Cancer chemopreventive effects and cytotoxic activities of the triterpene acids from the resin of Boswellia carteri. (2006) Biol Pharm Bull.

[4] Boswellia sacra essential oil induces tumor cell-specific apoptosis and suppresses tumor aggressiveness in cultured human breast cancer cells. (2011) BMC Complement Altern Med.

Top 10 Essential Oils for Sleep And Insomnia

Top 10 Essential Oils for Sleep & Insomnia
Top 10 Essential Oils for Sleep And Insomnia
Graphic – © Oil pic – Eden’s Garden

Check out this great list of essential oils that are known for their calming qualities. Valerian has been used as a sedative since old times, lavender is a classic sleep remedy, as is chamomile.

There are lots of interesting ways to apply essential oils. For example, did you know that you can add a few drops to a tablespoon of base oil (try organic coconut or almond oil) and then massage the soles of your feet? Try this with lavender 20 minutes before sleep time… You can also try adding a few drops of your fav oils to a bath (heavenly!), using a diffuser or adding them to a massage oil. You can even drop a few drops on clothing or bedding and let the terpenes and other molecules work their magic… 😉

Learn (tons!) more about the essential oils listed with our super in-depth guides. We go beyond…
1. Lavender
2. Valerian
3. (personal fav!) Neroli
4. Clary Sage
5. Vetiver
6. Roman Chamomile
7. Patchouli
8. Sandalwood
9. Cedarwood
10. Marjoram

We also have full pages on 50 other popular oils here:

We also have a list of 10 Herbs For Insomnia

Note – always dilute essential oils and do not ingest without expert guidance. Note also that oils will stain some fabrics.

Top 10 Essential Oils for Sleep And Insomnia
Top 10 Essential Oils for Sleep And Insomnia
Graphic – © Photo © Shutterstock (under license)

Top 10 Essential Oils for Sleep And Insomnia
Top 10 Essential Oils for Sleep And Insomnia
Graphic – ©

Scientists Find Pumpkin Seed Oil Causes 40% Hair Increase In Men With Alopecia!

Scientists Find Pumpkin Seed Oil Causes 40 Percent Hair Increase In Men With AlopeciaPhoto – © 2014 Young Hye Cho et al., lic. under CC. Infographic © Pumpkin seed photo © Igor Dutina – (under license)

An astonishing scientific study from the Republic of Korea [1] has found that supplementation with pumpkin seed oil caused significant hair growth in men with Androgenetic Alopecia (male pattern baldness).

In the study, which used placebo-controlled double-blind methods, 76 men consumed either a placebo or 400mg of pumpkin seed oil per day (4 doses of 100mg daily) for 24 weeks.

Average hair count increases of an amazing 40% were observed in the men treated with pumpkin seed oil at 24 weeks. No negative effects were attributed to the pumpkin seed oil.

A fascinating possible mechanism of action here: Pumpkin seeds are naturally high in zinc, which is (according to Dr. Berg here) a natural inhibitor of 5a-reductase, an enzyme responsible for the conversion of testosterone to DHT (dihydrotestosterone), which has been implicated in male pattern baldness.

In fact, medications that inhibit 5a-reductase are prescribed for male pattern baldness, prostate hypertrophy and erectile dysfunction! FDA-approved medicines for the treatment of male pattern baldness include topical minoxidil and oral finasteride; however these have been found to have negative side effects, including loss of libido (finasteride) and scalp itching (minoxidil). Finasteride was originally announced in Pharmacotherapy in 1993. [2]

The study concluded that pumpkin seed oil is potentially a safe, effective agent to address male pattern baldness. Note of course that one scientific study is not regarded as medical “proof” and the positive result would need to be replicated by several other studies. But this is a very promising piece of news for men worldwide.

One of the reasons why I find this study particularly interesting is that for the past 15+ years, I have consumed at least a handful of organic pumpkin seeds per day. I mow through those things! I don’t know anyone else who has eaten pumpkin seeds as steadily and regularly as myself. Now there is of course no way that I can prove the reasons why; but at 50 years old I have a 100% full head of hair, without the least signs of receding hairline or thinning at the crown. Coincidence? Perhaps not.

Pumpkin seeds are an incredible nutritional source. Previous studies have indicated that they may be beneficial for prostate health, arthritis, diabetes, restful sleep and more. In addition to being rich in zinc – which is also associated with healthy male sexual function – other scientific research has indicated that they may be valuable as part of a supportive regimen for benign prostatic hyperplasia (enlarged prostate). [3] Pumpkin has also been found by scientists to have anti-cancer qualities.

Check out our full, detailed report on the Amazing Health Benefits Of Pumpkin Seeds.

How to best consume them? This part is easy – just sprinkle them on top of savory foods of all kinds! Salads, mashed potato, soup, cheese on toast, scrambled eggs.. you name it. I put pumpkin seeds on all of it.

One last note: Be sure to get the organic ones. They have the highest nutritional content. You will probably find these darker in color than the non-organic ones. If you’re curious as to why, read our in-depth report on new findings regarding the nutritional superiority of organic foods; which explains the science behind why organic food is now regarded as much better for health.

References (links to the scientific papers):

[1] Effect of Pumpkin Seed Oil on Hair Growth in Men with Androgenetic Alopecia: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial (2014)

[2] Finasteride: the first 5 alpha-reductase inhibitor. Pharmacotherapy (1993)

[3] Effects of pumpkin seed oil and saw palmetto oil in Korean men with symptomatic benign prostatic hyperplasia (2009)