A social media post claims frankincense oil cures cancer. We fact-checked and found the claim to be Mostly False.
A Facebook post claims, “Frankincense oil has been used to treat ovarian, breast, and skin cancers. A 2015 study found that breast cancer cells stopped growing when exposed to frankincense oil!”.
What is Frankincense oil?
Frankincense (Boswellia olibanum) is a hardened gum-like aromatic resin formed in the Boswellia tree trunk. A study has shown that, “Boswellia preparations inhibit 5-lipoxygenase and prevent the release of leukotrienes, thus having an anti-inflammatory effect in ulcerative colitis, irritable bowel syndrome, bronchitis and sinusitis. Inhalation and consumption of Boswellia olibanum reduces the risk of asthma.”
Can Frankincense oil cure cancer?
Not exactly. We found a (2015) research paper that suggests frankincense can kill cancer cells. However, there was no discussion on the cancerous area developing new cancer cells even if they have been killed once. Besides this, the breast cancer cells were tested in a controlled environment.
Cancer.net website referred to this (2015) study and another (2012) study to suggest that frankincense oil may damage pancreatic cancer cells.
Also, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) website does not confirm if frankincense oil has been approved for commercial use against cancer. The FDA website has discussed how aromatherapy products such as essential oils that treat health problems are regulated.
We asked Dr Manish Singhal, Senior Oncologist, Apollo Hospitals, to share his views on the claim. In response, Dr Singhal said, “There is no truth in it. Frankincense oil is not a proven alternative to mainstream cancer treatments. No evidence currently suggests using Frankincense oil in place of standard modern medical procedures.”
While searching more about the curative effect of frankincense oil against cancer, we found a few research papers that show boswellic acids might prevent the spread of cancer cells. In conclusion, frankincense oil seems beneficial against cancer cells. But the available evidence does not explain if the oil can prevent cancer relapse. So, the claim remains mostly false till proven otherwise.
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