Health knowledge and news provided by doctors.

Frankincense oil found to be an effective treatment in various types of cancer

Frankincense oil an effective treatment for cancer

There is some medical evidence that frankincense can help treat cancer.


A 52 year-old male patient who was diagnosed with invasive high-grade urothelial cell carcinoma (UCC) of the urinary bladder decided to delay standard treatment and started oral Boswellia sacra gum resin (frankincense oil). It was observed that within the first year after diagnosis, the patient experienced two recurrences. However both recurring tumors were smaller than the original one. Furthermore, after the removal of the second tumor by TURB, the patient was observed to have an intact genitourinary system, 14 months down the track. This case index suggests that frankincense oil has cancer chemopreventive effects on UCC.

The unconventional treatment lasted for 25 months, and consisted of daily oral administration of 3 mL of frankincense oil.

The active compounds of Frankincense oil are called Boswellic acids. The most effective acid found in Frankincense is: AKBA (3-O-acetyl-11-keto-β-boswellic acid), which is a type of triterpernic acid.

How does The AKBA act on cancer cells?

1) It Inhibits the production of the enzyme 5-lipoxygenase(5-LOX), as it binds itself to it, in a calcium dependent and reversible and act as a non-redox type, non competitive inhibitor. This is beneficial in fighting cancer at a molecular level, since studies have shown that increased expression of the 5-LOX enzyme and the LTB4 receptors were observed in pancreatic cancer.

Follow eMaxHealth on YouTube, Twitter and Facebook.
Please, click to subscribe to our Youtube Channel to be notified about upcoming health and food tips.

2)The AKBA has been proven to inhibit the synthesis of DNA, RNA and protein in human cancers like leukemia HL-60 cells in a dose dependent system.

3)The effects of Boswellia acids compounds,like AKBA were observed in a study on prostate cancer cells in vitro. The researchers found that Boswellia acids induces aptosis ( cell death) of cancer cells. Thus, Boswellia acids and related compounds were found to act on IκB kinase (IKK), an enzyme that Modulates the Activity of the Androgen Receptor in Prostate Carcinoma Cell Lines.

4)A recent study analised which pathway boswellic acids act in order to trigger apoptosis of colon cancer HT-29 cells. They found that (beta-boswellic acid)BA, (keto-beta-boswellic acid )KBA and (acetyl-keto-beta-boswellic acid )AKBA inhibited the [ 3 H]thymidine incorporation essay, which is a method used to measure the radioactivity in DNA recovered from the cells, in order to determine the extent of cell division that has occurred in response to a test agent.

The inhibitory effect was noted to be dose dependant in which the AKBA was found to have the strongest effect.

Given all the positive results of frankincense oil consumption in order to combat cancer, some studies have suggested that crude essential oil prepared from hydrodistillation of Boswellia sacra gum resins, might be a useful alternative therapeutic agent for treating patients with an aggressive cancer with poor prognosis.

However, health professionals advise that the quality and quantity of frankincense oil to be ingested needs to be established by a trained professional in aromatherapy.