Frankincense Superior to Chemotherapy in Killing Late-Stage Ovarian Cancer Cells
In a research study carried out by a Ph.D. student (Kamla Al-Salmani) at Leicester University and announced in December 2014 it was found that one of the natural chemicals in Frankincense killed late stage Ovarian Cancer,
The late stage Ovarian Cancer cells have been found to be difficult to kill using traditional medicine, whereas a natural substance appears to do this with ease.
There are 180 chemicals to be found in the resin of the Boswellia sacra tree (Frankinsense Tree) and one compound AKBA (acetyl-11-keto-beta-boswellic acid) which was derived from the resin was shown to be effective in killing Ovarian Cancer cells. It is likely that there are other compounds within the resin that does the same thing, but this is the first to be shown that kills Ovarian Cancer.
The lead researcher said;
After a year of studying the AKBA compound with ovarian cancer cell lines in vitro, we have been able to show it is effective at killing the cancer cells. Frankincense is taken by many people with no known side effects. This finding has enormous potential to be taken to a clinical trial in the future and developed into an additional treatment for ovarian cancer.
Frankincense has been used as a folk medicine for centuries due to its anti-inflammatory properties, making it a viable treatment for asthma, skin conditions and gastroenteritis among others. Previous studies have also successfully linked AKBA as a potential treatment for many other cancers, including colon, breast and prostate cancer; however this is the first study to demonstrate its potential in combating ovarian cancer.
The research has shown that this frankincense compound is effective at killing ovarian cancer cells at realistic concentrations. What has been most surprising is that the cells we have tested which are resistant to chemotherapy have shown to be more sensitive to this compound, suggesting frankincense may indeed be able to help overcome drug resistance, and lead to an improved survival rate for patients with late-stage ovarian cancer.
This may not be the silver bullet that people with Ovarian Cancer may be hoping for, but at least Frankincense is a natural product that is available on the world market. Because it is a natural product it cannot be patented although a very similar chemical compound made in a laboratory will eventually be patented.
The problem with getting sufficient quantities of this natural cancer killer is that the Frankincense tree in the areas where it originated (Arabian Peninsula and Horn of Africa) is under threat of extinction. Recent studies have indicated that frankincense tree populations are declining due to overexploitation. Heavily tapped trees have been found to produce seeds that germinate at only 16% while seeds of trees that had not been tapped germinate at more than 80%.
Animals in Oman often browse on the tree’s foliage, flowers, and seedlings, resulting in scant regeneration; the mature trees that remain are apparently dying.
The trees start producing resin when they are about 8 to 10 years old.
The resin is extracted by making a small, shallow incision on the trunk or branches of the tree or by removing a portion of the crust of it. The resin is drained as a milky substance that coagulates in contact with air and is collected by hand.
Growing conditions vary significantly, affecting both tree development and resin produced. Trees in the narrow fog-laden zone where the desert meets Dhofar mountain range, a region known as the Nejd, grow extremely slowly and produce very high quality resin in large, white clumps. Not surprisingly, Omanis and other Gulf State Arabs consider this to be superior to all other resins produced in North and Northeast Africa, India, and Asia, and it is priced accordingly.
1. Frankincense as a Potentially Novel Therapeutic Agent in Ovarian Cancer
Kamla Al Salmani1, Esther Moss1,, Don Jones2, Raj Patel2, Ikram Burney3, Mark D. Evans1
1Department of Cancer Studies,& 2Department of Biochemistry, University of Leicester; 3Department of Oncology, Sultan Qaboos University, Oman.