By Shelly Allen, CEOC, AADP accredited
In continuing our Essential Oils for Breast Health series, this week we will focus on Frankincense essential oil.
Frankincense is probably one of the most widely recognized essential oils along with it’s BFF, Myrrh. Anyone who has any affiliation with the bible will immediately reflect on frankincense and myrrh as gifts the three wise men brought to baby Jesus. So what would make frankincense and myrrh such great gifts for mother and baby after child birth? To answer that we must look at the oil’s chemical components.
There are three types of frankincense; Boswellia Carterii, Boswellia Sacra, and Boswellia Frereana. All three types have high levels of alpha-pinene, a monoterpene shown in clinical studies to have powerful anti-inflammatory effects, anti-bacterial, anti-cancer properties, and appears to function as a broad spectrum antibiotic. Some studies have even shown oils high in alpha-pinene may produce anti-anxiety and sedative effects. Seems the three wise men really were wise to give the gift of frankincense. It may have helped mother Mary with inflammation following birth, ward off illness causing bacteria and perhaps even ward off postpartum depression. Now, I’m just guessing here because no one really knows why frankincense and myrrh were gifts to the baby Jesus but it does seem to make sense.
All that’s great information, but we are here to talk about breast health and how to support healthy breast tissue using frankincense essential oil. For that I turn to an in vitro (petri dish) study from 2011 observing Boswellia Sacra essential oils’ effect on cultured human breast cancer cells. Researchers found the oil to induce tumor cell-specific apoptosis or death and suppression of tumor aggressiveness. Their conclusion:
“Similar to our previous observations in human bladder cancer cells, Boswellia sacra essential oil induces breast cancer cell-specific cytotoxicity. Suppression of cellular network formation and disruption of spheroid development of breast cancer cells by Boswellia sacra essential oil suggest that the essential oil may be effective for advanced breast cancer. Consistently, the essential oil represses signaling pathways and cell cycle regulators that have been proposed as therapeutic targets for breast cancer. Future pre-clinical and clinical studies are urgently needed to evaluate the safety and efficacy of Boswellia sacra essential oil as a therapeutic agent for treating breast cancer.”
How to use it
This study is one among many that have signaled Frankincense may be a great tool in the fight against breast cancer. Since an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, adding a daily regimen of frankincense (Baswellia sacra) application to breast tissue may be a good idea. Adding a few drops of frankincense to a few drops of your favorite carrier oil (like apricot kernel oil) and applying to breasts after showering is a great way to implement it.
Since frankincense crosses the blood brain barrier, aromatherapy is another great way to implement it. Simply drop a couple drops into the palms, rub together, cup the palms over the mouth and nose and breath deeply for a few minutes. Not only could you be supporting your breast health but you will also be reaping the many benefits that frankincense essential oil has to offer.