The following are links to information and articles that may be helpful. We don't endorse this information, but have posted it in an effort to broaden the horizon of understanding cancer and possible treatments. Also, see "Cancer, General Information."
Vitamin D Tied to Breast Cancer Outcome
, a MedPage Article: "The 25-OHD level was deemed "insufficient" at or below 30 nanograms per milligrams of blood and "sufficient" above that. Strikingly, Coleman reported, only 10.3% of women in the subgroup had sufficient vitamin D." [Other prominent reports indicate that people should be in the 60-80 ng/ml range]
Robert Tisserand writes: Clary Sage is high in sclareol, which "inhibits the growth of breast and uterine cancer cells in vitro and was slightly more potent than Tamoxifen but was not toxic to normal cells (Sashidhara et all 2007). Summary: Naturally-ocurring sclareol is non-irritant and non-sensitizing. It possesses minimal toxicity and has deomonstrated in vitro antitumoral activity" (Tisserand p. 632).
Jane Buckle RN, PhD writes: "Recent studies have indicated that phytoestrogens, once thought to be contraindicated in cancer, may actually reduce the risk of cancer and could therefore be beneficial." At this point the jury is still out and use of essential oil with these properties may still be something someone would want to avoid. Buckle continues: "It is extremely unlikely that the tiny amounts of estrogen-like compounds used in aromatherapy would impact cancerous growth. Essential oils thought to have estrogen-like effect include Fennel and Aniseed as they contain anethole (Albert-Puleo 1980)." Clary Sage and Niaouli have other components that have structures similar to estrogen (Franchomme and Penole 1991). Buckle notes that both Geranium and Rose "should be fine to use in estrogen-dependent tumors.”
Myrrh May Treat Breast and Prostate Cancer
December 06, 2001
New Brunswick, NJ
Researchers have identified a compound in myrrh, a bitter-tasting, fragrant resin has been used for thousands of years as an ointment, perfume, incense and embalming fluid, that they believe could be developed into a potent anticancer agent. The compound, which kills cancer cells in the laboratory, shows particular promise for the prevention and treatment of breast and prostate cancer, according to the researchers.
The finding is the first to identify an anticancer compound in myrrh, they say. It appears in the current (Nov. 26) print edition of the Journal of Natural Products, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Chemical Society, the world's largest scientific society. It was published in the Web version of the journal on Oct. 25.
"It's a very exciting discovery," says Mohamed M. Rafi, Ph.D., one of the co-researchers in the study and an assistant professor in the department of food science at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey. "I'm optimistic that this compound can be developed into an anticancer drug," he says. The researcher cautions that the compound has not yet been tested in animals or humans.
As part of a larger search for anticancer compounds from plants, the researchers obtained extracts from a particular species of myrrh plant (Commiphora myrrha) and tested it against a human breast tumor cell line (MCF-7) known to be resistant to anticancer drugs. Research data indicated that the extract killed all of the cancer cells in laboratory dishes.
Further investigations to isolate the active component of the extract found it to be a unique and previously unknown compound belonging to a class called sesquiterpenoids, which are typically found in natural products. Rafi indicated that an increasing number of compounds in this class have been identified as having cytotoxic properties against cancer cell lines, but none has reached the marketing stage.
The myrrh compound appears to kill cancer cells by inactivating a specific protein, called Bcl-2, which is overproduced by cancer cells, particularly in the breast and prostate, the researcher says. Overproduction of this protein is believed to promote the growth of cancer cells and make cells more resistant to chemotherapy. As cancer is influenced by many mechanisms, the investigators are now in the process of trying to determine whether the compound also has other mechanisms of inhibitory action against cancer cells.
On the basis of initial laboratory tests, the compound does not appear to be as strong as conventional chemotherapy drugs, such as paclitaxel (TaxolR), vinbalstine and vincristine, which are known to be potent cancer killers.These drugs are highly toxic to healthy cells, however, says Rafi.
The researcher estimates that the compound tested is 100 times less potent than paclitaxel. The compound appears to fall within the moderate strength range of other recently discovered phytochemicals (isolated from plants), including resveratrol (from grapes), genestein (from soy) lycopene (from tomatoes) and catechins (from tea). The good news is that these compounds all come from food and are unlikely to be toxic to healthy cells, which could mean fewer side effects as a chemotherapy agent, the researcher says.
Once the compound is better understood, it's possible that its potency could eventually be increased, the researcher says, who envisions that it could bedeveloped as an oral drug. Rafi predicts that there may be other compounds in myrrh that are more potent than the current anticancer candidate though yet to be isolated from the plant.
Developing any anticancer drug from myrrh may take five to ten years, says Rafi. Animal studies of the current compound are planned. The researchers are in the process of filing a patent on the anticancer compound.
Myrrh is the dried resin obtained from one of several trees of the genus Commiphora. The bitter-tasting, fragrant resin is mentioned in the Bible; it was among the gifts reportedly presented by the Three Wise Men to the infant Jesus. As a medicinal compound, it has been used to kill pain, heal
wounds and neutralize bad breath. There is some documentation that some ancient civilizations may have even used the plant to combat cancer. If so, the current study represents the first scientific evidence of its effectiveness, the researchers say.
Today, myrrh can be found in health food stores as an ingredient in natural toothpaste and mouthwash, where it is used as an alternative to fluoride to fight dental decay. It is also available in capsule form, as a tea, and as an extract.
Rutgers' New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station and the New Jersey Commission for Science and Technology provided funding for this study.
Rutgers Contact: Michele Hujber
732/932/9000, extension 555
American Chemical Society Contact: Beverly Hassell
This press release was prepared and released by the American Chemical Society (ACS). It is released by Rutgers with permission of the ACS.
The online version of the research paper cited above was initially published Oct. 25 on the journal's Web site. Journalists can arrange access to this site by calling either the American Chemical Society or Cook/NAJES/Rutgers contact person for this release.
Mohamed M. Rafi, Ph.D., is an assistant professor in the department of food science at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, N.J.
Chi-Tang Ho, Ph.D., is a professor in the department of food science at the university and lead investigator in the study.
1. Seven years ago I was diagnosed with invasive breast carcinoma. I agreed to have a Lumpectomy but refused the Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy, which involved injecting a blue dye to find out if my lymph was involved. I knew enough to know that I would not let them mess with my lymph glands. The lumpectomy revealed a "need" for more surgery, but I'd watched a close friend go 100% with the butcher, burn, poison approach and decided at this point to engage wholeheartedly in fighting the cancer with natural methods. My oncologist wanted me to take Tamoxifen, but after a lot of research, I opted for the natural alternative of indoles as estrogen antagonists instead. (Indole-3-carbinol, 13C, a major bioactive compound derived from cruciferous vegetables, may be effective in preventing breast cancer.) I found a great naturopath who suggested herbs based on muscle testing, and we worked with my GP who gave me intravenous Vitamin C and monitored my health with blood tests and ultrasound as needed. I overhauled my diet. I replaced my soda and coffee habit with organic fresh juices, including wheatgrass and beets. I also ate more fruit and vegetables (all organic). Since limonene is a cancer fighter, I began to use essential oils with high limonene content such as Lemon, Orange and Grapefruit. I took these internally by adding them to my water and by capsule. I also applied these topically all over my breasts and lymph nodes. I made a massage oil with Frankincense and Balsam Fir in a virgin coconut oil base. I chose these oils based of the testimonies of others and reports that these oils had anticancer properties. Today I am cancer free, but I still use the essential oils daily both topically and internally. I also use Liver/Gallbladder topically to support my liver and Digestion Support topically on my abdomen for support in that department as well. I feel like these oils have not only added years to my life, they've added a quality to my life. I feel better today than I had felt in many years. - Maggie
Buckle, Jane, Clinical Aromatherapy, 2003, page 342.
Tisserand, Robert; Young, Rodney, Essential Oil Safety: A Guide for Health Care Professionals, Elsevier Health Sciences UK, 2013, page 632.