by Dr Christoph Streicher, Ph.D. and Stephanie Chambers

Scientist working on essential oil research


Chemotherapy and radiotherapy aren’t the only way to kill cancer cells. Essential oils appear to be able to do this, at least under laboratory conditions and in certain concentrations. This leads one to hope that in future patients will be able to use them in treatment instead of having to suffer from the well-known side effects of current treatments.

A study by researchers from China and Germany (Zu Y, Yu H, Liang L, Fu Y, Efferth T, Liu X and Wu N, 20101) on the antibacterial effects of ten essential oils on in vitro toxicology against three human cancer cells was published in the Molecules Journal. It demonstrated that cinnamon, thyme, and rose essential oils had the best antibacterial effect.

The thyme (Thymus vulgarisL., Lamiaceae) essential oil exhibited the strongest ability to kill the three human cancer cells (i.e. PC-3, A-549 and MCF-7). The other essential oils - mint (Mentha spicata L., Lamiaceae), ginger (Zingiber officinale Rosc., Zingiberaceae), lemon (Citrus limonBurm.f., Rutaceae), grapefruit (Citrus paradisiMacf., Rutaceae), jasmine (Jasminum grandiflora L., Oleaceae), lavender (Mill., Lamiaceae), chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla L., Compositae), rose (Rosa damascenaMill., Rosaceae) and cinnamon (Cinnamomum zeylanicumN. Lauraceae) had a lesser effect effect.

Overall the ten essential oils appeared to have a significantly stronger ability to destroy prostate carcinoma cells (PC-3) than they did on lung carcinomas (A549) and breast cancer cells (MCF-7).

While the results are encouraging, we look forward to seeing the clinical trials of these essential oils in the treatment of cancers of various types.





Disclaimer: The statements made in this blog have not been evaluated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). They are not intended to diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. If a condition persists, please contact your physician or healthcare provider. The information provided is not a substitute for a face-to-face consultation with a healthcare provider, and should not be construed as medical advice.