March 25, 2011

Research Updates on Frankincense and Cancer

A life-threatening disease, Brain tumor is spoken widely because of its invasive and infiltrative character. This inherently serious disease is defined as abnormal growth of cells within the brain or the central spinal cord. One can find ‘n’ number of abstracts talking about the use of radiotherapy, treatment with dexamethasone to eradicate the tumor but usage of these have also pen down various side effects. A recent trail test uncovered several interesting studies we had not yet seen.

Highlights of the study:

• The boswellia serrata species of frankincense acts well on radiotherapy-related edema for treating tumor
• A number of studies shows that the boswellia serrata usage has the property of boosting the immunity system
• Boswellic acid, an extract of boswellia serrata has anti-neoplastic activity, in experimenting primary and secondary brain tumors.


The activity of Boswellia serrata in radiotherapy-related edema is monitored by conducting a randomized, placebo-controlled, double blind, pilot trail. In this study measuring boswellia's efficacy against tumor, boswellia outperformed a placebo in reducing pain and improving knee mobility.

Background study:

Boswellia serrata(BS) are also commonly known as Indian frankincense as it originated from India and are also found in Africa and Middle East. The usage of Boswellia serrata has become more evident in modern times as Anti-Asthmatic, Wrinkle Reduction, Aromatherapy, Anti-Inflammatory, cancer treatment and tumor too because of its anti-neoplastic property. The aim of this study is to evaluate the Bowellia Serrata’s efficacy on cerebral edema in patients for brain tumor.


Sample Size: 44 patients with primary or secondary malignant cerebral tumors selected.
Sampling technique: Random sampling.
These chosen samples were assigned to radiotherapy plus and BS 4200 mg/day or placebo.


• The primary endpoint is the volume of cerebral edema in the T2-weighted MRI report.
• The Secondary endpoints are the toxicity, cognitive function, quality of life, and the need for dexamethasone medication.
• Serum concentration of boswellic acids were analysed in the blood samples taken.


All these below mentioned results were observed immediately at the end of radiotherapy and BS/Placebo treatment and impact of antitumor can be seen.
Volume of Cerebral edema:

By Radiotherapy

• Observed reduction in the cerebral edema greater than 75 %
• More than 60 % of the patients reported the same

By Placebo/BS

• More than 26% of the patients reported
• No impact on cognitive function
• minor gastrointestinal discomfort seen in 6 patients

No traces of adverse effects.

No statistical difference in the dexamethasone dose during radiotherapy.

BS detected in the patients serum.


The frankincense oil, an extract of BS was successful in achieving the following
• MRI reported reduction in the cerebral edema with the usage of Boswellia serrata
• BS acts as a steroid sparring patients receiving brain irradiation


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