Frankincense Oil Fights Bladder Cancer

Frankincense resin—and the essential oil made from it—have long been used for more than just perfume or aromatherapy products. Frankincense has been used for centuries to treat digestive disorders like Crohn’s and inflammatory conditions like arthritis. More recently, various preparations made from frankincense have been studied for depression, various inflammatory conditions and bowel conditions like Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.

Now, a new study says that frankincense may also someday prove a valuable ally in the fight against bladder cancer.

For this in vitro study, researchers purchased vials of frankincense essential oil from Young Living Essential Oils then mixed the oil with bladder cancer cells. Within 3 hours the cancer cells exposed to the frankincense oil had undergone (or begun the process of) apoptosis, or pre-programmed cell death.

This study gives researchers hope that frankincense oil, which can kill human bladder cancer cells while leaving healthy urothelial cells alone, may someday lead to the development of a frankincense-based treatment for bladder cancer in humans.


Frank, M., et al. (2009). Frankincense oil derived from Boswellia carteri induces tumor cell specific cytotoxicity. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine.



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