According to a new study, frankincense oil, tracing its origin to India, Africa and the Middle East, may prove to be an inexpensive alternative therapy for treating bladder cancer.
Scientists have shown that an enriched extract of the Somalian Frankincense herb Boswellia carteri can kill bladder cancer cells.
Research demonstrates that this herb has the potential for an alternative therapy for bladder cancer, which is twice as common in males as it is in females.
Led by HK Lin from the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center and Oklahoma City VA Medical Center, the researchers set out to evaluate frankincense oil for its anti-tumor activity in bladder cancer cells.
They investigated the effects of the oil in two different types of cells in culture: human bladder cancer cells and normal bladder cells.
And it was found that frankincense oil was able to discriminate between normal and cancerous bladder cells in culture, and specifically kill cancer cells.
The researchers also performed gene expression analyzes to determine how frankincense oil affects bladder cancer cell survival.
They found that it suppresses cancer cell growth by arresting cell cycle progression, and induces bladder cancer cell death by activating multiple cell death pathways.
"Frankincense oil may represent an inexpensive alternative therapy for patients currently suffering from bladder cancer," said Lin.
The study has been published in the open access journal BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine.