New Research Shows Frankincense Natural Essential Oil Induces Pancreatic Cancer Cell Death

Pancreatic cancer is the cause for millions of deaths every year. A very big problem about pancreatic cancer is that 53 percent of the people who suffer from this condition are being diagnosed when cancer has already metastasized. Another problem is that the therapeutic agents (such as Gemcitabine (Gemzar®), 5-flourouracil, and erlotinib) used to treat advanced pancreatic cancer have shown little results, and caused many side-effects.

However, there is a real hope that mortality caused by pancreatic cancer is going to stop after the emergence of a study which claims that Frankincense essential oil made from hydrodistillation of Boswellia sacra gum resins has the ability to destroy pancreatic cancer cells in humans. This claim should not surprise us because gum resins from Boswellia species have been used to treat many different conditions in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine for centuries.

The aim of this study was to identify the optimal conditions for preparing frankincense essential oil that possesses potent anti-tumor activity, and to measure its activity in both human pancreatic cancer cells and a xenograft mouse cancer model. As a part of the process, the Boswellia resins were hydrodistilled at 78°C, and the distillates were collected at different times (Fraction I at 0–2 h, Fraction II at 8–10 h, and Fraction III at 11–12 h). In addition, there was another distillation performed at 100°C, for which the distillate was collected at 11 – 12 h (Fraction IV). Together with control saline solution, all of these frankincense extracts were used to conduct tests on mice that had implanted pancreatic tumor cells which were allowed to grow for 7 days. The lab rats were given either a control saline solution or Frankincense essential oil every 4 days.


- All fractions of frankincense essential oil fromBoswellia sacra have the ability to suppress cancerous cells, but with different results (Fractions III and IV have shown better results)

- Frankincense essential oil has increased cytotoxicity (growth suppression) of pancreatic cancer tumors 3 hours after treatment.

- Frankincense essential oil activated apoptosis (cell suicide) in the pancreatic cancer cells.

- Tumors were significantly smaller when treated with Frankincense oil rather than the control group (76.67 mm^3 compared to 204 mm^3).

- Frankincense oil also has the ability to regenerate disc, cartilage, and bone. The boswellic acids found in the oil are powerful anti-inflammatory agents that can fight against rheumatoid arthritis and osteoporosis.

Here is the conclusion of the researchers:

“The extracts from hydrodistillation of Boswellia sacra gum resins might become a new therapeutic option for pancreatic cancer treatment in human patients after efficiency can be further confirmed. In addition, pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamic studies are required to optimize the use of frankincense essential oil for anti-cancer therapy”.

You can read the study here if you need more detailed info -


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