The number of women affected by breast cancer at some point of their lives is rising steadily across the globe. For the first time now, breast cancer has become the most common type of cancer amongst Indian women too. The effects of essential oils in treating cancer is still a topic of debate but we cannot really overlook the effectiveness of aromatherapy in promoting overall well being & rejuvenation of the body & mind. Essential oils are also well-known for their natural anti-microbial properties & ability to improve immunity.
Breast cancer and aromatherapy – the ray of hope
Numerous in-vitro researches have been performed to find out how essential oils effect the cancer cells. A study found that breast cancer cell lines were destroyed consistently by various essential oils such as jasmine, chamomile & thyme. It was noted that thyme essential oil was able to kill up to 97% of the MCF-7 Breast Cancer Cells. Chamomile essential oil on the other hand was able to kill as much as 93% of the MCF-7 cells. Other essential oils also demonstrated various degrees of effectiveness in destroying the breast cancer cells.
In aromatherapy, citrus oils have been linked with breast health for long. These essential oils extracted from different types of citrus fruits contain limonene as a major constituent which has some proven positive effects in controlling the growth of malignant breast cells. In fact, they were related to suppression of breast cancer development during the earliest stages. Citrus essential oils might also be effective in controlling inflammatory breast cancer.
Breast cancer and essential oils - the counter-argument
While we cannot really undermine the proven effects of essential oils in killing breast cancer cells we also have to keep in mind that all these studies were conducted “in-vitro” which means in a petri dish populated with human breast cancer cells & not on human subjects. As the studies were conducted “in-vitro” hence it might have been possible to supply high concentration of essential oils to each of the cancer cells, which is not practical in case of human subjects.
Essential oils in breast cancer
It is a proven fact that anti-oxidants protect the body cells from the effect of free radicals that may trigger malignancy. The positive impact of increased blood circulation on prevention of breast cancer has also been recorded through numerous studies. Essential oils are considered the most powerful natural anti-oxidants that can heal & rejuvenate without side effects. A well-measured mixture of essential oils can also be very helpful to increase the blood supply in the breast tissues.
Multiple researches have shown that massaging has a notable positive role to play in prevention of breast cancer. According to one research result presented at the annual meeting of the American Society for Cell Biology held in San Francisco, the breast cells, that when left untouched continue to grow uncontrollably leading to breast cancer, stops growing completely on squashing, even after the force is removed.
The take home message
Breast cancer and essential oils is a topic that needs more research, particularly on human subjects to draw any certain conclusions. However, keeping the natural healing power & immune boosting ability of essential oils in mind it can be said with some level of affirmation that essential oils might be helpful for easing the symptoms & side effects of breast cancer & chemotherapy. However, noted aromatherapists suggest not to use essential oils along with chemotherapy but it can be used for better recovery once the therapy is complete.