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The untold story of Frankincense: How this holiday-story herb is making a medical comeback

by Allison Brooks, natural health contributor

As the holidays creep up among us and our houses start to smell of sweet cinnamon and candy canes, families share their holiday stories. The stories are range in holiday spirits and traditions, but one is about the three wise men and how they brought gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. I know as a child growing up, I never thought twice about what frankincense and myrrh were, but now frankincense is making a debut in the medical realm.

Widely used aromatherapy plant, Frankincense, has been used for generations to clear the mind and open the soul. It has been used in ceremonial services or in the homes to help clear the mind of evil thoughts and promote a more relaxed environment. But now Frankincense is making a comeback by being used as an integrative therapy in arthritis and cancer treatment.

Cardiff University scientists have been researching Boswellia frerean, a species of frankincense, to study its effects on inflammatory arthritis and osteoarthritis. So far, they have demonstrated that the extract stops the production of inflammatory molecules which helps prevent the breakdown of cartilage.  This is big news in the prevention of arthritis, or the future cure, but more studies are to be conducted.

This “stopping- agent” of the frankincense species is also being studied with cancer cells. Scientific studies are establishing the “reset” function frankincense has on the brain. Doctors have noted a frankincense aromatherapy treatment, actually separates the nucleus of the cancerous cell from the cytoplasm, making it unable to reproduce corrupt/cancerous DNA. This is a major development in cancer treatment since the frankincense does not negatively interact with healthy cells, unlike chemotherapy.

Though there is no concrete scientific evidence, many doctors recommend patients with an unfavorable cancer prognosis to adopt some form of complementary therapy. Not only do alternative therapies help relax the mind and body; they also promote immune system function, which is key during stressful times.

Many patients with aggressive cancer, like non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma or mesothelioma, face a difficult road ahead with treatments, and holistic complements to conventional treatments are a beneficial way to reduce the effects of symptoms and promote healing.

Who would have thought that over nine-thousand years ago a cleansing and curative plant would be the medical science of tomorrow?

References: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110621121316.htm


Allie Brooks studies different forms of healing and has a degree in Biomedical Anthropology from the University of Mississippi. She and currently does field studies while finishing an ethnography of biomedicalization in Bolivian cultures. She can be reached at naturallie23@gmail.com