The use of frankincense to treat cancer also has historical precedent. "This is ancient knowledge," says Suhail. "Thousands of years ago, they were doing this. An 11th-century Arab doctor called Avicenna was the first. He treated melanoma [a form of skin cancer] with frankincense."
As ancient people discovered more and more about frankincense's health-giving properties, and demand for the resin increased, many tried to take trees and grow them elsewhere. "But it doesn't work," says Suhail. "There are trees from Oman now growing in Somalia and India, but their chemical properties have changed. Here they grow just right. The limestone soil and the early-morning mist combine to create the perfect conditions. It means Oman really does produce the best frankincense in the world."
The following research is from Dr. Mahmoud Suhail, MD:
Dr. HK Lin has already tested the substance on pancreatic, bladder and breast cancer cells, and the results have been very positive. "Frankincense essential oil can differentiate tumor cells from normal cells. Cancer cells are more sensitive to frankincense oil, but their normal cell counterparts are much more resistant to essential oil treatment." The results showed the frankincense oil was harmless to normal cells, but the frankincense zeroed in and killed the cancer cells. Dr. Lin and his research team discovered that the oil suppressed cancer cell growth and then triggered bladder cancer cell death by activating several cell death pathways.
Now, the question is not whether frankincense essential oil can kill breast cancer cells with aggressive, metastasized, and multi-drug resistant phenotypes in human patients. The main question is now how we can manage the death of massive tumors in the body after frankincense essential oil administration. — H.K. Lin, PhD
Hsueh-Kung (HK) Lin received his MS degree in genetics and PhD in immunology from Cornell University. He completed his postdoctoral training in biochemistry and pharmacology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. After serving on the faculty at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and Washington University School of Medicine, HK joined the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center in October 2000. Currently, he is director of the Regenerative Medicine Laboratory, an associate professor of urology, an adjunct associate professor of physiology, and a member of the Graduate Education Committee for both the Department of Physiology and the Oklahoma Center for Neuroscience at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.
Dr. Mahmoud M. Suhail earned his medical degree from Al Anbar University and is now one of the world's foremost researchers on alternative medical therapies. Currently working out of the Al Afiya PolyClinic in Oman, Dr. Suhail is engaged in cutting-edge research on treating retinopathy and suppressing allergic reactions. His goal is to improve frankincense resin sorting and extraction methods to further increase the purity and potency of its essential oil. Most recently, he has worked with scientists from the University of Oklahoma to study the effects of frankincense on cancerous cells.