Then the LORD God planted a garden in Eden in the east, and there he placed the man he had made. The LORD God made all sorts of trees grow up from the ground—trees that were beautiful and that produced delicious fruit… aromatic resin …is also found there (Genesis 2:1-12).

Why did He mysteriously stick that little phrase, “”aromatic resin…is” also found there” in the narrative of His creation of our perfect world? It seems so… superfluous….

Today, however, one of the most frightening and discouraging words we can be told is “cancer.” Not only is the disease, in all its many forms, horrifying, but so too is the thought of what the therapy will bring. We all know those who have faced the nausea, the hair loss, the surgeries…. Our hearts and prayers go out to them. But there is very optimistic research that has been replicated and reviewed by the thousands of research studies, that perhaps, the Lord, in all His wisdom and love, has provided protection from these complex and mysterious diseases. Perhaps one promising answer may be right under our noses!! The AROMATIC RESIN

Lee W. Wattenberg, of the Laboratory of Medicine and Pathology, University of Minnesota, writes:

One group of naturally occurring compounds of particular interest consists of minor dietary non-nutrients. Foods of plant origin frequently contain as much as several per cent of these compounds. In recent years there has been a growing awareness that they may have important effects on the consequences of exposure to carcinogenic agents. …The non-nutrient inhibitors of cancer growth have several different mechanisms of action. Some are blocking agents; that is, they prevent carcinogens from reaching or reacting with critical target sites. Others are suppressing agents, meaning they prevent neoplastic (evolution of a new uncontrolled growth of abnormal tissue or a “tumor,”) in cells that otherwise would become malignant. Occasionally, one compound will show both mechanisms.(1)

Citrus Fruits- Natural Cancer Killers

Oils from citrus fruits are loaded with natural cancer killers.

Salvestrol Q40

One of these plant compounds extracted from tangerine peel can kill certain human cancer cells, research shows. A team from Leicester School of Pharmacy in Great Britain found Salvestrol Q40 was turned into a compound toxic to cancer cells, destroying them. The researchers suggest the modern trend to throw away the peel may have contributed to a rise in some cancers!! Lead researcher Dr. Hoon Tan said his work was still at an early stage, but together with his colleagues he is further investigating the potential to develop natural anti-cancer therapies. He said: “It is very exciting to find a compound in food that can target cancers specifically.” Salvestrol 40 is a chemical produced by the plant’s immune system to repel attackers, such as insects or fungi. It is converted into a toxic compound by an enzyme, found in much higher levels in cancer cells. In other words, cancer cells use the Salvestrol to create their own killer compound! As a result, the researchers found, it proved to be 20 times more toxic to cancer cells than to healthy cells. Dr. Tan said Salvestrol was found in other fruit and vegetables, such as the brassica family, which includes broccoli and Brussels sprouts. However, the compound tends to be produced at higher levels when infection levels among crops are high. Therefore, the use of modern pesticides and fungicides, which have cut the risk of infections, have also led to a drop in Salvestrol levels in food. Hence, another reason to demand organically grown fruits and vegetables. (2)

 

Flavanoids

Other naturally occurring substances in citruses, called flavanoids, show promise against prostate cancer, lung cancer and melanoma, and breast cancer in laboratory studies, according to a joint Canadian-United States study. The findings were presented at the 219th national meeting of the American Chemical Society, the world’s largest scientific society. Twenty-two flavanoids were examined during the study; this is the first time they have been tested against melanoma and prostate and lung cancer, says one of the lead researchers, Najla Guthrie, Ph.D., president of KGK Synergize, Inc., a research and development company in London, Ontario, Canada. The research was conducted in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Orange and tangerine, in particular, produced “very encouraging results,” according to Guthrie. Of the 22 flavanoids studied, two that occur naturally in tangerine — tangeretin and nobiletin —“were the most effective inhibitors of human prostate cancer cells,” according to Guthrie and colleague John Manthey, Ph.D., of the USDA’s Agricultural Research Station in Winter Haven, Fla. The compounds also inhibited the growth of melanoma cells, notes Guthrie. Her lab previously reported that the tangerine compounds were effective against breast cancer cells. Another flavanoid found in both tangerines and oranges, 5-desmethyl sinensetin, inhibited human lung cancer cells most effectively, according to Guthrie. In comparison with other compounds the researchers have studied, the tangerine and orange flavanoids are “very effective.” Small amounts inhibit proliferation of cancer cells, according to Guthrie.  “We looked at 22 flavanoids — some naturally occurring, some synthetic — and these are the most effective out of them,” Guthrie points out. Some of the citrus compounds being studied are inhibiting the cells in the same concentration range as the breast cancer drug tamoxifen, she adds. (3)

 

Isoprenoids

Another class of phytochemicals which have antitumor activity is isoprenoids. The hypothesis that these plant compounds would inhibit the growth of pancreatic tumor cells was tested byYvette D. Burke, et al, of the Departments of Biology and Chemistry, Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis, Indiana. Significant (60–90%) inhibition of the growth of human pancreatic tumor cells was attained. The isoprenoids (farnesol, geraniol, and perilyl alcohol) were then tested in vivo (occurring or made to occur within a living organism or natural setting) for antitumor activities in hamster pancreatic adenocarcinomas. Syrian Golden hamsters fed geraniol or farnesol at 20 g/kg diet exhibited complete inhibition of PC-1 pancreatic tumor growth.

 

Monoterpenes

Pamela L. Crowell, Department of Biology, Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis, reports that “monoterpenes are a class of nonnutritive dietary components found in the essential oils of citrus fruits and other plants. A number of these dietary monoterpenes have antitumor activity. For example, d-limonene, which comprises more than 90% of orange peel oil, has chemopreventive activity against rodent mammary, skin, liver, lung, pancreatic, and stomach cancers… As a result, their cancer chemotherapeutic activities are under evaluation in Phase I clinical trials in humans.” And the results so far have been astounding. Several mechanisms of action may account for the anti-tumor activities of monoterpenes.” (4)Thus, monoterpenes would appear to act through multiple mechanisms in the chemo-prevention and chemotherapy of cancer. (5)

 

Frankincense Oil

In my article for LiveLiving eMagazine of December, 2011, regarding frankincense, the precious oil reserved for royalty, a gift fit only for a king,( http://liveliving.org/magazine/departments/aromatherapy/item/116-frankincense), I hinted at recent research of the oil from this gum resin of the Boswellia tree, native to Yemen and Oman (previously known as Sheba, “The Land of Spices”) of southern Arabia. Since then, even more research has been published documenting how powerful this amazing substance is, especially in the fight against many cancers. Bladder cancer One of the main components of frankincense oil is boswellic acid, a component known to have anti-neoplastic properties. In a study from the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, frankincense oil suppressed cell viability in bladder transitional carcinoma cells, but not in healthy cells. It was found that frankincense oil activates genes that are responsible for cell cycle arrest, cell growth suppression, and apoptosis in specific, cancerous cells.  The researchers concluded that frankincense oil appears to distinguish cancerous from normal bladder cells and suppress cancer cell viability. In fact, analysis indicates that multiple pathways can be activated by frankincense oil to induce bladder cancer cell death. The findings strongly suggest that frankincense oil might represent an alternative agent for bladder cancer treatment.(6)

Breast Cancer

The December, 2011 edition of PubMed published the finding of research  that extracts prepared from Boswellia gum resins, especially the “Frankincense Sacra” extracted from  Omani Hougari grade resins, have been shown to possess anti-inflammatory and anti-neoplastic effects. The essential oil prepared by steam distillation of the gum resin of the frankincense sacra was traditionally used as a meditative aid and aromatic therapy, and until recently, hoarded by the royalty and the most wealthy of Persia and Arabia. Closer examination of this precious oil  has now shown it to have significant tumor cell-specific inhibiting effects and pro-apoptotic (the natural or stimulated implosion and death of cells) activities in three types of human breast cancer cells. “All three human breast cancer cell lines were sensitive to essential oil treatment with reduced cell viability and elevated cell death, whereas the healthy, normal human breast cell line was more resistant to essential oil treatment.” In other words, the Boswellia sacra essential oil attacked and killed the cancerous cells, while the healthy, normal cells were unaffected! “Similar to the previous observations in human bladder cancer cells, Boswellia sacra essential oil induces breast cancer cell-specific cytotoxicity. Suppression of cellular network formation and disruption of spheroid development of breast cancer cells by Boswellia sacra essential oil suggest that the essential oil may be effective for advanced breast cancer. Consistently, the essential oil represses signaling pathways and cell cycle regulators that have been proposed as therapeutic targets for breast cancer.” (7)

Brain Cancer Metastases

An additional complication for breast cancer patients is multiple brain metastases, a life threatening condition with limited success following standard therapies. The arachidonate lipoxygenase pathway appears to play a role in brain tumor growth. This pathway also seems to play a role in allowing the cancer cells to proliferate in in-vitro studies. Research into arachidonate lipoxygenase growth stimulating factors therefore appeared to be a worthwhile consideration for testing in brain metastases not responding to standard therapy, at the Foundation for Collaborative Medicine and Research in Greenwich, Connecticut. Boswellia serrata, a type of frankincense extract,which inhibits lipoxygenase, was applied, hoping it would result in this inhibition. Multiple brain metastases were successfully reversed using this method in breast cancer patients who had not shown improvement after standard therapy!!

(8) Then the LORD God planted a garden in Eden in the east, and there he placed the man he had made. The LORD God made all sorts of trees grow up from the ground—trees that were beautiful and that produced delicious fruit… aromatic resin  …is also found there… Does He really love us this much? Did He really think thousands of years in advance, to know that we would need help with this disease that is becoming more and more prevalent every year?? Is that why He wrote in that “superfluous” passage? Is this why these oils and resins were so incredibly expensive and precious during the time of Jesus’ birth and life, and hoarded by royalty ever since? Perhaps we are just now beginning to discover all the love and protection the Lord wove into His creation for us! I am learning to pay closer attention to these apparent “superfluous” passages.  Perhaps He really DOES love us that much!

Thank you, my Lord, for your beautiful trees. Trees that produce delicious – and healing fruit, and aromatic – and protective  – resin. Trees and fruit and resin that you made, in love for us! Thank you.

References:

(1) Cancer Research; April 1, 1992 52; 2085s

(2) BBC NEWS: http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/health/6987200.stm

(3) American Chemical Society (2000, April 17). Natural Substances In Orange, Tangerine Inhibit Cancer. ScienceDaily. http://www.sciencedaily.com¬ /releases/2000/04/000410084433.htm

(4) http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs11745-997-0019-y?LI=true#

(5) Crowell PL. Prevention and therapy of cancer by dietary monoterpenes. J Nutr. 1999 March,129(3):775S-778S. Department of Biology, Indiana University-Purdue U

niversity, Indianapolis, IN 46202 http://jn.nutrition.org/cgi/content/full/129/3/775S.

(6) Frankincense oil derived from Boswellia carteri induces tumor cell specific cytotoxicity. Frank MB, Yang Q, Osban J, Azzarello JT, Saban MR, Saban R, Ashley RA, Welter JC, Fung KM, Lin HK. Department of Urology, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma City, OK 73104, USA. frank@omrf.orghttp://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19296830 :

(7) Boswellia sacra essential oil induces tumor cell-specific apoptosis and suppresses tumor aggressiveness in cultured human breast cancer cells. Suhail MM, Wu W, Cao A, Mondalek FG, Fung KM, Shih PT, Fang YT, Woolley C, Young G, Lin HK. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2011 Dec 15; 11:129. Epub 2011 Dec 15. : http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22171782

(8) A lipoxygenase inhibitor in breast cancer brain metastases. J Neurooncol. Flavin DF. 2007 Mar;82(1):91-3. Epub 2006 Sep 26. Foundation for Collaborative Medicine and Research, Greenwich, CT http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17001517

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