Before lung cancer surpassed it in the nineteen-eighties, breast cancer was the leading cause of cancer-related death among women and remains a serious threat to women’s health today. This threat is in spite of the public health campaign teaching women about breast-self exams and the importance of regular mammograms. Oftentimes, breast cancer is not detected until it is well-advanced, leaving women with fewer options for treatment.
Fortunately, it appears that research into more natural treatments for eliminating breast cancer has come up with some very hopeful preliminary findings, such as studies which have looked at the ability of essential oils of thyme and chamomile to eliminate breast cancer cells.
The Current Study
The current research coming out of China is part of a growing body of evidence to support the use of essential oils of herbs like thyme and chamomile for use as a more natural treatment for breast and other cancers. Cancer treatments today, revolving largely around chemotherapy and radiation, can carry some devastating side effects, including nausea and vomiting, mouth sores, and burns and irritation of the skin from radiotherapy. It is little wonder, then, why the search is one for natural treatments which will target cancer cells without damaging healthy tissues.
This study actually used a wide variety of herbal essential oils, including the essential oils of chamomile and thyme, but also of ginger, lemon, mint, lavender and lemon to test their efficacy as medicinal agents. The study looked at not only the antimicrobial properties of these oils, but also pitted them in vitro against lines of several different types of cancer cells, including the MCF-7 breast cancer cells.
It was found that at a concentration of 0.2%, most of the oils were somewhat effective at treating the cancer cells; however, it was found that the essential oils of thyme and chamomile really stood out for their ability to eliminate the cells in vitro. Chamomile oil was shown to eliminate around 93% of the cells, while thyme oil did even better, eliminating 97%.
What Other Research has Shown
This current studies appears to be backed up by past research of a similar nature. One study, for instance, found that chamomile essential oil had powerful antioxidant properties and that, even in comparison with other essential oils like those of rosemary, sage, peppermint, and winter savory, the chamomile appeared to have the highest antioxidant content. This would make sense in the context of the recent Chinese study, since antioxidants have been linked repeated to anti-carcinogenic effects.
In short, the evidence to support the use of essential oils for breast cancer and other forms of this disease appears to be growing. This recent study only confirms what naturopaths and similar practitioners long have known: that natural medicinal treatments like those based on essential oils can be far more effective at treating serious diseases without the harmful side effects of conventional treatments.
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