For citation purposes: Fung KM, Suhail MM, McClendon B, Woolley CL, Young DG, Lin HK. Management of basal cell carcinoma of the skin using frankincense (Boswellia sacra) essential oil: A case report. OA Alternative Medicine 2013 Jun 01;1(2):14.

Case report

 
Herbalism

Management of basal cell carcinoma of the skin using frankincense (Boswellia sacra) essential oil: a case report

KM Fung,,, MM Suhail, B McClendon, CL Woolley, DG Young, HK Lin
 

Authors affiliations

(1) Department of Pathology, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma City, OK 73104, USA

(2) Department of Urology, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma City, OK, 73104, USA

(3) Oklahoma City Veterans Medical Center, Oklahoma City, OK 73104, USA

(4) AYUB S42 Research, New Salalah, Dhofar State 211, Sultanate of Oman

(5) Young Living Essential Oils, Lehi, Utah, UT 84043, USA

* Corresponding author Email: hk-lin@ouhsc.edu

Abstract

Introduction

Basal-cell carcinoma (BCC) is the most common form of skin cancer. Incidence of BCC is rising rapidly worldwide associated with a significant increase in health care costs. Various treatment options are available for patients diagnosed with BCC ranging from surgery, electrodessication, radiation, photodynamic therapy to non-invasive therapeutic approaches. Traditionally being used for aromatherapy, based on the abundance of highly volatile, aromatic compounds, frankincense essential oil prepared by hydrodistillation of Boswellia sacra gum resins, also possesses anti-cancer activity that can potentially provide non-surgical and non-invasive treatment option for BCC by topical application. This case report discusses the management of BCC of the skin using frankincense (Boswellia sacra) essential oil.

Case report

We present a case of a male patient, with two foci (arm and chest) of BCC, treated with local and topical application of frankincense essential oil several times a day, for a period of 20 weeks. Biopsies were performed before and after frankincense essential oil treatment. Pathological study demonstrated total resolution of the BCC on the arm and substantial resolution in the BCC of the chest after treatment. Significant increase in apoptotic cells was observed in the residual carcinoma in the chest. Topical application of frankincense essential oil did not cause redness, swelling, erosion, crusts, vesicles, squamae, itching, tingling, or any other local or systemic side effects in this patient.

Conclusion

Local application of frankincense essential oil may provide a non-surgical treatment alternative, with no or minimal side effect for carcinoma in situ, minimally invasive carcinoma and pre-cancerous conditions such as actinic keratosis. A study with larger number of patients with both squamous-cell carcinoma and BCC is required to confirm our current findings.

Licensee OA Publishing London 2013. Creative Commons Attribution License (CC-BY)
Keywords