Lemongrass Essential Oil Positively Studied As An Anti-Cancer Agent

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Lemongrass essential oil has been reported in two journals to cause normal cell death in cancer cells. One of the hallmarks of cancer cells is they do not undergo apaptosis as normal, meaning they just continue to grow unabated. Lemongrass itself has been used in traditional medicine systems for hundreds, if not thousands of years. It is no wonder the essential oil of this plant has such therapeutic properties. Interestingly, essential oil of lemongrass returns many cancer cells to their normal cycle of cell death, thereby eliminating the cancer. Lemongrass essential oil may very well be an effective alternative treatment, as it has a low cost, low toxicity, and is readily available around the world.

Several aromatherapy oils have been investigated for their anti-cancer effects, most notably Frankincense, Lemongrass, and the common constituent “linalool”, which adds a sweetness to many essential oil varieties. In two publications released in the Feb 2008 and May 2009 Journal of Chemico-biological interactions, studies were performed at the Indian Institute of Integrative Medicine in Jammu were summarized. The investigations centered around the causes and concentrations required for Lemongrass essential oil to bring about cell death in otherwise flourishing cancer cell lines. Rather unlike classic chemotherapeutic agents, Lemongrass initiated normal cell death by eliminating protection from naturally-occurring free radicals, and a loss of membrane integrity of the mitochondria of these cells. Surrounding normal cells were not affected.

Electron microscopy identified that the cancer cells had lost their normal surface projections, meaning that the cells were no longer viable because they were unable to intereact with their environment. They could no longer receive nutrients or communicate with other cells nearby. Further, the nuclei of the cells exhibited condensation and fragmentation typical of cell death. The amount of Lemongrass needed to inhibit proliferation of the cancer cells was relatively low, with an IC50 of only 30 micrograms per milliliter.

Lemongrass oil overall was effective against twelve types of cancer cells in-vitro, with a rage of effective doses from 4.2 to 79 micrograms per ml depending on the cell line, and two types — solid and ascitic Ehrlich and Sarcoma-180 were also found affected by the the essential oil. Colon and Neuroblastoma cancers were the most susceptable to Lemongrass treatment. The absolute mechanism of induction of cell death is not yet known, though it is considered that essential oils disrupt un-natural cell processes in a manner of ways. In yet another study, Citral, a component of many lemon-scented oils, including Lemongrass, was found to induce apoptosis (natural cell death of cancer cells) in a liver cancer cell line at very low concentrations. This indicates it may not be the lemongrass per se, but can work with other essential oils such as Melissa, Lemon, and Lemon Verbena.

Here, it is important to recognize that reductionist science will have a hard time in isolating just which components of natural essential oils will impart an anti-cancer effect, and if in some cases the whole oil will be more effective than a single compound itself. It is crucial to recognize the importance of true, authentic essential oils, such as those from steam distilled essential oils and other manufacturer’s dedicated to the craft, as the foundation of these natural healing compounds. It is the opinion of many natural medicine profesionals that there is no need, and it may in-fact be detrimental, to isolate any single natural compound for its healing effects. The animals of the planet have grown up with the plants, existing in a synergy where reducing plant medicine to single compounds goes against the grain of natural therapeutics.

As the body of evidence continues to grow, essential oils are finally moving out of the ‘aromatherapy’ realm and into the medical realm. At last count, over four hundred results were returned when searching Pub Med for Essential Oils and Cancer. Almost ten thousand results are available from the U.S. National Library of Medicine in all areas of essential oil use. Embracing essential oils as medicine in the U.S. is a practice that has the potential to save many lives, and is especially warranted now in these times of escalating health care costs and dwindling returns. Have a look at the fine essential oils and great information available at www.anandaapothecary.com for more information on using essential oils as medicine.

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