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 essential 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.
Under examination, it was found that HL-60 Leukemia cancer cells treated with lemongrass essential oil lost their surface projections, indicating a loss of normal cell function. Surface projections in these cells normally implies the cells can interact with their environment, taking in nutrients and making adjustments per their environmental conditions. The cancer cell death was attributed to the main constituent of Lemongrass oil, isointermedeol, a sesquiterpene naturally present in the oil. The IC50 of the oil itself was 30 micro grams per ml, whereas for the isointermedeol, the IC50 dropped to 20 grams per ml. -- it is important to recognize, however, that this is not a huge difference in efficacy, and in many cases the complete oil is the better choice of treatment.
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.
This important factor, notably that more than one chemical of the same essential oil can cause cancer cell death, is extremely interested, pointing out the potential for many essential oils to hold promise as anti-cancer therapies. Linalool, for example, has been shown in a recent study to cause cell death of liver cancer cells at very small concentrations. Linalool is found in a great many oils, most notably Lavender, and any oil which there is even a hint of sweetness. Does this mean other constituents do not have this effect, or do not work in concert with Linalool? Certainly not, and it seems most appropriate not to seperate out what science considers the 'active ingredient' -- there may certainly be more than one, and without extensive examination, it will be difficult to determine the synergy between all the constituents in these highly complex natural mixtures. It is crucial to recognize the importance of true, authentic essential oils, such as those from Ananda Aromatherapy and other manufacturer's dedicated to the craft, as the foundation of these natural healing compounds. Single chemicals can simply be manufactured in the laboratory, but it is the plant-based complete medicine that can create a harmony within the organ systems and psychology that may in-fact have the greatest healing effect.
The body of evidence of essential oils as cancer treatments continues to grow. One only need search pubmed.gov for 'essential oils cancer' to find an extensive list of abstracts to pique one's interest. As of today, this search produces 409 results. So why the great resistance to utilizing these fantastic medicines? It is a shame that even within the conventional medical community that many MD's are resistant to suggesting these 'alternative' therapies to their patients, even alongside 'conventional' treatments. The time for natural medicine has returned, and essential oils can be seen as a cornerstone for these natural therapeutics, given the large body of evidence supporting their use.
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