We’ve posted several reports of peer-reviewed published research regarding the anti-cancer effects of essential oils. The most prominent being that of Frankincense, still the most thoroughly researched oil in this regard. Other oils showing promise in multiple studies are sandalwood (particularly for skin) and lemongrass.
New evidence continually emerges showing the anticancer effects of other oils. Many times they are oils that are not yet in commercial production, so we tend not to report these studies — however, research showing the anti-cancer properties of Sage essential oil has been published this September in a German journal (HNO).
The title of the study is “Anticancer activity of Salvia officinalis essential oil against HNSCC cell line (UMSCC1)”. This is a cell line of oral cancer, and the toxicity of the oil against these cells was examined. Interestingly, it was found that low concentrations of the oil actually increased the viability of the cells – which correlates with the oil’s known regenerative properties for the skin.
At higher concentrations, the essential oil inhibited the viability of the cells through several biochemical pathways. What follows are the results and conclusion of the published abstract:
The main constituents of Salvia officinalis essential oil (common Sage) include the monoterpenes thujone, β-pinene, and 1,8-cineol. Low concentrations of the essential oil increased vitality of the UMSCC1 cells. Beyond the concentration of the IC(50) of 135 µg/ml, sage essential oil reduced UMSSC1 cells viability to a minimum. In the microarray gene expression analysis, genes involved in cancer, cellular growth and proliferation, cell death, cell morphology, cell cycle, gene expression, and DNA repair were the most prominent. The three most significantly regulated pathways by sage were aryl hydrocarbon receptor signaling, cell cycle (G1/S checkpoint) regulation, and p53 signaling.
To the best of our knowledge, this study suggests for the first time the ability of Salvia officinalis essential oil to inhibit human HNSCC cell growth. The therapeutic potential of sage essential oil might exceed that of its common use in otorhinolaryngology.
While there are still no official protocols using essential oils as cancer preventatives, there are certainly a large number of aromatherapy practitioners using the oils for this application. While we do not condone or recommended the use, it may be worthwhile discussing such an application with a qualified health professional should it seem useful to you or a family member’s health.