Frankincense study on Cancer cells

How to say Frankincense and Cancer in the same sentence without going to jail.

A few years ago the FDA came down on essential oil companies because a few people were making claims that some oils would cure certain diseases. Several essential oil distributors had their organizations suspended until they removed any misleading medical claims from their websites and social media platforms.  It suddenly became very difficult to get information about essential oils out and frustrated natural health lovers all over the United States zipped their lips and chose to talk at length about the wonderful calming scent of essential oils.

But what about medical studies?!?!  Enter sites such as, the website that keeps track of medical studies in the United States.  Search for frankincense essential oil and you’ll find a number of studies about cancer cells:

In a 2014 Study, doctors found that both frankincense and sandalwood essential oils caused the death of cultured bladder cancer cells.

In a 2009 study that looked exclusively at the Boswell Carteri species of frankincense oil, theorized that it had an antitumor effect on bladder cancer. (Does not specify frankincense essential oil)

In a 2011 study on frankincense oil, it has similar results as the previous studies mentioned above.

Does it hurt a little on the inside to feel as though you can’t copy the link into a message and send it along?  If there are these popular and public studies that have proven frankincense essential oil may be effective in the death of cancer cells, why can’t we say so?   Is it really illegal to mention to a friend that is struggling with cancer that frankincense oil might be a welcomed addition to their treatment (with their doctor’s permission and watchful eye)?

Here’s the reality. The FDA makes the rules on what you can and can’t say about drugs and supplements.  This includes essential oils and pretty much anything that is taken into the body.  Their goal is not to drop a wet blanket onto your fire of essential oil love, it is to protect US citizens from being mislead.  Remember the snake oil salesmen of old?

So here are a few things you can do to say frankincense and cancer in the same sentence without going to jail.


Don’t mention or show any particular brand of essential oils.  Unless the study cites the exact brand of essential oil used in the study, don’t show an alternative bottle.  This could lead the person or people you are talking with to mistakenly believe the brand of oils you sell was the exact brand used in the study. Talk about the essential oil itself and the research you’ve done that shows its effectiveness.


Reference all of your research.  If you come across a particular article you like, make a note of where you found it so you can reference it later.  If you are teaching on frankincense, keep a     notebook with you of all of your referenced material.  If possible, have photo copies and printed articles showing where you got the information.


Don’t use the words cure, treat or heal.   This is probably the most important point when discussing frankincense and cancer. If you say that frankincense oil can cure cancer and the person takes you on your word for it and ends up passing away, you could be liable for that person’s death.   The best way to approach it is to reference the articles you read and let them decide if it’s something they want to pursue.


Communication is key.  Be ABSOLUTELY CLEAR with everyone you are educating.  Do not mislead others to think studies about cancer and frankincense and essential oil used the brand      you are selling and don’t draw conclusions for them.  Saying “Wow!, you have THAT?  Here, take this,” is a one way ticket on the FDA naughty list.

The FDA does consider intent.  Should you receive a letter from an agent, know that you will be given time to make changes to your material in most cases.  An agent will not tap on your door and haul you off to jail without giving you a chance to fix your mistakes.  Drastic measures are taken only if there is complete disregard for the law and it becomes clear you intend to disregard the warnings.

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