Incense is a biblical resinous with an attractive fragrance that has not only been used for spiritual purposes, such as fighting against harmful spirits, but also for its clearly impressive disease-healing properties. Studies have shown that this aromatic item has general tonic properties, on top of being anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, carminative, diuretic, expectorant, emmenagogue and healing. It is one of the most complex items when it comes to health benefits and that is shown by the interest the medical world takes in it.
It is widely used in different pharmaceutical products such as ointments, plasters, balms or pills, for the aroma and its cleansing effect both on the skin and the inner body.
Incense, in its biblical form, has long been obtained as an extract from the resin of a tree that is part of the Boswellia family. These extracts have been used for medicinal purposes in Asia for hundreds of years, mainly due to their anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic properties.
Incense is also used in traditional medicine against asthma, skin diseases and gastroenteritis, as a result of its ability to fight inflammation.
Studies confirm its effectiveness against cancer
As with many old cures, it is only now, in modern times, that we can finally prove the benefits and see that the healing properties talked about before are not a myth. This is good not just as a scientific confirmation, but also as a careful examination on the extent of these properties, the areas where they’re most effective and the ways we can effectively incorporate our findings in the medicinal field.
A recent study has proven the anti-carcinogenic properties of the resinous we are covering here. A student from the University of Leicester – The Department of Cancer and Molecular Medicine Studies – Kamla Al-Salmani, discovered that incense contains a compound that has the capacity of killing ovarian cancer cells in its terminal phase.
This is a breakthrough in the field, due to several reasons. First of all, compared to other types of cancer, ovarian cancer has a very low rate of survival, only 5 years, to be specific. Added to that is the fact that most women who suffer from this disease get diagnosed late, in phase 3 or even 4, when the cancer is already very advanced and has reached its final phase, most likely. Lastly, cancer returns and builds immunity to chemotherapy treatments, in most cases.
The active compounds in incense – the boswellic acids – have several effects on cancer cells, like inducing apoptosis (the programmed death of the cells). On top of that, these acids have also been clinically proven as effective against asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, osteoarthritis and collagenous colitis.
Previous research showed that incense is effective against colon cancer, breast cancer and prostate cancer. Another study showed that essential incense oil has cytotoxic effects on urinary bladder cancer.
Incense may very well be one of our most valuable ways of fighting cancer in the future. With the promising results we’ve seen so far, we can only hope it’s not too long before we see it in action.