It’s long been known that many essential oils contain off the chart levels of anti-oxidants (measured in ORAC) that can help boost the body’s defenses against free radicals.
What’s exciting is this study published in the April 1999 Issue of Nutrition Science News that shows how compounds called Monoterpenes have shown in lab studies to be effective against cancer and even have the power to shrink existing tumors!
So where can you find monoterpenes? We are lucky to have a very good source in our Young Living Orange Essential Oil which contains a very high tested level of a compound called limonene, which is a monoterpene.
Read the article below which highlights the findings of several studies on monoterpenes and then scroll all the way to the bottom to learn more about Orange Oil and how to use it in your wellness routine.
As you might expect, this article and the one referenced below are not meant to substitute for medical advice and are not to be seen as a self-treatment plan. They are merely for your education and information. Cancer is a serious disease, please seek a medical professional for diagnosis and treatment.
Monoterpenes: Essence of a Cancer Cure.
From The April 1999 Issue of Nutrition Science News
By Cindy L.A. Jones, Ph.D.
Essential oils, the highly concentrated volatile, aromatic essences of plants, are a mainstay of aromatherapy but are also used in flavoring, perfumes and even as solvents. Researchers now think that two components of orange oil and lavender oil are a good bet to prevent and treat cancer.
Most essential oils contain monoterpenes, compounds that contain 10 carbon molecules often arranged in a ring. Monoterpenes are formed in the mevalonic acid pathway in plants. This is the same pathway that makes cholesterol in animals and humans. Early on, cancer researchers realized that some aspects of cholesterol metabolism were involved in cancer growth. They then discovered that plant monoterpenes interfered with animal cholesterol synthesis, thereby reducing cholesterol levels and reducing tumor formation in animals.
Limonene and Perillyl Alcohol
Two widely studied monoterpenes are being evaluated for their anticancer activity, limonene from orange peel (Citrus sinensis) and perillyl alcohol from lavender (Lavandula angustifolia).
Because limonene and perillyl affect the pathway that produces cholesterol, they can inhibit cholesterol synthesis, thereby eliminating a minor contributor to cancer formation. Monoterpenes also increase the levels of liver enzymes involved in detoxifying carcinogens, an effect that decreases the possibility carcinogens will cause cellular damage. In addition, monoterpenes stimulate apoptosis, a cellular self-destruction mechanism triggered when a cell’s DNA is badly damaged. This safety feature is generally activated before a cell becomes cancerous. Finally, monoterpenes inhibit protein isoprenylation. The cell uses this process to help a protein, in this case the ras protein involved in cell growth, find its proper location within the cell. If ras is not in the right place, it becomes overactive and can spur cancerous cell growth.
Where Do They Come From? Most plant matter contains a wide variety of monoterpenes. Rich sources include: herbs, spices, wine, essential oils, eggs, olive & palm oil, rice bran oil, barley oil, and dairy products.
Laboratory animal studies demonstrate that these two monoterpenes inhibit the formation of chemically induced breast, colon, liver, skin and pancreatic tumors. For example, animals fed a diet containing 5 percent orange peel oil had a significantly reduced risk of developing mammary tumors when treated with the chemical tumor inducer DMBA. Similarly, animals fed a 5-percent limonene diet had less chance of mammary tumor growth. Researchers noticed that in this experiment rat tumors also regressed, suggesting limonene may treat existing cancer as well as prevent it.
New drugs typically undergo three phases of clinical tests, each more rigorous than the previous: Phase I trials establish a toxic human dose, phase II trials determine a therapeutic dose and how it is metabolized, and phase III trials determine drug effectiveness. Extensive animal studies are done before phase I trials begin.
Phase I trials have so far shown that limonene is well tolerated by cancer patients and has little toxicity. Phase II trials, to test how well limonene actually works to reduce cancer, are under way at several institutions including the National Cancer Institute (NCI) in Bethesda, Md.
In other research, perillyl alcohol, a related compound, was found to be five times as active as limonene in regressing tumors. A diet of 2.5 percent perillyl alcohol caused 75 percent of chemically induced rat mammary tumors to regress. Perillyl alcohol is now being tested in NCI-sponsored phase I clinical trials as a treatment for advanced breast, ovarian and prostatic cancers at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Researchers speculate that perillyl alcohol may also be effective against pancreatic cancer, which is extremely difficult to treat.
The amount of monoterpenes needed to prevent cancer in humans is not established. Toxicity studies are incomplete, but the high doses required for chemotherapy may cause kidney damage and gastrointestinal problems. Both orange and lavender essential oils are safe to ingest; in fact, orange oil is a common food additive used for flavoring.
Few drugs have been developed that effectively treat cancer, so NCI is constantly searching for potential drug candidates. Many of these candidates, like limonene and perillyl alcohol, are natural products from herbs. For now though, these two concentrated substances remain in the realm of the laboratory, the doses being used in clinical trials are intended for treating cancer and must be monitored by a physician.
Cindy L.A. Jones, Ph.D., is a Denver writer, consultant and educator who specializes in biochemistry and molecular biology.
1. Elson CE, Yu SG. The chemoprevention of cancer by mevalonate-derived constituents of fruits and vegetables. J Nutr 1994;124:607-14.
2. Gould MN. Cancer chemoprevention and therapy by monoterpenes. Environ Health Perspect 1997;105:S977-9.
3. Mills JJ, et al. Induction of apoptosis in liver tumors by the monoterpene perillyl alcohol. Cancer Res 1995; 55:979-83.
4. Hohl RJ. Monoterpenes as regulators of malignant cell proliferation. In: American Institute for Cancer Research. Dietary Phytochemicals in Cancer Prevention and Treatment. New York: Plenum Press;1996.
5. Elson CE. Suppression of mevalonate pathway activities by dietary isoprenoids: protective roles in cancer and cardiovascular disease. J Nutr 1995;125:1666S-72S.
6. [Anonymous]. Clinical Development Plan: l-Perillyl Alcohol, J Cellular Biochem 1996;26S:137-48.
7. Crowell PL, et al. Antitumor effects of limonene and perillyl alcohol against pancreatic and breast cancer. In: American Institute for Cancer Research. Dietary Phytochemicals in Cancer Prevention and Treatment. New York: Plenum Press;1996.
8. Vigushin DM, et al. Phase I and pharmacokinetic study of d-limonene in patients with advanced cancer. Cancer Research Campaign Phase I/II Clinical Trials Committee. Cancer Chemother & Pharmacol 1998;42:111-17.
9. Ziegler J. Raloxifen, retinoids and lavender: “me too” tamoxifen alternatives under study. J Natl Canc Inst 1996;88:1100-1.
10. Stark MJ, et al. Chemotherapy of pancreatic cancer with the monoterpene perillyl alcohol. Cancer Letters 1995; 96:15-21.
Orange essential oil has a rich, fruity scent with aromatic properties that are both calming and uplifting. I personally wear Orange oil every day simply because I love the way the scent makes me feel.
However, Orange oil is not just a pretty face – so to speak – it is rich in the powerful antioxidant d-limonene boasting and ORAC rating of 18,898 (TE/L). TE/L is expressed as micromole Trolox equivalent per liter. This means that with all of the oxidizing forces at work against our cells, we want Orange essential oil in our body. Young Living Orange Essential Oil is GRAS (generally regarded as safe) for consumption and ingesting is one of the recommended ways of using the oil.
Directions: Dietary Supplement: Put 2 drops in a capsule. Take three times daily or as needed.Topical: Dilute 1 drop with 1 drop of V-6™ or olive oil. Then apply to desired area as needed. Aromatic: Diffuse up to 1 hour three times daily.
Caution: Keep out of reach of children. If pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition, consult a healthcare practioner prior to use. Avoid direct sunlight or UV rays for up to 12 hours after applying product – the citrus oils can cause skin sensitivity in sunlight when applied to the skin. Also, beware adulterated, non-tested or “bargin” oils as they can have other compounds or lower levels of the desired constituents.
Here at School of Essential Oils we only use, recommend and distribute Young Living Essential Oils. Click here to learn about purchasing Young Living Essential Oils. Signing up to purchase Young Living Essential Oils through the School of Essential Oils supports the SOEO blog and places you in an educational and support network to help you get the most out of your essential oils.
If you are not a member of School of Essential Oils, sign up at the top right for instant access to the 5 Free Core Classes and more!