Study: Sandalwood Against Breast Cancer

August 10, 2016

Sandalwood has long been known for its cancer-healing effects, especially when it comes to breast cancer.  But the exact means through which this potent essential oil effects cancer cells has remained a mystery – until now.

Research published just a few months ago points to how sandalwood heals breast cancer cells at the deepest level.  The research is stunning!

University of Texas Researchers discover why sandalwood can help breast cancer patients

The findings of this groundbreaking U of Texas study was published in the 2016 edition of the journal Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine and was a joint effort between Ponce Health Sciences University School of Medicine in Puerto Rico and UT- San Antonio. The focus was on α-santalol, one of the main components of the hardwood genus Santalum, i.e. sandalwood.

Sandalwood has been used for centuries as an anti-inflammatory, expectorant, aphrodisiac, memory booster and cure-all for dozens of other conditions. α-santalol is a sesquiterpene and terpenoid can be found in other healing herbs as well, such as to black pepper and clove.

In laboratory trials at UT-San Antonio, MCF-7 breast cancer cells as well as non-tumor producing breast epithelial (MCF-10A) cells were exposed to commercial-obtained, high-purity sandalwood for 24 hours. The results were remarkable.

Three specific proteins have a positive effect on cancer cells

In the published report, the researchers named three proteins in particular – Ku70, Ku80, EPHX1, and 14-3-3 – as producing “single and double strand breaks” in the MCF-7 breast cancer cells. This was the first study to claim that sandalwood has not only “cytotoxic” effects, but also a “genotoxic” effects as well and the first to name the specific molecular pathways through which this genotoxicity could be expressed.

In this study, the DNA of the healthy cells was left unharmed.

Although the University of Texas study is considered groundbreaking, it is actually not the first to point to the unique way sandalwood effects cancer. The study dovetails on a previous project that occurred at the University of Oklahoma in 2014 which compared the different ways that sandalwood and frankincense oils affected human bladder cancer cells. The U of O researchers acknowledged that both were potent against cancer in general, but in drastically different ways.

“The effects of frankincense and sandalwood essential oils…involved different mechanisms leading to cancer cell death,” their report states. “While frankincense essential oil elicited selective cancer cell death via … oxidative stress, sandalwood essential oil induced non-selective cell death via DNA damage and cell cycle arrest.”

Sandalwood has long been known as a tool for helping to heal breast cancer

Sandalwood’s effect on hormones is also important for breast cancer healing and prevention since breast cancer risk is associated most with hormonal imbalance, in particular too much estrogen and/or progesterone. Again, most research in this regard has focused on a-Santalol and have pointed to its ability to balance testosterone levels in particular in both men and women.

Although more research can be done about the connection between sandalwood and hormones, the woody, aromatic oil of sandalwood has been used for centuries to calm nerves and anxiety conditions, help with both the physical and emotional symptoms of PMS and as an aphrodisiac.

Here are the other ways sandalwood has proven to effect breast cancer:

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