Cancer. Just writing the word gives me Goosebumps as I think of people I know who have been affected by this disease. Statistics show that one in every two men and one in every three women will likely experience cancer in some form by the time they turn 85, which means that if you haven't personally been diagnosed, chances are high that you've been part of a support system for someone who has.
A cancer diagnosis elicits strong emotion from the patient and her closest supporters, as it's one of the most complex and difficult to treat of any human disease. Essential oils are our oldest form of medicine, so though cancer patients should always consult a physician for primary care, the following are some ideas of natural therapies with essential oils that can be included in the treatment process.
Immune System Stimulation
Enhancing immune system function, particularly in the early stages of cancer and before beginning more aggressive treatment, is part of effective cancer treatment. Essential oils can be used as part of a natural approach to immune system boosting for most types of cancer, though immune system stimulation is not effective for those with leukaemia or non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. Always consult with a doctor before use.
The six essential oils that have the most effect on various types of cancer (breast, skin, cervical, prostate, etc.) are: Sandalwood, Balsam Fir, Thyme, Hyssop, Tsuga and Orange. These oils can be taken orally in a gel capsule by combining approximately 7 drops of the oil with a carrier oil, and as dosage increases can be taken in up to six capsules per day. The body can develop a resistance to one essential oil over time, so it is important to alternate every 3-4 weeks the type of oil you use.
Chemotherapy and Radiation Treatment
While chemotherapy and radiation are two very different types of treatment, they're often used simultaneously and can elicit similar side effects. Here are several natural ways essential oils can support the body during chemotherapy and/or radiation treatment:
- Radiation can severely damage skin and vital organs, so the use of gentle, antioxidant essential oils in combination with proper nutrition internally can help minimize damage. Use sandalwood, hyssop, peppermint or frankincense and apply topically by diluting with a carrier oil and massaging on affected area 1-2 times each day.
- Neuritis is another common side effect of radiation and can be treated with Melrose, lavender or nutmeg. Apply 2-4 drops mixed with a carrier oil directly to affected areas 3-5 times each day. These oils can also be used with a cold compress on affected location 2-3 times each day.
- Chemotherapy breaks down good blood cells while destroying cancer cells. Cypress can help rebuild white blood cells and can be applied directly to skin, inhaled from the bottle or a diffuser or taken orally.
- Stomach upset and nausea are common side effects of both treatments and can be relieved by using ginger, peppermint or nutmeg. Dilute 1-3 drops with a carrier oil and massage behind each ear and over navel. These oils may also be used with a warm compress over stomach as needed or inhaled directly from bottle.
Maintaining positivity and emotional health is one of the most challenging, but most important aspects of the treatment process - both for the patient and their support system. There are a number of essential oils that can be used to support emotional health and healing, so it may be wise to try a few different oils until you find which works best for you. Suggested blends to try are: Joy, Valor, Release, Gratitude and Peace and Calming. Suggested single oils are: peppermint, lavender, bergamot, rose or orange.