Essential Oils Case Study with Aggressive Cancer

Essential oils for Cancer

Essential oils for cancer and aromatherapy are one of the fastest growing alternative forms of healing.  Not only does it smell good, but the powerful effects that the oils have on the olfactory system and the transmission of chemical reactions within the brain.  “Studies have shown that essential oils have an effect on brainwaves and can also alter behavior. It is possible that most of the effect of the oils is probably transmitted through the brain via the olfactory system. Used professionally and safely, aromatherapy can be of great benefit as an adjunct to conventional medicine or used simply as an alternative.”  (Lis-Balchin, M. (1997))

Everyone suffers from some form of “stress”, whether it be acute or chronic.  Acute type of stress is short lived, such as a car pulling out in front of you.  Chronic type of stress is the one that wears on a person, such as worry of money, health, or what may happen in the future.  Stress creates chemical reactions in the body which in turn causes inflammation.  Inflammation leads to dis-ease in the body, which creates some of our top illnesses in the United States.  With the use of essential oils we can help one recover from the effects of stress thus decrease inflammation and reduce illnesses.

Patient: 48 yr old female, stage 4 pancreatic adenocarcinoma with metastases to the lover and peritoneum.

Dx: August 2015 – prognosis was given a year maximum to be able to survive with this type of aggressive cancer.

Treatment: Drug trial based chemotherapy at John Hopkins

When I met this patient – we immediately did an intake and went over health history.  We reviewed body systems along with the nutritional value and food content that the patient has been including in her diet.  The first course of action was to support her with education on healthy eating and taking time to cherish each moment every day, as in slowing down.  One of the most important lessons I’ve learned going through my practice is always having a beginner mind.

The patient is very open to alternative medicine and ways to help prolong her life and battle this type of cancer and adversity from treatment that she will be dealing with.  She has a strong mental attitude and is willing to do whatever takes to help keep her body healthy while going through treatment with Hopkins.

When meeting with my patient, she was advised to not do any of that voodoo medicine.  These were the exact words that she said had come from the physician who is treating her at Hopkins.  When I hear this from health professionals it’s very discouraging because they are not aware of the benefits that other modalities in alternative medicine can have.  My advice was let the experts who specialize in treating cancer, treat your cancer.  Let myself, the expert in alternative medicine, treat your mind, body, and spirit as symptoms show up from the treatment you will be going through. I told her that I can make suggestions, however it is always the patients decision as to what they decide they want to do.  It’s her temple and only one person knows that temple and that is oneself.  When her and her future wife heard those words, the healing process had begun already.

She committed on a journey with me and I committed to be on the journey with her.  We changed her diet, added Chinese Herbs, incorporated every other week acupuncture and healing techniques such as Reiki, Reflexology, and Essential Oils.

Symptoms: nausea; stomach bloating; pain in abdomen; loss of appetite and also increase of appetite – some days vary; hot flashes; restless sleep; irrability;

Points included – ST23; ST36; SP3; SP3; HT7 – to nourish spirit; LV3; AE – to clear heat and toxicity out of the body;

Herbal Formula – Liver Flow from kan herbals – Cyperus rhizome, White peony root, Tangerine dried rind of mature fruit, Bupleurum root , Magnolia bark, Tangerine dried rind of green fruit, Tree peony root bark, Chinese amomum fruit, Corydalis yanhusuo tuber, Bitter orange mature fruit, Chinese licorice root, Vladimiria root, Bitter orange immature fruit, Flesh-finger citron, Turmeric rhizome, Turmeric root tuber, Chinese cardamom fruit, Sandalwood.

Diet – organic and grass fed products; low glycemic index – with little to no sugar except from natural sweeteners such as honey;

Essential Oils for Cancer Used and Benefits

Frankincense – nourishing to the blood and protects against cancer cell production

Vetiver – builds immune system; pancreatic weakness;  vetiver has a restorative action on the body’s four core systems, the nervous, endocrine, gastrointestinal, and immune.

Chinese Medicine Function –  nourish liver yin; descend the yang; and calm the shen; helps with irritability and restlessness; (Holmes. P 2016)

Lemon – appetite; fatigue; antifungal

Chinese Medicine Functions – liver restorative, decongestant, and detoxification. Regulates the Qi in the Middle Warmer and relieves distention. (Holmes. P 2016)

Lavender – anxiety; nervous tension; relaxes the mind and spirit;

Chinese Medicine Functions – liver-stomach disharmony – good for epigastric fullness, bloating and appetite loss; liver-spleen disharmony good for abdominal pains, bloating, and digestive problems from stress.” (Holmes, P. 2016)

“Lavender produced a significant decrement in performance of working memory, and impaired reaction times for both memory and attention based tasks compared to controls. In contrast, rosemary produced a significant enhancement of performance for overall quality of memory and secondary memory factors, but also produced an impairment of speed of memory compared to controls.” Moss, M., Cook, J., Wesnes, K., & Duckett, P. (2003).

“Lavender oil is antibacterial, antifungal, carminative (smooth muscle relaxing), sedative, anti-depressive and effective for burns and insect bites.” (Cavanagh, H. M. A., & Wilkinson, J. M. (2002).

One home ritual between treatments we have incorporated is utilizing taking a bath and or doing a foot bath at least 3 times a week.  This will help relieve the some of the pain and help calm and relax the mind.  In one study I found, “the researchers wanted to look at the effects of a foot-bath with or without the essential oil of lavender on the autonomic nervous system. The results were the foot-bath caused no changes in heart or respiratory rates, but produced a significant increase in blood flow.”  (Saeki, Y. (2000).

Ginger – helps with poor motivation, cold hands and feet, muscle aches and pains, digestive disorders with bloating and loose stools. Immune Regulator, Anti-rheumatic; Liver Detoxicant; Antioxidant

Marjoram – calms the mind and promotes relaxation; helps with anxiety and depression; strong analgesic, helps with spasmodic conditions, pain in muscles;

Tangerine – helps with mood swings, anger, indigestion and bloating; Relaxant (hypnotic – anxiety, agitation, insomnia)


Essential Oil for Cancer Formulas and Dosing

Belly Blessing Balm
Ginger 10 drops
Tarragon 10 drops
Coriander 10 drops
Marjoram 7 drops
Anise seed 5 drops
Fennel 5 drops


Edema Blend
Tangerine 16 drops
Black Pepper 8 drops
Cypress 8 drops
Peppermint 8 drops
Ginger 5 drops


Anti-Inflammatory Blend
Myrrh 30 drops
Black Pepper 20 drops
Pine 10 drops


Immune System Blend
Patchouli – 15 drops
Ginger 10 drops
Rosemary 10 drops
Juniper Berry 10 drops
Lemon 5 drops

Dawn’s routine:

Through the day we would diffuse the Immune system blend throughout the house to keep her immune system built up.

When she was nauseous she would apply her belly balm to her stomach.

If she experienced any fluid retention, she would use her edema blend.

For aches and muscles pain then she would use the anti-inflammatory blend.

All of Dawn’s blends were made into a butter to apply to her skin because of her dryness.  The immune system blend was also given in a dropper bottle to diffuse along with a balm.

Each balm base contained, sunflower oil, kokum butter, shea butter, with carnuba wax to harden it.

Prognosis – currently – We are 14 months into treatment

Her pancreatic and both liver tumors have decreased by 53.7% – however, they have just recently found that the cancer has spread into her female organs; in which they will be operating on Monday October 10th.  We are now delaying treatment until after surgery.  We plan to will back up with essential oils & reflexology as soon as she can see visitors in the hospital.   Acupuncture and full body massage will continue with physician release.

Stress is also a major problem in hospitals, hospices and homes for the aged and physically or mentally-challenged. Aromatherapy is welcomed by nurses who want to be closer to their patient. Doctors can also refer patients with stress-related disorders who do not respond to conventional medicines.



Moss, M., Cook, J., Wesnes, K., & Duckett, P. (2003). Aromas of rosemary and lavender essential oils differentially affect cognition and mood in healthy adults. International Journal of Neuroscience113(1), 15-38.

Saeki, Y. (2000). The effect of foot-bath with or without the essential oil of lavender on the autonomic nervous system: a randomized trial. Complementary Therapies in Medicine8(1), 2-7.

Yang, V. W., & Clausen, C. A. (2007). Antifungal effect of essential oils on southern yellow pine. International biodeterioration & biodegradation59(4), 302-306.

Cavanagh, H. M. A., & Wilkinson, J. M. (2002). Biological activities of lavender essential oil. Phytotherapy Research16(4), 301-308.

Lis-Balchin, M. (1997). Essential oils and’aromatherapy’: their modern role in healing. The journal of the Royal Society for the Promotion of Health117(5), 324-329.