Agarwood essential oil demonstrates promising anti-cancer properties, researchers find

Agarwood (Aquilaria crassna) – a plant used in traditional medicine to treat vomiting, rheumatism, coughing, and asthma – could be used in treating colorectal cancer, according to researchers from the Universiti Sains Malaysia. The study, published in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, looked at both the toxicity profile of agarwood essential oil and its anti-tumor properties.

  • For the acute toxicity study, researchers administered a single oral dose of 2000 mg/kg of agarwood essential oil on Swiss female mice, and these were screened for two weeks after the dose was given.
  • The sub-chronic study used two different doses of the extract for 28 days. The scientists then observed factors such as mortality, clinical signs, body weight changes, hematological and biochemical parameters, gross findings, organ weights, and histological parameters throughout the study.
  • To determine the anti-tumor properties of agarwood, researchers used a subcutaneous tumor model in nude mice.
  • Based on the results of the acute toxicity study, the LD50 of agarwood essential oil extract was greater than 2000 mg/kg.
  • The results of the sub-chronic toxicity assay found that both 100 mg/kg and 500 mg/kg doses of essential oil per body weight did not significantly affect the difference in food and water intakes, body weight change, hematological and biochemical parameters, relative organ weights, gross findings or histopathology.
  • In vivo studies that looked at the anti-tumor effects of the essential oil found that it was able to inhibit the growth of HCT 116 colorectal carcinoma cells.

The researchers concluded that agarwood essential oil extract could potentially be a safe natural alternative for treating colon cancer.

Find the full text of the study at this link.

Learn more about agarwood essential oil and its benefits by following

Journal Reference:

Dahham SS, Hassan LEA, Ahamed MBK, Majid ASA, Majid AMSA, Zulkepli NN. IN VIVO TOXICITY AND ANTITUMOR ACTIVITY OF ESSENTIAL OILS EXTRACT FROM AGARWOOD (AQUILARIA CRASSNA). BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 22 July 2016;16(236). DOI: 10.1186/s12906-016-1210-1

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