Category Archives: Essential Oil Benefits

I Love This New Nebulizing Essential Oil Diffuser

Organic Aromas Raindrop Nebulizing Diffuser

I Love This New Nebulizing Essential Oil Diffuser!

One of the things I love, use daily, and promote the use of to my clients, are essential oils. In a single bottle of essential oil there is so much potential! They contain so many amazing phytochemicals that are proving in research to be good for so many ailments. I’m continually finding new ways to enjoy their therapeutic benefits and diffusing is one of my favorite ways to use them. I had been using an ultrasonic (cool mist) diffuser but it just recently stopped working so I did a little looking around and found this new nebulizing essential oil diffuser by Organic Aromas.

I used to have a nebulizer diffuser years ago but it was one of the old styles that made so much noise I found it drove me crazy (well crazier than usual). It also ATE UP WAY TOO MUCH oil! It would take 20 drops at a time and that wouldn’t last too long. That’s when I switched to the ultrasonic cool mist diffuser and I still like that style except during the rainy season here in Australia. It does add some humidity to the room which is nice in the hot dry summer season but not so nice when it’s already 90% humidity outside and raining.

Anyway – it appears that nebulizer style diffusers have come a long way in the meantime.

What Is The Difference Between A Nebulizer and an Ultrasonic Diffuser?

Nebulizing diffusers  have an air pump that sends condensed air to a nozzle tube which controls the direction of the vapor. A stream of air blows across the nozzle tube, creates a vacuum and propels undiluted essential oils upward. As they rise, the pressurized air hits the essential oil droplets and causes them to atomize into micro-particles which then fill a glass reservoir. Once in the glass reservoir, the micro-particles rise and are emitted from the reservoir as a vapor which is released into the room.

Ultrasonic diffusers have a water reservoir and a lid. When the unit is plugged in to electricity, a small, flexible membrane at the bottom  of the water reservoir vibrates ultrasonically. This passes energy to the water, breaks up water molecules, and turns water from a liquid to a vapor. The vapor is propelled into the air and carries along with it the now-diluted drops of essential oil.

There are other types of diffusers too. I recently wrote an article on this very subject for the folks over at The Truth About Cancer website. Here it is: Diffusing Essential Oils 101: The Best Diffusers, How to Use Them & DIY Oil Blends   Check out the article, you will get a lot more information about various types of diffusers there.

The Organic Aromas Nebulizing Diffuser

Back to the current topic, my new Organic Aromas nebulizing diffuser. It arrived in a very well-packaged and sturdy box and the company sends you links to videos on how to set up the diffuser and how to clean it properly, all good information.

The thing I like best about the Organic Aromas nebulizing diffuser, however, is that it is so QUIET! It’s fantastic, especially in comparison to my last one. I got the opportunity to use it this week for my 3-year old granddaughter who woke up with a horrible cough, it sounded like whooping cough. We placed the diffuser in her bedroom at bedtime, placed a particular oil blend called “RC” in the diffuser (it’s great for bronchial problems), let it run for just a little while and it was so quiet, it didn’t disturb her slumber and she got over the worst part of that cough in no time flat. Here are some of the features of the Organic Aromas nebulizing diffuser:

  • It is equipped with a “touch sensor” light switch allowing you to turn the LED “mood light” on or off any time with a swipe of a finger
  • It’s very quiet!
  • It uses no heat (which can wreck the therapeutic effects of an essential oil), and no water, so it delivers just essential oil into the air of the room where the diffuser sits
  • It has a dial control that allows you to precisely control how much oil you diffuse
  • It uses little energy, running for 2 minutes on, then 1 minute off
    It has an auto shut-off feature after running for 120 minutes
  • It is rated for rooms up to 80 square meters (800+ square feet)
  • The diffuser looks great. It has a handsome hand-made wood base and blown glass top which looks elegant anywhere you place it
  • It measures approximately 10″ (25 cm) tall x 6″ (15 cm) wide
  • It arrives with the appropriate electrical cord and electrical plug adapter for your market (USA, UK, EU, Australia, etc)

Here is a link to the diffuser I’m enjoying, you can see all of their other products too. And no, I’m not getting paid to write this review, I just love this diffuser and want to share it with you.
The Organic Aromas Raindrop Nebulizing Diffuser

GET MY BEST TIPS on getting through breast cancer and preventing recurrences by signing up for my free e-newsletters and e-books on the right.  You can also “like” me on Facebook (Marnie Clark, Breast Health Coach) to get my inspirational snippets, news and updates.  I promise to do my utmost to keep you informed and empowered on your healing journey… and beyond.  

Are Lavender and Tea Tree Essential Oils Safe To Use If You Have Breast Cancer?

Image Source: / Feelart
Image Source: / Feelart

Are Lavender and Tea Tree Essential Oils Safe To Use If You Have Breast Cancer?

Probably at least once a week, a woman with breast cancer asks me whether lavender and tea tree essential oils have estrogenic properties, and whether they are safe for her to use. Being a breast cancer coach – and especially someone who recommends the use of essential oils – it’s a fair question. With this article, I hope to give you some things to consider when using essential oils, some of the research, and to share with you why quality matters when considering essential oils as part of your healing regimen.

The reason people are asking this question is because of a small study [1] that indicated lavender and tea tree oil may have estrogenic or hormone disrupting properties.

This is my response and my position on this matter.

The study listed at [1] below in References reported that lavender oil and tea tree oil could possess endocrine disrupting activity. It was a very small study comprising exactly three young male patients who presented with idiopathic (of unknown origin) pre-pubertal gynecomastia. Gynecomastia means enlarged breast tissue. It is purported to be the result of disrupted estrogen and androgen signaling, leading to increased or unopposed estrogen action on breast tissue. All three boys had extensively, and over a long period of time, used products containing either lavender oil or a combination of lavender and tea tree oil. Two of the boys were exposed to a cologne named agua de violetas, and lavender oil was just one of the ingredients.

The vast majority of breast cancer diagnoses are estrogen receptor positive (ER+), so based on this single study, women with ER+ breast cancer are being warned off lavender and tea tree oils. Since this study [1] was published, it has been cited hundreds of times, according to Google Scholar, and reference has been made to the supposed estrogenic or endocrine disrupting activity of lavender and/or tea tree oils. That’s rather akin to hanging someone without a proper trial, I say.

Let’s be sensible here. Things to consider:

1. What other ingredients were in the agua de violetas? Fragrance ingredients are NOT evaluated for safety, in fact most fragrance manufacturers keep their ingredients a closely-guarded secret. It is one of the least regulated industries in the world. Some chemical fragrances are known to be endocrine disrupters, why just blame the lavender? Since no compositional data on the essential oils was supplied in the original paper [1], the presence or absence of xenoestrogenic contaminants such as pesticides, herbicides, etc – known endocrine disrupters – is not known. To draw conclusions about the estrogenic activity of these essential oils without all of the relevant data is just crazy. It is quite possible that these three boys had gynecomastia for other reasons. Tea tree and lavender oils have been blamed, but have not been definitively identified as endocrine disrupting compounds. Indeed, both tea tree and lavender oils have a long history of safe use.

2. Lavender essential oil, if properly distilled from true lavender, Lavandula angustifolia (and NOT lavandin, as many are) is a beautiful oil and has been used for centuries for all sorts of illnesses, skin complaints, for stress, as a sleep promoter, and it has many anti-cancer properties (and yes, there is research to back that up). The study at [1] did not take into account what kind of lavender had been used. Was the lavender improperly distilled using chemical agents that are themselves known to be endocrine disrupters? The composition of the essential oils tested was not given, nor was there any other information about them, other than the supplier. Were the oils organically grown? If not, contamination with herbicides and insecticides is a definite possibility, also known for hormone disruption.

3. What other research has been done since 2007? A study released in March 2013 looked into the subject of the supposed estrogenic activity of lavender essential oil [2]. In this study on rats, lavender oil at dosages of 20 and 100 mg per kg was found to show no sign of being estrogenic in a uterotrophic assay, the gold standard in vivo (meaning in the body) research. Unfortunately, the animals were only tested for 3 days which was probably an insufficient length of time to be considered a thorough examination, but the study is still interesting. Particularly since the concentrations used with the rats amounted to more than 6,000 and 30,000 times greater than normal or average human exposure from a multitude of cosmetic products containing lavender oil.

4. Robert Tisserand, one of the world’s leading aromatherapy experts, an author, educator and all-around essential oil guru, states this about the subject of lavender oil and estrogen on his website: “One in vitro study found that lavender oil had a very weak estrogenic action in MCF-7 breast cancer cells (Henley et al 2007). However, there is no evidence that lavender oil has any adverse effects on human hormonal activity. In another in vitro study, lavender oil inhibited the growth of MCF-7 cells (Zu et al 2010) suggesting that, while it may bind to estrogen receptor sites in the body, it is not an estrogen mimic, and so does not promote estrogen.” [3]

5. There is an incredibly high incidence of adulteration of essential oils. One 2014 study on tea tree oil [4] found that more than half of the 43 samples tested failed to comply with the proposed ratios. In oils sourced from China, the incidence of adulteration is closer to 100%. Compounds not normally found in pure tea tree oil were detected in this study and that’s not a good thing. This brings me to the next subject.

Quality Matters

If I’ve said this once, I’ve said it a thousand times – know where your essential oils come from. Know how the plants are grown. Does the company grow the plants using organic principles? Find out how the essential oils are distilled. If your supplier can’t or won’t tell you this, steer clear of them. Make sure your essential oil supplier uses only Lavandula angustifolia for their lavender oil – and not lavandin, a cheap and less effective substitute. Make sure that the product you are buying contains only the oil of the plant and not a bunch of toxic chemicals like phthalates, or parabens, which are known to have endocrine disrupting properties. Generally speaking, the cheaper the oil, the less you want to consider it.  If you need my help sourcing excellent essential oils, let me know.


1. Prepubertal gynecomastia linked to lavender and tea tree oils – February 2007 –

2. Uterotrophic assay of percutaneous lavender oil in immature female rats – March 2013 –

3. Activities of ten essential oils towards Propionibacterium acnes and PC-3, A-549 and MCF-7 cancer cells –

4. Enantiomeric distribution of selected terpenes for authenticity assessment of Australian Melaleuca alternifolia oil –

Lavender oil is not estrogenic

GET MY BEST TIPS on getting through breast cancer and preventing recurrences by signing up for my free e-newsletters and e-books on the right.  You can also “like” me on Facebook (Marnie Clark, Breast Health Coach) to get my inspirational snippets, news and updates.  I promise to do my utmost to keep you informed and empowered on your healing journey… and beyond.  

Essential Oils For Nausea After Surgery: The Research

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Image source: / africa

Essential Oils For Nausea After Surgery: The Research

After undergoing surgery for breast cancer, it is pretty common to experience nausea, usually caused by a reaction to the anesthesia used.  It may be considered common, but it definitely is not nice when you are going through it.  I will share with you a couple of things that will help you through this.

Essential Oils For Nausea – The Research

Fortunately, essential oils are being studied a good deal more and the research coming to light is not only helpful but often fascinating.

One such study caught my eye recently, published in 2013 and titled Aromatherapy As Treatment For Postoperative Nausea: A Randomized Trial 1.  Researchers used aromatherapy with 301 adult patients who were having trouble with nausea in the post-anesthesia care unit of one surgical center.  The patients were given one of these four things on a gauze pad and asked to breathe in deeply three times:

1. Placebo (saline); or
2. Ginger essential oil; or
3. A blend of ginger, spearmint, peppermint and cardamom essential oils; or
4. Isopropyl alcohol

Nausea was then measured again in five minutes. The patients could also subsequently request anti-emetics (drugs which help to control nausea) if they needed them.

The researchers reported that the change in nausea level was significant for the essential oil blend and the ginger essential oil but not for the saline or the alcohol. No surprise!  I feel sorry for the people who received saline or isopropyl alcohol!  Also, the number of anti-emetic medications required after the aromatherapy treatment was significantly reduced.  The researchers noted “Aromatherapy is promising as an inexpensive, noninvasive treatment for postoperative nausea that can be administered and controlled by patients as needed.”

Ginger has been used for centuries for nausea, it is a well-known anti-emetic and quite often the basis for many natural remedies for seasickness. Cardamom is a member of the ginger family and is also considered quite helpful for queasiness and nausea. Spearmint and peppermint have been used throughout history for digestive complaints including nausea.

No Essential Oils? Try Controlled Breathing

If you do not have access to essential oils, one smaller 2014 study indicated that just doing controlled breathing when experiencing nausea after surgery could be as helpful as the administration of peppermint essential oil 2.

Controlled breathing is a fairly specific way of using and focusing on the breath and here’s how it works. Fill your lungs and breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth using a steady, slow rhythm. Try to keep your mouth closed when you breathe in through your nose and as you breathe out, “purse” or pucker your lips (as if you were about to whistle or kiss). This helps to slightly restrict the outflow of air.  Try to make your “out” breath twice as long as your “in” breath. This technique helps to empty your lungs of old air, and to make more room in your lungs for fresh, oxygen-rich air.  You might find it helpful to count to two as you breathe in, and count to four as you breathe out. Try not to hold your breath between breathing in and out.  For some reason this technique helps to relieve some of the nausea after surgery quite well.

My Experience With Essential Oils For Pain Relief, Inflammation

While I did not experience nausea after surgery, I used peppermint essential oil post-surgery to help with pain relief, combining it with wintergreen.  Peppermint and wintergreen are an effective duo for pain relief and inflammation.  I just put a drop or two of each on the area of concern and never needed any of the morphine that was offered me. I considered that a big plus, I don’t do well with drugs and I know many others have that same problem. This might not work for everyone, but it certainly worked for me.

If you are about to undergo surgery, here are links to other articles on my website that may be useful for you:

Your Breast Surgery Recovery: Using Arnica To Minimize Bruising and Swelling

Tips For Surgery: Useful Items To Take With You


1. Aromatherapy as Treatment for Postoperative Nausea: A Randomized Trial –

2. Controlled Breathing with or Without Peppermint Aromatherapy for Postoperative Nausea And/or Vomiting Symptom Relief: a Randomized Controlled Trial –

GET MY BEST TIPS on getting through breast cancer and preventing recurrences by signing up for my free e-newsletters and e-books on the right.  You can also “like” me on Facebook ( to get my inspirational snippets, news and updates.  I promise to do my utmost to keep you informed and empowered on your healing journey… and beyond.

Essential Oil Research – Benefits Of Clove

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Image Source: / artur84

Essential Oil Research – Benefits Of Clove

Continuing my series of articles about the benefits of essential oils, this week I’m focusing on the benefits of clove essential oil, a lovely, aromatic, exotic oil.

I have previously referenced the fascinating 2014 report titled Essential Oils and Their Constituents as Anticancer Agents: A Mechanistic View 1, but the information contained therein bears repeating.  As of February 2014, 135 research papers have been written about the anti-cancer properties of essential oils.  Of those 135 papers, 117 were written after 2005, which definitely indicates the increase of interest in essential oils.

Research indicates that clove is known to have antioxidant, antibacterial, antiviral, antiseptic, analgesic, antimutagenic, antigenotoxic, and anti-inflammatory properties. Only recently, however, has clove been studied for its anti-cancer potential.

Research on Clove Essential Oil and Breast Cancer

Clove (Syzygium aromaticum L.) is one of the oils that has been studied on actual breast cancer cell lines and found to be helpful.  A study reported in 2014 2 evaluated the cytotoxic activity of clove against MCF-7 breast cancer cells, which are invasive ductal carcinoma cells exhibiting both estrogen and progesterone receptors (ER+, PR+).  The study utilized several different extracts, including water, ethanol and essential oil.  The essential oil extract provided the highest cytotoxic (that means cell killing) activity against this particular cell line.  The researchers concluded that “Cloves are natural products with excellent cytotoxicity toward MCF-7 cells; thus, they are promising sources for the development of anticancer agents.”

A study reported in 2013 3 indicated that eugenol, the most prevalent phytochemical within clove, increased apoptosis (planned cell death, a good thing), decreased a protein coding gene known as E2F1 or survivin, inhibited cell proliferation, inhibited oncoproteins known to be highly expressed in breast cancer cells and tissues, and it did this both in vitro (in test tubes) and in vivo (in the body).  The really exciting part about this research study, however, was that they tested various breast cancer cell lines, including triple negative, and found that eugenol exhibited anti-cancer effects on both estrogen receptor positive and estrogen receptor negative breast cancer cells. Eugenol was found not to be toxic to normal, healthy cells.

A 2012 study 4 indicated that eugenol not only had the ability to inhibit cell proliferation and promote apoptosis (both features which are lacking with cancer cells), it also exhibited the ability to inhibit estrogen, making it similar or even better than tamoxifen and its metabolites for inhibiting estrogen.  Did you get that?  A NATURAL ANTI-ESTROGEN AGENT!

Having said that, I always say that healing from breast cancer is about more than just blocking the body’s own estrogen, a hormone we need in our bodies. There are many other ways to heal from breast cancer than suppressing a hormone that does so much for our health. Find out what some of those things are via my free newsletters – you can sign up for them from any page on my site.

Other Studies on Clove’s Anti-Cancer Effects

Another 2014 study  5 indicated that clove “can be explored as a viable source of bioactives for the development of chemotherapeutic drugs against cancer in addition to acting as nutraceutical and functional food ingredient.” This study found that the phenols found in clove were anti-mutagenic and highly antioxidant, making clove a valuable chemotherapeutic agent (that means cancer preventative).

A Chinese study also reported in 2014 6 investigated the anti-tumor effects of clove on colon tumors, specifically an ethyl acetate extract of cloves (which the first study referenced at 2 below also utilized and found was inferior to the essential oil of clove). They also tested oleanolic acid, one of the constituents of clove, and found the ethyl acetate extract to be superior to oleanolic acid, as well as superior to the chemotherapy drug 5-fluorouracil at suppressing growth of colon tumor xenografts. The study found clove inhibited tumor growth, promoted cell cycle arrest and apoptosis.

Exciting research, is it not?

I am not telling you to cure your breast cancer using essential oils. I would certainly not rely upon essential oils alone to do that job. But in combination with a holistic regimen of nutrition and other lifestyle changes, together with chemotherapy and radiation (should you choose to go that route) I believe that essential oils can be an extremely beneficial healing tool and chemopreventive aid.

You can read my other articles on essential oil research by clicking this link.


1.  Essential Oils and Their Constituents as Anticancer Agents: A Mechanistic View –

2.  Anticancer Potential of Syzygium Aromaticum L. in MCF-7 Human Breast Cancer Cell Lines –

3.  Eugenol Triggers Apoptosis in Breast Cancer Cells Through E2f1/Survivin Down-regulation –

4. Structure-based Design of Eugenol Analogs as Potential Estrogen Receptor Antagonists –

5.  In Vitro Antimutagenic, Antioxidant Activities and Total Phenolics of Clove (Syzygium Aromaticum L.) Seed Extracts –

6.  Clove Extract Inhibits Tumor Growth and Promotes Cell Cycle Arrest and Apoptosis –

GET MY BEST TIPS on getting through breast cancer and preventing recurrences by signing up for my free e-newsletters and e-books on the right.  You can also “like” me on Facebook ( to get my inspirational snippets, news and updates.  I promise to do my utmost to keep you informed and empowered on your healing journey… and beyond. 

Essential Oil Research – Lime Essential Oil

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Essential Oil Research – Lime Essential Oil

I’m always interested in sharing good research about essential oils because even though essential oils have been used for medicinal purposes since the time of the ancient Egyptians, and we have a significant quantity of information from herbalists and aromatherapists, what we lacked was scientific proof demonstrating exactly how helpful essential oils can be. That lack exists no more!

According to a 2014 review titled Essential Oils and Their Constituents as Anticancer Agents: A Mechanistic View1, as of February 2014, 135 research papers have been written about the anti-cancer properties of essential oils.  Of these 135 papers, 117 of them have been written after 2005, which shows the recent increase of interest in this field.

Research on Lime Essential Oil and Cancer

One Iranian study reported in 2014 indicates that an extract from the peels of lime (Citrus aurantifolia), in combination with the breast cancer drug Doxorubicin (the generic name for Adriamycin, also known as the Red Devil among breast cancer survivors), proved to be a potent anti-cancer combo2.

Doxorubicin is a type of chemotherapy drug called an anthracycline. It works by slowing or ceasing the growth of cancer cells by blocking an enzyme called topo isomerase 2 used by cancer cells to divide and grow.

The Iranian researchers discovered that an extract of lime peels sensitized MCF-7 breast cancer cells (this line of cells is estrogen-receptor positive, progesterone-receptor positive and HER2 negative) to the drug Doxorubicin. While it is true that the researchers did not employ the use of lime essential oil specifically, it is likely that the extraction process utilized would contain significant quantities of essential oil within it.

The study was undertaken because the researchers understood that the use of Doxorubicin as a chemotherapy drug causes various problems such as drug resistance, toxicity to normal tissues, and it is hard on the immune system and heart.  When cancer cells develop resistance to a drug, the drug fails to cause the cancer cells to die off.  So the researchers set out to discover something which could be combined with Doxorubicin which would increase its effectiveness, and the common lime provided the synergistic effect they were searching for.

The researchers stated that Citrus aurantifolia was a potential chemopreventive agent, chemoprevention meaning a drug, substance or food that prevents cancer.

Lime Essential Oil Potent Against Candida

Breast cancer survivors often struggle with Candida albicans infections (aka thrush), both before breast cancer diagnosis, and also afterward due to some of the drugs utilized to fight the cancer.

An interesting study reported just last month indicated that a special photo-activated lime essential oil (again, Citrus aurantifolia) increased the killing capacity of two fungi, Candida albicans and Tricophyton rubrum, by 10-13%. The researchers stated that the photo-activated citrus essential oil exhibited remarkable lethal effect on fungal cells.3

For more information on the link between candida and breast cancer, see my article What Is The Candida Breast Cancer Connection?

I am not telling you to cure your breast cancer using essential oils. I would certainly not rely upon essential oils alone to do that job. But in combination with a holistic regimen of nutrition and other lifestyle changes, together with chemotherapy and radiation (should you choose to go that route) I believe that essential oils can be an extremely beneficial healing tool and chemopreventive aid.


1. Essential Oils and Their Constituents as Anticancer Agents: A Mechanistic View –

2.  Combination of Ethanolic Extract of Citrus aurantifolia Peels with Doxorubicin Modulate Cell Cycle and Increase Apoptosis Induction on MCF-7 Cells –

3.  Eradication of C. albicans and T. rubrum with photoactivated indocyanine green, Citrus aurantifolia essential oil and fluconazole –

GET MY BEST TIPS on getting through breast cancer and preventing recurrences by signing up for my free e-newsletters and e-books on the right.  You can also “like” me on Facebook (Marnie Clark, Breast Health Coach) to get my inspirational snippets, news and updates.  I promise to do my utmost to keep you informed and empowered on your healing journey… and beyond.  

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Essential Oil Research – Limonene Has Great Potential For Breast Cancer

Image source: MorgueFile
Image source: MorgueFile

Essential Oil Research – Limonene Has Great Potential For Breast Cancer

Lately I have been trolling through the vast quantities of research available, specifically looking at a particular little phytochemical known as limonene, found in high quantities in the peels of citrus fruit, and lesser quantities in the pulp of citrus fruit. I am excited to report that the research I have found indicates that limonene has great potential for breast cancer.

Limonene (pronounced lime-oh-neen) is classified as a cyclic terpene and in some research you will also find it referred to as d-limonene. A great way to obtain limonene is through citrus essential oils, more specifically lemon, mandarin, grapefruit, lime, tangerine and orange.

The research I am about to share is mainly about limonene, although citrus essential oils do contain other potent phytochemicals as well.

Research On Limonene Showing Anti-Cancer Potential

A lot of research has been done on limonene, it has been fairly actively studied since the 1970’s and possibly prior to that.  Those early studies done in the 70’s indicated that limonene inhibited the initiation phase of skin cancer.

This website is all about breast cancer, however, so I will limit the research I mention herein to limonene’s helpfulness for breast cancer.  Here we go.

A 2011 study 1 reported that limonene had potential chemotherapeutic properties, exhibited chemopreventive (meaning cancer prevention) effects, was an immune modulator and had anti-proliferative properties.

Another 2011 study 2, although done with lemon fruit extract (LE) and not limonene, showed that the extract induced apoptosis (anti-tumor activity), in vitro (meaning in the test tube), on MCF-7 breast cancer cells. MCF-7 cells are invasive ductal carcinoma with estrogen-receptor-positive (ER+) and progesterone-receptor-positive (PR+), and HER2 negative cells.  I have included this one because although the study didn’t specifically study limonene,  it is highly likely that the anti-cancer activity exhibited by the fruit extract was due to its limonene content.

One 2012 study 3 concerned itself with the safety and efficacy of using limonene via orange oil on the breast as an “alternative dosing strategy” and found that limonene is “bio available in mammary tissue after topical orange oil application in mice and this novel route of administration to the breast is safe and feasible in healthy women.”

A study done in 2013 4 on 43 actual women with breast cancer was very interesting. The 43 women were newly diagnosed with early stage breast cancer and about to undergo lumpectomies. The women took 2 gm of limonene daily 2-6 weeks prior to surgery. Limonene was found to “preferentially concentrate in the breast tissue” and reduced breast tumor cyclin D1 (a cell-cycle regulatory protein) expression that could lead to cell-cycle arrest and reduced cell proliferation.  Researchers felt that limonene should continue to be studied to establish its role for breast cancer prevention or treatment.  A subsequent study reported in January 2015 5 came to a similar conclusion, that limonene reduced cyclin D1 in patient tumor tissues.

One Iranian study reported in 2014 6 showed that a combination of an extract from lime peels and the cancer drug doxorubicin increased apoptosis (programmed cell death) in MCF-7 breast cancer cells.

Finally, a study reported in 2014 7 reflected that limonene had anti-inflammatory properties (always important in cancer, which is an inflammatory condition), exhibited “surprising” anti-angiogenesis properties (which relates to a tumor’s ability to invade surrounding tissue by sending out new blood vessels) and was useful for skin healing and tissue regeneration.

A Personal Note And A Bit Of A Soap Box

In the past, I have purposely held back from promotion of essential oils on this website – despite the fact that I have used them successfully myself for the past 16 years – indeed, as a representative for Young Living Essential Oils, we are specifically asked not to say that essential oils will treat or cure any disease. The United States Food & Drug Administration keeps a very close eye on the claims that essential oil representatives make.

I am not telling you to cure your breast cancer using essential oils. I would certainly not rely upon essential oils alone to do that job. But in combination with a holistic regimen of nutrition and other lifestyle changes, together with chemotherapy and radiation (should you choose to go that route) I believe that essential oils can be an extremely beneficial healing tool and chemopreventive aid.

New and exciting research is being released nearly daily now on the healing properties of essential oils and it is proof positive and undeniable. The authorities absolutely cannot keep a lid on this any longer and we are sick of being silenced.


1.  d-Limonene: a bioactive food component from citrus and evidence for a potential role in breast cancer prevention and treatment –

2.  Apoptosis-mediated inhibition of human breast cancer cell proliferation by lemon citrus extract –

3.  Safety and Feasibility of Topical Application of Limonene as a Massage Oil to the Breast –

4.  Human Breast Tissue Disposition and Bioactivity of Limonene in Women with Early-Stage Breast Cancer –

5.  Plasma metabolomic profiles of breast cancer patients after short-term limonene intervention –

6. Combination of Ethanolic Extract of Citrus aurantifolia Peels with Doxorubicin Modulate Cell Cycle and Increase Apoptosis Induction on MCF-7 Cells  –

7.  Skin repair properties of d-Limonene and perillyl alcohol in murine models –

GET MY BEST TIPS on getting through breast cancer and preventing recurrences by signing up for my free e-newsletters and e-books on the right.  You can also “like” me on Facebook ( to get my inspirational snippets, news and updates.  I promise to do my utmost to keep you informed and empowered on your healing journey… and beyond.  

Member No 267494
Member No 267494


Powerful Natural Boosters For The Immune System

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Powerful Natural Boosters For The Immune System

If you are struggling to overcome breast cancer, it is important to understand the role of a strong immune system. It is vital that you know that there  are many powerful natural boosters for the immune system and that they enhance healing and help to stimulate the body’s natural healing defenses, making them perfect for use just prior to surgery, post-surgery and/or when you are going through chemotherapy and/or radiation.

The Importance Of A Strong Immune System

Once you are through with your treatments, building a strong immune system becomes even more important, to keep recurrences away.  Your immune system is your first line of defense against not only pathogens, viruses, and bacteria, but cancer cells.  If your immune system is under-reacting to an internal threat, cancer is often the result.

My Favorites To Build A Strong Immune System

Here’s my list of favorite supplements to build a strong immune system.  Please don’t use everything listed below all at the same time.  Always consult a health professional before embarking upon any regimen to get personalized recommendations for dosages and which of the following is best for you.

  • American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius) – a tonic herb, it can boost energy levels and decrease recovery time post-surgery.
  • Andrographis (Andrographis paniculata) – has been studied recently for its immune stimulating effects, as well as anti-inflammatory benefits.  There’s a good article on it on the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center website [1].
  • Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) – an Ayurvedic herb useful for strengthening the immune system, it also combats the effects of stress, reduces anxiety and depression, and has anti-inflammatory benefits.
  • Astragalus (Astragalus membranaceus)used for centuries by the Chinese, astragalus is a potent enhancer of the immune system.
  • Curcumin – a yellow pigment derived from the root spice turmeric, a powerful antioxidant. We have loads of research on its anti-cancer activity, and it decreases the levels of two enzymes in the body that cause inflammation. [2]
  • Echinacea (Echinacea angustifolia) – boosts the immune system by increasing production of white blood cells which help fight disease.
  • Essential oils – vast quantities of research now exist proving beyond a shadow of a doubt exactly how essential oils can be used to enhance immunity. Nearly every single essential oil contains  phytochemicals (plant chemicals) that have research-backed anti-cancer and immune-stimulating properties. This is a vast subject, so if you’d like to know more about how to use essential oils – and which ones help the most, just subscribe to my newsletters. I share loads of great information in my free newsletters.
  • Glyconutrients – plant based and organic, these supply all eight of the simple sugars our cells require for proper communication, thus assisting with brain function, immune function, etc. When the cells are communicating better, everything starts working more optimally. What I like about them is that they help to create healthy stem cells. See my article Breast Cancer Stem Cells – Stopping Them In Their Tracks.
  • Goji or Wolfberry (Lycium barbarum) – unlike some herbs, this one has good research [3], [4] which indicates its usefulness for increasing immunological responses.  Best taken in a juice as it tends to preserve the polysaccharide content that dried fruit does not contain. The brands I love are Young Living’s NingXia Red (you can get that from me) and Freelife GoChi. Both taste amazing and are super easy to take and work the best for boosting immunity.
  • Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis) – a natural antibiotic, goldenseal contains the phytochemical berberine. It’s wonderful for helping to prevent and fight infections, it is a potent anti-inflammatory, helps boost white blood cells, and one 2010 study found that berberine inhibited the growth of two different types of breast cancer cells better than the chemo drug doxorubicine [5].
  • Green tea (Camellia sinensis) – contains potent antioxidant compounds that neutralize free radicals and prevent damage to the immune system. In addition, green tea stimulates the liver to secrete interferon, an immune compound that helps fight infection. To bolster immune function, drink 3 or more cups of organic green tea daily.
  • Medicinal mushrooms – amazing support for the immune system, see my article Medicinal Mushrooms – Fungi That Fight Cancer Cells for more information.
  • 4Life Transfer Factors – specially formulated to help immune cells identify health threats and speed up the immune response to those threats. Transfer factors work by transferring immune memory and knowledge from one entity to another, a rather different approach to immune system support. I’ve taken these myself, have recommended them for hundreds of others and  everyone loves them.  You can get them from me. Contact me for more information.

It’s always a good idea to let your physician know exactly what you are taking in order to avoid any possible drug interactions.



[2] Curcumin Induces Cell Death and Restores Tamoxifen Sensitivity in the Antiestrogen-resistant Breast Cancer Cell Lines MCF-7/LCC2 and MCF-7/LCC9 —

[3] Immunomodulatory Effects of a Standardized Lycium Barbarum Fruit Juice in Chinese Older Healthy Human Subjects —

[4] Lycium Barbarum Inhibits Growth of Estrogen Receptor Positive Human Breast Cancer Cells By Favorably Altering Estradiol Metabolism –

[5] The Alkaloid Berberine Inhibits the Growth of Anoikis-resistant MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231 Breast Cancer Cell Lines by Inducing Cell Cycle Arrest –

GET MY BEST TIPS on getting through breast cancer and preventing recurrences by signing up for my free e-newsletters and e-books on the right.  You can also “like” me on Facebook (Marnie Clark, Breast Health Coach) to get my inspirational snippets, news and updates.  I promise to do my utmost to keep you informed and empowered on your healing journey… and beyond. 

The information provided on this site is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for advice from your physician or other health care professional.  You should not use the information on this site for diagnosis or treatment of any health problem and please be sure to consult your health care professional when making decisions about your health.

Healing The Body With The Mind – and Essential Oils

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Healing the Body With The Mind – and Essential Oils

One of the things I learned long ago was not to discount how much we can achieve simply by setting our minds upon achievement of a particular goal.

Healing can be achieved in the same way – by focusing our mind, attention and intention upon the area of your body where you wish healing to take place.  There are a myriad of books and authors, such as Deepak Chopra, Bruce Lipton, Andrew Weil, Bernie Siegel, and Wayne Dyer, which discuss the subject of healing the body with the mind, and I would encourage you to check them out.

My sole intent with this article is to open your mind to the possibility of using not only your mind, but also essential oils for healing.  Why?  Read on.

Our Powerful Minds

Way back in the 1950’s a scientist by the name of Franklin Loehr explored the effect of prayer and human thought on water and on plants.  Loehr discovered that human thought was able to alter the bonding angles between the oxygen and hydrogen atoms, thus changing the physical properties of the water.  (See The Power of Prayer on Plants by Franklin Loehr).

What quantum physics is teaching us is that human thought and human intent affect the behavior of electrons.  Since every chemical and neural process in the human body involves the activity of electrons, we see that our bodily functions are not simply matters of traditional chemistry and classical physics – they are mental, emotional, and spiritual as well.  The mind-body connection everyone is talking about happens through our electrons.

Essential Oils Amplify Healing

One of my favorite healing modalities is the use of essential oils.  I’ve been using them for years on myself (see my page Essential Oils For Overall Health and Specific Health Problems), my family and my clients, with great success.  How they work like they do is often a mystery to me, but I know they have chemical constituents, provided to us by Mother Nature, which (in part) explain how and why they work so well and are, in fact, potent little healers.

Here’s something you might not know though — essential oils have electrical properties which are subject to our thoughts and feelings.  Mind blowing?

It is known that the same essential oil will have different effects on different people, and the usual explanation is that different people have different chemistries.  But is it truly just about chemistry?

Desire, Feeling and Intent Matter Too

It is taught in every aromatherapy class that the chemical composition of an oil determines its role in healing.  But quantum physics is teaching us that essential oils are also subject to desire, feeling and intent.

In short, the potential actions of an oil are thought to be defined and limited by its chemistry, but the real determining factor as to which potential action will manifest is definitely also affected by the attitudes of the anointer and receiver.

Our thoughts won’t change the chemistry of an oil, but our thoughts can determine which aspects of the chemistry of that particular oil will work in our bodies.

How To Amplify Healing When Using Essential Oils 

  • Essential oils amplify intent – the intent of the person applying the oils, and the intent of the person receiving the oils.  Healing practitioners who anoint with oils know from experience that essential oils work better with prayer, faith and belief.  What this means is that the receiver of an essential oil can participate in their own healing.  The oils are not healers, they are the vehicles that must be facilitated by our supportive thoughts for them to work optimally!  They will work reasonably well without the conscious participation of the receiver because of the intent given to them when grown, distilled, packaged and distributed – but they work so much better when the receiver actively participates in their own healing.
  • When an oil is applied to any part of the body you can mentally direct it to go wherever it is needed and affirm the outcome you desire.  Your affirmation should be more than a one-time thought, it must come from your deepest convictions, emotions, and faith, and be repeated and consciously retained until the desired results are manifested.
  • A single oil then is full of possibilities – almost unlimited – for example, an oil could be known to be supportive of liver function, but not known for nerve regeneration.  Even so, that oil could be used for nerve regeneration if directed to do so.  Knowing this, if you don’t think you have the right oil for a specific application, using your intuition, choose an oil that you do have, and with intense concentration and feeling, direct the oil to do whatever you wish it to do.  Essential oils are imbued with an intelligence non-existent in pharmaceutical drugs.

Essential oils are vehicles of living energy and work on all human levels: physical, mental, emotional, social, and spiritual.  I even believe that essential oils work on the financial level as well (if you don’t believe me, start wearing the blend of “Abundance”, which has a beautiful, exotic aroma, and direct the oil to help you create whatever it is you are looking for in your life – then watch what happens!).

I hope you found this brief discussion interesting.  To read more on the scientific basis of essential oils, see The Chemistry of Essential Oils Made Simple by Dr David Stewart, a fascinating read.  Another good book to read is Aromatherapy For Healing the Spirit by Gabriel Mojay.

For more information on which brand of essential oils I use (and they are the best!) or to sign up for my essential oil newsletters, contact me.

If you would like my help with getting through breast cancer in an inspiring and ultra-healthy way, please sign up for my free e-newsletters and e-book on the right, or “like” me on Facebook (  It is my honor and my goal to help you through this so that you emerge from breast cancer feeling better than before, thriving!

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Member No 267494

Eugenol Being Researched For Estrogen Receptor Antagonist Capabilities

Photo courtesy of / Tacluda
Photo courtesy of / Tacluda

Eugenol Being Researched For Estrogen Receptor Antagonist Capabilities

I am always on the lookout for good information about essential oils.  Anyone who knows me realizes at some point that I am in love with essential oils and use them daily on myself (see my page on Essential Oils For Overall Health and Specific Health Problems) and in the home.  I love that they are completely natural, very potent and have zero side effects.

Eugenol Has Anti-Cancer Properties

Today I found a study abstract on the website about eugenol, which is the active component in the buds and leaves of clove (Syzygium aromaticum) oil.  I use clove oil frequently for its anti-cancer properties, but it’s also good for so many other things, chief among them being sore and inflamed gums or teeth because it is a natural analgesic.  Anyway, the abstract I found (here’s the link) mentioned that eugenol was “reported to have activity on inhibition of cell proliferation and apoptosis induction in human MCF-7 breast cancer cells.” 

Apoptosis means the process of programmed cell death, it’s a natural process that all cells go through.  So what the study is referring to is that eugenol inhibits cell proliferation (always a good thing to ward against cancer cells multiplying rapidly) and induces programmed cell death in certain breast cancer cells known as MCF-7.

Eugenol As An Estrogen Receptor Antagonist

The study abstract also mentions that eugenol is being investigated for its activity as an estrogen receptor antagonist.  That’s pretty exciting, many in the breast cancer community are always looking for natural things to block the activity of estrogen if we had estrogen receptor positive cancer cells.

In recent years, eugenol has attracted the attention of many researchers because of its anti-inflammatory and chemopreventive effects, as well as its superior antioxidant activities, which is what attracted me to clove oil in the first place.  It also has potent anti-fungal properties. 

While I was doing the research for this article I found a vastly informative article titled “Eugenol—From the Remote Maluku Islands to the International Market Place: A Review of a Remarkable and Versatile Molecule” published in the journal Molecules in June 2012, authored by Guy P. Kamatou, Ilze Vermaak and Alvaro M. Viljoen of the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Faculty of Science, Tshwane University of Technology, Pretoria, South Africa.  If you would like to view a copy of that article, just Google the title and you can download it.  It goes into great detail about eugenol and its multitudinous uses.

Returning to the subject of eugenol and its possible estrogen receptor antagonist capabilities – I know I would much rather massage a good therapeutic grade clove essential oil into my body than take something like Faslodex with its possible side effects of injection site pain, nausea, bone pain, arthralgia, headache, back pain, fatigue, extremity pain, hot flashes, vomiting, anorexia, asthenia, musculoskeletal pain, cough, dyspnea, and constipation…. yuck.

I will keep an eye on the research for eugenol and clove oil as it relates to estrogen receptor antagonism and let you know when anything else surfaces.  In the meantime, it certainly can’t hurt to use clove essential oil for breast health – I use it frequently.  Make sure your essential oil is therapeutic grade (it must say that on the label) and if you need to know some good brands, contact me.

If you would like my help with getting through breast cancer in an inspiring and ultra-healthy way, please sign up for my free e-newsletters and e-book on the right, or “like” me on Facebook (  It is my honor and my goal to help you through this so that you emerge from breast cancer feeling better than before, thriving!

Migraines, Breast Cancer Risk, and a Great Recipe

migraines, breast cancer risk, and a great recipe
Photo courtesy of and Ambro

More Migraines, Fewer Tumors?

A 2010 research study made its way onto my desk today that I thought was worth sharing.

Published in January 2010 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology and titled Migraine History and Breast Cancer Risk Among Postmenopausal Women, the study found that postmenopausal women who have been treated for migraines have a 26% – 33% lower risk of breast cancer than other women.

The researchers made the point that estrogen plays a role in both migraines and some breast cancers.  60% of women with migraines reported having more headaches around the time of menstruation, when estrogen levels change.  Many women reported having few migraines when they were pregnant, particularly around mid-pregnancy when estrogen levels stabilized.

Knowing you’d want to know more, I did some further research.

How Estrogen Plays a Role In Migraines

Estrogen has several important actions in the central nervous system that may account for its association with migraine headaches.  When estrogen levels decline, serotonin levels also fall due to a decline in production coupled with an increased rate of elimination. Serotonin is a nerve transmitter (primarily created in your gastrointestinal tract) and is thought to be a contributor to feelings of well-being and happiness.

When serotonin declines, that triggers another hormone known as calcitonin (made in the thyroid gland, it helps to regulate calcium levels) to be released, and along with a few other substances that are released, this causes cranial blood vessels to dilate (expand) and sensitizes particular parts of the trigeminal nerve, which is the largest of the cranial nerves and is responsible for sensation in the face and certain motor functions such as biting, chewing, and swallowing.

I had a massage teacher who always said that headaches were nothing more than a cerebrovascular event – “cerebro” meaning brain and “vascular” meaning blood vessels – it’s when the blood vessels in your brain dilate, causing that pain and throbbing and sometimes impaired vision that migraine sufferers describe.

My very own husband suffers from migraines sometimes and a few years ago I finally found something that absolutely stops a migraine in its tracks – at least it does for him.  Several others who have tried this recipe have also reported success, so I knew I had to share it with you!

Stopping A Migraine Quickly


  • A large glass bowl of cold water
  • Tray full of ice cubes
  • Essential oils of peppermint, ginger, marjoram (make sure they’re therapeutic grade)
  • Washcloth

To the bowl of water, add the tray of ice cubes and two drops each of the three oils.  Mix it up a little but not too much – the oil will float on the water and that’s okay.  Dip in the washcloth and then place onto the forehead of the migraine sufferer.  They will express shock initially because of the icy-ness of the compress, but should within 2-3 minutes gain great relief.  Keep soaking the cloth in the icy mixture and reapplying to the forehead (making sure the oils don’t get into their eyes, that will create a whole different kind of pain!) until the headache is gone.  Wishing you success with this recipe!

If you need to know where to get therapeutic grade essential oils, just contact me.

Source articles:

If you would like my help with getting through breast cancer in an inspiring and ultra-healthy way, please sign up for my free e-newsletters on the right, or “like” me on Facebook (  When you’re in a desperate situation, you need an ally.  You can depend on me to help you through this.

Want to Sleep Better?

want to sleep better Image source: Michelle Meiklejohn /

Want To Sleep Better?

Following on yesterday’s article about EMF radiation, I am getting quite a few inquiries from my readers saying “HELP ME SLEEP!” or “how can I sleep better?”

Initially it might seem like the two articles are not connected, but they definitely are.  If you are trying to sleep in a room that has high electro-magnetic frequencies, chances are your sleep is going to be disturbed.

Melatonin Plays a Role

Also the whole issue about melatonin comes into play – I mentioned in yesterday’s article that studies have shown women who have breast cancer normally have quite low levels of melatonin, often as little as one-tenth what they should.  Check out yesterday’s article: EMF Dangers and 7 Tips To Help You Avoid Exposure.

If you have breast cancer or are wanting to reduce your risk of it, improving your quality of sleep is, I believe, absolutely crucial.  Studies have shown that shift workers, especially nurses, are more prone to breast cancer and the researchers are discovering that lack of melatonin could be the cause.

Why We Don’t Sleep Well

Since there seems to be a great need out there to improve quality of sleep, let’s first examine some of the reasons why people don’t sleep well:

  • Noise – from the neighborhood, a snoring spouse or pet, crying children, barking dogs, screaming ambulances – noise can be a big problem
  • Light – too much light entering the bedroom
  • Pets – needy pets sleeping on your head don’t help!
  • Alcohol – a big sleep disturber
  • Caffeine – stimulates your nervous system, and lots of caffeine over the period of a day can build up
  • Thinking and Anxiety – an inability to shut the mind off or feeling anxious about things
  • Jet Lag – constant travel can be a problem for your inner time clock
  • Restless Legs – sufferers of this syndrome have an irresistible urge to move their legs to relieve sensations described as itchiness, pins and needles or other discomforts
  • Hot Flashes – whether you are menopausal or undergoing treatment for breast cancer, you know how completely sleep can be interrupted by these darned things

My 11 Best Tips – How to Sleep Better

  1. Remove EMFs – See yesterday’s article about removing EMFs from the bedroom.
  2. Noise Reduction – It can be difficult to control the noise factor.  I have tried earplugs but I hate the sensation of them in my ears and find that makes sleep difficult.  Often just turning on a fan can be helpful – the “white noise” from the fan and the movement of air can be soothing.  Also, there are “white noise” machines available from places such as Sharper Image,, etc.  Just ensure you don’t place it close to the bed (again, the EMF problem).  If a snoring partner is the problem, one of you should move to another room to sleep, if possible.
  3. Light Reduction  – Make your bedroom as dark as possible.  This is important because if your bedroom is full of too much light (including light from an alarm clock), it directly inhibits the production of melatonin.  Use room darkening shades if possible and rid your bedroom of as many appliances as you can that create little lights at night.
  4. Pets – People love their pets, but pets have no place in the bedroom, I am sorry to say.  They can disturb your sleep by wanting to play or wanting to be let out or… whatever.  If you are having trouble sleeping (unless of course the pet helps you to sleep), getting pets out of the bedroom helps a lot.  Here’s an article from webmd I found extremely helpful.
  5. Limit Alcohol – Contrary to popular belief, alcohol does not help you sleep.  Studies show that alcohol decreases the duration of sleep and its efficiency.  It also increases your risk of breast cancer.
  6. Limit Caffeine – How caffeine affects us varies widely.  For instance I’m very intolerant of it, I can’t have it past about 1 pm in the day or I’ll be awake half the night.  My husband can drink black tea all day and all night and sleep like a baby.  I believe each person’s tolerance for caffeine is pretty different.  Just be aware of what yours is – it is, after all, a stimulant to the nervous system.  If you’re finding that you don’t sleep well, try limiting your caffeine intake after about 3 pm for about 2 weeks and see what happens.
  7. Meditation and Positive Affirmations – Thinking too much and anxiety are double trouble, much prone to them myself.  Here’s what helps me.  If I meditate for 20 minutes prior to going to bed, I sleep much better.  The use of positive affirmations helps with anxiety.  One of the tenets of Buddhism is living in the moment.  If you find your brain is running amok and going through all those “what if’s” and it’s creating massive anxiety, ask yourself this question.  AM I OKAY RIGHT THIS MINUTE?  99% of the time, the answer will be “yes”.  Tell yourself, “I am okay right now and right now is all that matters”.  Are you aware that 90% of the things we worry about never happen?  Just breathe.  Be here now.  Without wishing to minimize your problems and worries, it might help you to realize that if  you have a roof over your head and food in your belly, you are doing better than 50% of the population of this planet.
  8. Jet Lag Tips – A big sleep disruptor.  Here’s a good article from USA Today on how to reduce jet lag.
  9. Restless Legs – This can be a big problem for a lot of people, including me.  I found a great cure for it when I was living in Australia – maddeningly the cure isn’t available in the USA.  It’s a supplement made by a company out of New Zealand, Blackmores, and it’s called P.P.M.P. which stands for Potassium phosphate Magnesium phosphate.  I haven’t found anything else that works faster.  The Mayo Clinic has an article about RLS with some tips and tricks which may help.
  10. Aromatherapy – Breathing in a good quality lavender essential oil and spreading it onto the bottoms of your feet just prior to bed helps immensely because it has wonderful calming qualities and helps with depth and quality of sleep.  Essential oils are extremely beneficial for more than just sleep improvement! For more info see my page about essential oils.
  11. Cool Those Hot Flashes – I wish I had the cure-all for this.  I’ve found many things that assist, nothing that makes them go away entirely.  I wrote an article recently with some tips and tricks.

I really hope that this helps you get a better night’s sleep.

GET MY BEST TIPS on getting through breast cancer and preventing recurrences by signing up for my free e-newsletters and e-books on the right.  You can also “like” me on Facebook (Marnie Clark Breast Health Coach).  I promise to do my utmost to keep you informed and empowered on your healing journey… and beyond.

A Contemplation of Brachytherapy and IORT (You Might Want to Rethink Them)

Artwork courtesy of Zela/
Artwork courtesy of Zela/

I recently discovered that there are two new-ish therapies available as breast cancer treatments that were not available when I had breast cancer in 2004, known as brachytherapy and intra-operative radiation therapy, or IORT.

They are interesting, but do not come without risk and I thought you should know about them.  This is likely to open up a can of worms, but here goes.


For women who do not need to undergo mastectomy, a lumpectomy is performed to remove a cancerous tumor.  Brachytherapy involves the insertion of either a series of tubes or a catheter attached to a small balloon into the breast.

A radioactive source is then delivered to the surgical site, where it can kill off any remaining cancer cells within about 1 cm.  After five days of treatment, the tubes or catheter can be removed.  This allows doctors to irradiate the breast “from the inside out,” unlike the traditional method of applying radiation to the entire breast with an external beam.

Intra-Operative Radiation Therapy (IORT)

Intraoperative radiation therapy (IORT) is an intensive radiation treatment that is administered during surgery.  IORT is used to treat cancers that are difficult to remove during surgery and there remains a concern that microscopic amounts of cancer may still be in situ.  IORT allows direct radiation to the target area while sparing normal surrounding tissue.

According to the Mayo Clinic website: “IORT allows higher effective doses of radiation to be used compared to conventional radiation therapy. It’s not always possible to use very high doses during conventional radiation therapy, since sensitive organs could be nearby. IORT also allows doctors to temporarily move nearby organs or shield them from radiation exposure.”

They both sound good, right?  Read on.

The Problem Is…

In theory, these two therapies seem like a good idea because doctors can basically deliver the whole radiation treatment at the time of surgery or just after, rather than requiring the patient to go back daily for 6-7 weeks.

The problem is that these two therapies still need extensive studies to be done to ensure their effectiveness!  There is a complete lack of randomized trial data comparing the effectiveness of either of these therapies with standard whole-breast irradiation.

Randomized trials can take years, however, and how these treatments have managed to be put forward and offered without those trials is mind-boggling to me.  There is one such trial underway sponsored by the National Cancer Institute, but it will be years before the results are known.

An Interesting Research Study

In the meantime, a group of researchers from the University of Texas, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston and the University of Chicago decided to compare women who had already selected one option or the other to see how they were faring.  They called it a retrospective population-based cohort study, which is not the “gold standard” of research studies, that being the randomized controlled study.  But it was useful information anyway and the results of their research was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) and you can access that study here.

The research team used data compiled by Medicare, and they had a large patient population – 92,735 women treated for breast cancer between 2003 and 2007. The average age for these women was nearly 75, and they were tracked for an average of about 3 years following their radiation therapy.

One interesting thing is that the research showed very clearly the growing appeal of brachytherapy.  In 2003, only 3.5% of women on Medicare chose this treatment, but by 2007 that figure had risen to 12.5%.

Here are the results.  In the 5 years after receiving brachytherapy, 3.95% of these women went on to need a mastectomy, compared with only 2.18% of women who chose whole breast radiation. After controlling for various demographic and other factors, the researchers still found that women who had brachytherapy were 2.19 times more likely to have their breast removed.

Overall, the researchers calculated that “for every 56 women treated with breast brachytherapy, 1 woman was harmed with unnecessary mastectomy.”

There were also more post-operative complications for these women, including infections. In the first year after their lumpectomy, 28% of women in the brachytherapy group had a complication, compared with 17% of women who had their whole breast radiated.

There were also more complications from radiation. In the five years after their treatments began, 25% of women who got brachytherapy reported some sort of complication, versus 19% of women who got whole breast irradiation. These complications included breast pain, fat necrosis and rib fracture, according to the study.

It really isn’t too surprising.  It’s radioactive material that is being inserted into the body, after all.

The good news is that most women survived their breast cancer no matter which type of radiation treatment they chose – 86-87% were still alive after 5 years.

My own personal opinion is that it’s all about quality of life.  Give yourself the best chance you can to survive and enjoy your life.  For me, that choice did not include radioactive material being inserted into me or blasted onto me from above.  Here’s what I did instead.

 If you’d like to stay connected, sign up for my free e-newsletters on the right, or “like” me on Facebook ( and I’ll do my utmost to keep you informed and empowered on your healing journey… and beyond.

Don’t Be Worried About Breast Size and Cancer Risk

Photo courtesy of and F Fokkelman
Photo courtesy of and F Fokkelman

The Huffington Post released a news story on July 5, 2012 titled Breast Cancer Risk Might Be Tied To Breast Size, Study Says.

The article (which you can read by clinking the link above) basically tells us that researchers at a commercial DNA testing service say they have found a handful of genes that help determine whether a woman spends her life as an A cup or a D AND that those genes might be tied to a woman’s risk of breast cancer.

Might being the operative word here.

Are we going to worry about this?  Are we going to spend one iota of our time being concerned?  NO, WE ARE NOT.

If you are, go back to my post of a couple days ago about The Biology of Belief.  Watch the one-hour video by Dr Bruce Lipton.  I will say it again – OUR GENES ARE NOT OUR DESTINY.

Here’s What We Do Need To Concern Ourselves With

In order to keep ourselves healthy, there are several things we definitely need to do.  As the article mentions (and I do agree with this), obesity is a risk factor for breast cancer, particularly after menopause.  So we need to keep our weight down.

We also need to build rock-solid immune systems so that disease can’t get a foot in the door.  If you need to know how to do this, contact me.

Studies have also suggested that women with dense breasts are up to 5 times more likely to develop breast cancer, but nobody seems to know why.  I don’t worry about that either.  I use certain essential oils to help keep myself healthy.  See my page Essential Oils For Overall Health and Specific Health Problems.

For more information, sign up for my newsletters and download my two free e-books that will (a) help you get through breast cancer if you are going through it, or (b) help you to reduce your risk of breast cancer.

By the way, while I was doing research for this article, I discovered that people are obsessed with breast size (no surprise there).  Apparently there were 1,300 worldwide Google searches on Angelina Jolie’s breast size.  Really?  People need to find something better to do with their time!  Just sayin’…

If you’d like to stay connected, sign up for my free e-newsletters on the right, or “like” me on Facebook ( and I’ll do my utmost to keep you informed and empowered on your healing journey… and beyond.

Member No 267494
Member No 267494

Got Chemobrain? These Essential Oils Will Help!

Got Chemobrain?  These Essential Oils Will Help!

When I was going through chemotherapy, all of the people in my cancer support group who were also undergoing chemo were complaining about chemobrain – and it was clear that they were forgetful, vague, preoccupied, and befuddled!

While I had it to a certain degree, for me it was much more manageable and manifested itself as a slightly sort of foggy or vague feeling.

Finally someone asked me why I seemed to be doing so much better than the others and I confessed I really didn’t know.  And then it hit me several days later while I was in the bathroom applying my essential oils.  Of course, it was the essential oils that I use daily, and I knew that no one else in my support group was doing that.

Certain essential oils have the ability to cross the blood-brain barrier, which is a naturally occurring barrier in your brain created by brain blood vessels that prevents many substances from leaving the blood and crossing the capillary walls into the brain tissues.  It’s a defensive mechanism designed to protect your brain from harmful chemicals.

I’ve used essential oils as my “first aid kit” for over 13 years.  See my page Essential Oils For Overall Health And Specific Health Problems.  I continue to use them to this day.

Here are my favorites for battling the effects of chemobrain:

1.  Frankincense – used in religious ceremonies for thousands of years, frankincense has wonderful medicinal properties – it has potent anti-disease properties, it is an immune stimulant, good for respiratory infections, it helps promote meditation, improves attitude and uplifts spirits.

frankincense Frankincense resin

2.  Sandalwood – it grows in India, it has been used for centuries in Ayurvedic medicine for skin revitalization, meditation and yoga.  It also has potent anti-disease properties, it enhances sleep, stimulates the pineal gland in the brain which is the center of emotions and is responsible for melatonin production.  Sandalwood was mentioned in Dioscorides’ De Materia Medica (A.D. 78), which was Europe’s first medical guide and became the standard reference for herbal treatments for over 1700 years.

sandalwood Sandalwood log

3.  Palo Santo – found in South America, used by the Incas to purify and cleanse, to repel mosquitoes, for fevers, infections and skin diseases.  Its name means holy or sacred wood.  It is one of my favorite oils.  It also has anti-disease properties, good for arthritis, respiratory problems and breathing it deeply opens your brain!

palo santo tree Palo Santo Tree

4.  Peppermint – this is especially good for digestion.  I used it when going through chemotherapy because it helped ease excess stomach acid.  Put a drop of peppermint oil in a glass of water – it will not only wake up your brain, it will relieve the icky tummy that chemo causes.  It also improves your sense of taste by stimulating the trigeminal nerve.

NA003490 Peppermint

5.  Lavender – calming, relaxing, balancing, lavender is another anti-disease oil, it helps with respiratory infections, it’s an anti-inflammatory, great for mosquito bites, burns, skin conditions, so many things.  University of Miami researchers found that inhaling lavender oil increased beta waves in the brain – the beta waves are what come out to play when you are in an ultra-relaxed state such as meditation or sleep.  I love deep breathing lavender – it has such a profound effect on the nervous system.

lavender2 Lavender fields

Regular use of essential oils – whether it be through inhalation, diffusing, bathing, or massaging them into your body promotes health in so many ways.  Battling chemobrain is one of many uses for essential oils.  Just beware of the source because not all oils are created equally.  Use a a medicinal grade essential oil! For more info, see my page: Essential Oils for Overall Health and Specific Health Problems.

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Member No 267494

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21 Ways To Heal Yourself With Essential Oils


21 Ways To Heal Yourself With Essential Oils
Photo courtesy of and Rawich

21 Ways to Heal Yourself With Essential Oils

Anyone who knows me is aware of the fact that I use essential oils daily.  I smell fragrant from the oils – every single day.

There’s a good reason for that!  (By the way, people are always asking me “Have you just had a massage?” or “You smell incredible! What is that?”)

Therapeutic grade essential oils are good for so many things – the following list is only scratching the surface (but I had to start somewhere!)

 21 Health Benefits of Using Therapeutic Grade Essential Oils

  1. They support immune function – Some of the constituents in essential oils mimic human immunoglobulin (an antibody the body uses to identify and neutralize foreign objects such as bacteria and viruses), elevate lymphocytes (white blood cells needed for your immune response) and stimulate our natural immune system – grapefruit, German chamomile, clove, mountain savory, lemon, also the blends Immupower and Thieves.
  2. They affect your emotional well-being – Therapeutic oils can trigger psychological and physiological responses, lifting your mood, aiding in reducing depression, and calming anxiousness – use lavender, orange, rose, jasmine, also the blends Peace & Calming, Believe, and Joy.
  3. They supply potent anti-microbials – Research has found that therapeutic oils are highly effective against bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites, and even the “superbug” (Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus or MRSA). Bacteria cannot mutate in the presence of therapeutic oils – cinnamon, melaleuca, geranium, clove, melissa, eucalyptus, rosemary, and the blends Melrose and Thieves.
  4. They ease stress and anxiety – Too much stress, anxiety and tension are the physiological responses to our thoughts and beliefs and trigger unresolved emotions.  Most chronic illness and disease begins with stress and tension.  Therapeutic oils are known to soothe, bring peaceful thoughts, quiet the nervous system and calm the body/mind – lavender, ylang ylang, frankincense, sandalwood, and the blends Highest Potential, Hope, Release, and Valor.
  5. They help you sleep – Research shows that lavender reduces insomnia, helps you to relax and decreases anxiety.  Let me just say, though, that the lavender you use must be therapeutic-grade Lavandula angustifolia (I only have one trusted source).  The other oils known to promote sleep are valerian, Roman chamomile, frankincense, marjoram, clary sage, cistus, and the blends Peace & Calming, Citrus Fresh and  Progessence Plus (my particular favorite).
  6. They reduce inflammation – Inflammation can be caused by bacteria, a poor diet, injuries, an overload of toxins, and hormonal imbalances and is at the root of most degenerative diseases!  Try Idaho balsam fir, ocotea, peppermint, wintergreen, spruce, and the blend PanAway.
  7. They help you concentrate and study, support brain health – Certain oils increase alertness and your ability to memorize – peppermint (try this when you have driving fatigue!), basil, and the blends Brain Power and Clarity.  They also support the health of your brain by stimulating the cerebral cortex, thereby reducing your chances of getting Alzheimer’s or dementia – use frankincense, vetiver, sandalwood, patchouli, myrrh, cedarwood, helichrysum, nutmeg,  peppermint, rosemary, and the blends Clarity, Valor and Brain Power.
  8. They provide natural pain relief – Massage therapeutic oils into sore, tired muscles, use with a warm compress (oils first and then warm compress) – use Idaho balsam fir, black pepper, peppermint, ginger, wintergreen, and the blends PanAway, Aroma Siez.
  9. They soothe burns, sunburns, scrapes & cuts – Lavender is so incredible at healing burns!  Therapeutic oils are antiseptic and cleansing and can be very effective in healing, much better than antibiotic creams or gels.  Use lavender, geranium, melaleuca, eucalyptus radiata, and the blend Melrose.
  10. They are marvelous for your skin – Essential oils have been used for centuries to restore, rejuvenate, and improve damaged, wrinkled skin.  You can also use them to clear acne, clogged pores, eczema, dark spots, and stretch marks!  Try lavender, Roman chamomile, German chamomile, geranium, sandalwood, Idaho tansy, melaleuca, patchouli, frankincense, myrrh, myrtle, helichrysum.
  11. They protect against colds and flu  – Therapeutic oils have potent antimicrobial actions and protect against colds, flu, and aid respiratory tissues. Inhale oils, diffuse them, put in empty capsules and take internally – lemon, eucalyptus, peppermint, rosemary, frankincense, Dorado azul, ravensara and the blends RC, Raven, Purification and Melrose.
  12. They assist hormonal function – Your endocrine system includes 9 glands that interconnect with organs using hormones (chemical messengers) to maintain balance and metabolism.  Stress and imbalance in the endocrine system is at the root of many degenerative diseases.  Best oils – clary sage, fennel, spikenard, nutmeg, myrrh, pine, Idaho balsam fir, the blend EndoFlex and Progessence Plus.
  13. They soothe digestive disturbances  – Therapeutic oils are very effective relief for nausea, indigestion, heartburn, gas, diarrhea, irritable bowel. Rub on abdominal area; take internally in water or empty capsules – best ones are peppermint, ginger, fennel, patchouli, Roman chamomile, and the blend DiGize.
  14. They support muscles and bones – Muscles and joints become stiff and painful when overworked, stressed or burdened with toxins. Apply oils to these areas to relieve pain and inflammation – peppermint, wintergreen, basil, and the blends Relieve It, Aroma Siez, and Pan Away.
  15. They improve circulation – Therapeutic essential oils oxygenate and cleanse your cells and this assists you to have healthier blood which carries more oxygen and a healthier vascular system – use cypress, German chamomile, helichrysum, grapefruit, ylang ylang, spikenard, and the blend Aroma Life.
  16. They support the urinary system – Essential oils have been used for nearly a century for aiding kidney, bladder and urinary infections.  Rub oils over the kidney area; take internally in water or empty capsules – grapefruit, lemon, geranium, juniper, mountain savory, clove, oregano, melaleuca alternifolia, and the blend Thieves.
  17. They support your liver – Since your liver is one of your major detoxifying organs, it’s important to help it detox on a regular basis.  A good liver support recipe: use  2 drops German chamomile, 3 drops celery seed oil, 10 drops orange and 5 drops rosemary.  You can apply 1-3 drops of the oil over the liver twice a day, you can massage 2-4 drops of oil neat on the soles of your feet just before bedtime, you can place a warm compress with 1-2 drops of oil over the liver 1-2 times per day.  Quite often, I put a drop of lemon oil or orange oil in a glass of juice or water.
  18. They improve oral and dental health – Bacteria in the mouth can cause disease in other parts of the body, including the heart.  Therapeutic essential oils in oral care products kill microbes associated with tooth decay, gum disease, systemic infections and unpleasant mouth odor – cinnamon, clove, melaleuca alternifolia, peppermint, and the blend Thieves (also available in toothpaste and mouthwash).
  19. They strengthen and nourish hair – Essential oils make wonderful hair care ingredients that rejuvenate hair, encourage hair growth, and cleanse hair follicles.   The personal care products I recommend do not contain harmful toxic ingredients (like dimethicone, sodium lauryl sulphate, propylene glycol) because these are petrochemicals that are stored in fatty tissue of the heart, liver, lungs, breast and brain.   Use lavender, sandalwood, rosemary, ylang ylang, lemon, sage, cedarwood (also available in shampoo and conditioner).
  20. They help you fight against disease –  Lots of research has been done that indicate therapeutic essential oils can help you combat disease.  Look how many articles there are about frankincense on the websiteSee also my page about overall health.
  21. They provide safe, natural alternatives to toxic household cleaners – Research points to common household cleaners as a suspected link to the 55% increase in certain types of disease (specifically for women who work only in the home).  Essential oils are powerful yet safe antibacterial and antimicrobial agents, making them a fantastic, safe choice as cleaners and disinfectants – use clove, lemon, cinnamon bark, eucalyptus, rosemary, melaleuca alternifolia, grapefruit (also try Thieves Household Cleaner, it works wonders).

I’m pretty particular about the essential oils I use – there’s only one maker that creates the therapeutic oils I love and trust and use every single day.  Here’s where you can get them.

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Member No 267494
Member No 267494