Essential Oil Research – Benefits Of Clove

Image Source: / artur84

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. 

The Best Diet For Triple Negative Breast Cancer

Image Source: / Rakratchada Torsap

Image Source: / Rakratchada Torsap

The Best Diet For Triple Negative Breast Cancer

As a follow-up to last week’s article The Best Diet For Hormone Receptor Positive Breast Cancers, this one is all about the best food for someone who has or is healing from triple negative breast cancer.

Doctors often tell us that triple negative breast cancer is harder to overcome because the usual hormonal therapies don’t work for this form of breast cancer. Don’t let that worry you though – there are plenty of things you can eat and supplements you can take which will greatly help your return to wellness.

What Does Triple Negative Breast Cancer Mean?

If the term “triple negative” is unfamiliar to you, it refers to the fact that this type of breast cancer has no hormone receptors on the surface of the cells, meaning it is not fueled by hormones. It is estrogen receptor negative (ER-), progesterone receptor negative (PR-), and it does not overexpress HER2, three of the things your pathologist will be looking for when a tumor has been removed and is examined to see what therapies should be recommended. It is often referred to as “TNBC”.

Does Food Actually Make A Difference?

Yes it does.  A recent small study done on 354 women with TNBC found “that dietary modulations and/or micronutrient supplementations may prevent or reverse TNBC phenotype, so tumors can be treated with less toxic therapeutic strategies, particularly in genetically susceptible women.” 1

In another study reported in 2013, scientists found that “omega-3 and its metabolites undermine proliferation in all cell lines. However, they were dramatically more effective in inhibiting proliferation in the triple-negative cell lines.” 2

Blueberries have specifically been researched for their effects on TNBC at the City of Hope cancer center in California, check out my article:  Interesting City of Hope Research On Blueberries And Triple Negative Breast Cancer .

Another article you might find interesting, written by Jennifer Griffin, sharing her story of how she beat TNBC:  How I Kicked Triple Negative Breast Cancer .

Food That You Should Include In Your Diet If You Have Triple Negative Breast Cancer

Wherever possible, try to ensure that the items from the list below are organic, because if you are trying to heal from cancer you need to stay away from conventionally grown produce and meats as much as possible due to the pesticide and herbicide residues. You really need to keep the toxin load at a minimum to give your body a better chance to heal.  If you are unable to obtain organically grown produce, just make sure to wash – wash – wash it extremely well.  Soak produce in a tub or pail of fresh water with a little white vinegar for a few minutes, then rinse well.

Here’s the list:

Apples, arugula, bell peppers, black pepper, blackberries, blueberries, bok choy, blackcurrants, boysenberries, broccoli, brown rice, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, cherries (both sweet and sour), coconut oil, collard greens, cranberries (not the sugared dried ones), cucumbers, flaxseed (freshly ground is best), garlic, ginger, grapes (red are best), green tea, hemp, herring, honey (minimally processed), horseradish, hot peppers, kale, lake trout, leeks, lettuce – romaine, mackerel, mangoes, mustard & mustard greens, omega-3 fats, onions, parsley, peas, pomegranate juice, pumpkin, raspberries, reishi mushrooms, saffron, salmon (wild), sardines, seaweed, spinach, squash, tomatoes, turmeric, tuna, turnips, turnip greens, walnuts, watercress, watermelon, zucchini.

One more thing you might find helpful – the supplement MSM has been found to be useful for TNBC.  See my article:  South Korean Study On MSM Indicates Potent Anti-Breast Cancer Activity (the research  specifically mentions TNBC).

There are also quite a number of essential oils that research has indicated are helpful as well, if you would like to know more about which ones to use, contact me.

For information on the food that should be avoided, as well as a list of supplements and nutrients that support a healthy body and should be included in your health regime, see my page Diet and Cancer.

A big thank you for part of the food list goes out to – written by Sarah Charles, herself a breast cancer survivor, and a woman of sharp intellect, Sarah has a mathematics degree from UCLA and is a Harvard graduate.


1. Combined genetic and nutritional risk models of triple negative breast cancer:

2. Omega-3 Fatty Acids Slow Triple-Negative Breast Cancer Cell Proliferation:

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.

The Latest On Breast Cancer Stem Cells


Photo courtesy of Photokanok /

Photo courtesy of Photokanok /

The Latest On Breast Cancer Stem Cells

So what are breast cancer stem cells?

They are a specific group of stem cells, which are undifferentiated biological cells capable of creating more cells of the same type, ad infinitum, and from which certain other kinds of cells arise by differentiation.

Breast cancer stem cells were first discovered in 2003 by scientists at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center. UM scientists found that just a few breast cancer stem cells were responsible for the growth and spread of breast cancer.  They also found that unless the cancer stem cells could be destroyed, a tumor would be more likely to return and spread malignant cells to other parts of the body, a process called metastasis.

Conventional Therapies For Advanced Breast Cancer Targets The Wrong Cells

Because cancer stem cells are resistant to traditional chemotherapy and radiation, new treatments are needed that can be targeted directly at these stem cells, thus the ongoing research.  UM scientists believe that conventional therapies for advanced breast cancer have limited effectiveness because they are targeting the wrong cells. These therapies were designed to shrink cancers by killing all the rapidly growing cells in a tumor.  The scientists at UM believe that therapies could be more effective and cause fewer side effects if they were aimed specifically at cancer stem cells.  Here is a short 36-second video with Dr Max Wicha from UM explaining a little about breast cancer stem cells.  There are other, longer videos available on You Tube to view should you wish to know more.

In this study: Cancer Stem Cell Markers Are Enriched In Normal Tissue Adjacent To Triple Negative Breast Cancer And Inversely Correlated With DNA Repair Deficiency, published in September 2013, researchers discovered that women with triple-negative breast cancer have more stem cells present in their normal breast tissue than women with other types of cancer.  The scientists felt that “the presence of stem cells may be an important predictive marker for the risk of developing triple-negative breast cancer.”  They stated further studies are needed to determine a causal relationship between stem cells and the breast cancer incidence.

Additionally, the study that I linked to above noted that a small percentage of women with triple-negative breast cancer also had faulty DNA-repair pathways, and put that figure at about one in 9 of women with TNBC.

So What Do We Do With This Information?

First of all, don’t worry about it.  I have only written about this because a few of my readers have asked about breast cancer stem cells. 

If you follow the advice I give in my Diet and Cancer page, you will be well-protected.  Specifically, see my entries about breast cancer stem cells in “broccoli” and “turmeric”.  Keep a strong immune system (for more advice about that see my page 8 Ways To Build A Super Strong Immune System), keep your stress levels down (Yes, take that vacation!  You need it!) and follow my advice in my newsletters and e-books.  If you are doing all these things, you are miles ahead.


I send my love to everyone taking this journey right now. 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, and/or “like” me on Facebook ( and I’ll do my utmost to keep you informed and empowered on your healing journey… and beyond. 

South Korean Study on MSM Indicates Potent Anti-Breast Cancer Activity


Photo courtesy of and Renjith Krishnan

Photo courtesy of and Renjith Krishnan

South Korean Study on MSM Indicates Potent Anti-Breast Cancer Activity

Recently one of my newsletter subscribers asked me about MSM – or methylsulfonylmethane – which is an organic, sulfur-containing, natural compound found in many foods.  She was wondering whether it had any value as an anti-breast cancer supplement and while I hadn’t heard of it specifically being used for breast cancer, I knew it had many healing properties so I did some digging and found a relatively new (April 2012) research study done in South Korea which showed some surprising and inspiring results.

The study, Methylsulfonylmethane Suppresses Breast Cancer Growth by Down-Regulating STAT3 and STAT5b Pathways appears on the Public Library of Science website and its authors are Lim E, Hong D, Park J, Joung Y, Darvin P, Kim S, Na Y, Hwang T, Ye S, Moon E, Cho B, Do Park K, Lee H, Park T, Yang Y (2012). 

If you don’t wish to read the entire study, make sure you read the Abstract (in the first paragraph – link above).  MSM decreased the viability of ALL types of breast cancer, including triple negative breast cancer cells, which is (according to some oncologists) a difficult-to-treat form of breast cancer because it does not respond to hormonal therapies.  This does not mean that it can’t be treated, however!

MSM Shown To Decrease Viability of Human Breast Cancer Cells

The scientists involved in the study were able to demonstrate that MSM substantially decreased the viability of human breast cancer cells in a dose-dependent manner – the higher the dose, the more benefits – and it did this in just 30 days.

So why is there no celebrating being done via news articles and press releases?  Probably because MSM is easily attainable and no drug companies are going to benefit hugely from this information.  It’s left up to health advocates to unbury the information and share it with you.

Sulfur’s Importance In The Body

Sulfur is the most abundant mineral in the human body, it comprises more than one quarter of a person’s body weight, but interestingly, it is not stored in the body.  You have to get it through your diet. 

Sulfur belongs in the same chemical family as oxygen, it is a powerful antioxidant and detoxifier, it binds and assists in the removal of heavy metals from the body, among many other important functions.  Half of the sulfur in your body is found in skin, muscles, and bones and it is a super-important component of joint cartilage and keratin (found in hair and skin).

Sulfur is found in raw milk (not pasteurized milk), meat, fish, fruits, vegetables (the best source being garlic and onions) and grains.  People who eat a lot of processed foods do not have sufficient quantities of sulfur in their diet – processed foods are notoriously deficient.  So you can understand that a deficiency of sulfur could lead to a range of degenerative diseases. Will you get enough MSM through the diet to help treat breast cancer?  Most likely not. 

Daily dosing for breast cancer, approximated from the study, could be from 2,000 mg to 10,000 mg, but human studies are needed to determine optimal dosing.

MSM is known to have anti-inflammatory properties and if you know anything about cancer, you know that inflammation is involved in the process.  MSM is easily obtainable in health food stores.  If you aren’t sure whether or not you need it, or  how much to take, please see a naturopath.

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!

New Class of Breast Cancer Drugs: PARP Inhibitors

New Class of Breast Cancer Drugs PARP Inhibitors

Photo courtesy of and jscreationzs

I’ve been reading a lot lately about a new class of drugs called PARP inhibitors, particularly from the City of Hope, one of the cancer centers I like to follow because they are doing such interesting research on treatments for cancer, both pharmaceutical and natural.

PARP Inhibitors – What They Are

Here is the whole skinny (well, at least what I was able to find and make sense of) on PARP Inhibitors.

PARP stands for “poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase”.  PARP is an enzyme that researchers say is over-expressed in a variety of cancers, and its expression has been associated with overall prognosis in cancer, especially breast cancer.

PARP is important for repairing single-strand breaks in DNA, termed “nicks”.  If the nicks in the DNA are not repaired, then when the cells divide and replicate themselves the new cells can cause double-strand breaks to form.

Drugs which inhibit PARP1 cause multiple double-strand breaks to form.  The reason that this is a good thing is because in tumors with BRCA1, BRCA2 or PALB2 mutations, the double-strand breaks cannot be efficiently repaired and that leads to the death of those cells.  Research is showing that cancer cells that are low in oxygen (which is the case in fast growing tumors) are sensitive to PARP inhibitors.

I wondered what that meant for normal cells – how they would be affected.  The research shows, however, that normal cells (which don’t duplicate their DNA as often as cancer cells) still have repair mechanisms operating and that allows them to survive the PARP inhibition.

PARP Inhibitors and Chemotherapy

Research is showing that by adding a PARP inhibitor to chemotherapy, the chances that the cancer cells will become resistant to the chemotherapy decrease. When cancer cells become resistant to chemotherapy, the chemotherapy is no longer able to fight the cancer cells.  By lowering the chances of resistance, a PARP inhibitor may increase the effectiveness of chemotherapy.

City of Hope Research

In September 2012, The City of Hope released an article titled Triple Negative Breast Cancer Treatment Gets a Boost.  The article explains a little about PARP inhibitors and states “Scientists think the drugs may work especially well in cancers with BRCA mutations or triple negative breast cancers”.  Triple negative breast cancer accounts for only 14-20% of breast cancers and is not driven by hormones like the bulk of breast tumors are.

Dr George Somlo, a researcher at the City of Hope in Duarte, CA, felt that this new class of drugs showed a lot of promise “because the drugs seem to be a little easier on healthy tissue, which helps reduce side effects, and they may make chemotherapy more effective“.

Good news!


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 (  It is my honor to help you through this.

Interesting City of Hope Research on Blueberries and Triple Negative Breast Cancer


Image Source: / Ambro

Searching around for hopeful things for breast cancer patients is one of my favorite things to do (call me crazy but I like to help) and today I found some interesting research from City of Hope, a cancer center in Duarte, California.

The research demonstrated that blueberries have the ability to control tumor growth, decrease metastasis and induce cell death in triple negative breast cancer (TNBC)

A Quick Explanation of Triple Negative Breast Cancer

Triple negative breast cancer is a particular subtype of breast cancer that lacks estrogen, progesterone and human epidermal growth factor 2 (HER2) receptors and because most breast cancer tumors do have at least one of these receptors, doctors are able to target them with specific therapies.

I have spoken to quite a few patients whose tumors were triple negative and many were more than a little anxious over their diagnosis particularly because there seems to be a lot of really negative information on the Internet about triple negative breast cancer – that it accounts for only about 15% of breast cancer and that it has a poorer prognosis compared to other subtypes with the receptors present. Thus, whenever I do find some positive research about TNBC, I like to share it.

Blueberries Are a Triple Threat

Dr Shiuan Chen, director of City of Hope’s Division of Tumor Cell Biology said “blueberries help fight triple-negative breast cancers by suppressing pathways critical to tumor development and migration.” 

The research has not been carried out on real, live people yet (they are still waiting for the results of that study) but they have used it on TNBC cell cultures and also on laboratory animals with great results.  The researchers discovered that the group that received the blueberries had a tumor weight that was 70% lighter, exhibited significantly lower proliferation rates, and higher apoptosis activity (apoptosis means programmed cell death) than the group not receiving the blueberries.  So they considered that to be a triple threat against TNBC.  I found a YouTube video where they discuss their findings – click here to view it.

Researchers estimated that in humans, a person weighing 130 lbs would need 4 oz daily to achieve the good effects that the studies exhibited.

Got TNBC?  Get those blueberries in ya!

I send my love to everyone taking this journey right now. 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 ( and I’ll do my utmost to keep you informed and empowered on your healing journey… and beyond.


Join Marnie's Breast Care Community

Enter your details below to receive my informative newsletter and I'll also send you a copy of my 2 eBooks as my gift to you!

Success! Go check your e-mail and confirm your email address so that I can send your gift.