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Phytomedicine. 2006 Jul;13(7):463-7. Epub 2005 Nov 2.

Antibacterial essential oils in malodorous cancer patients: clinical observations in 30 patients.

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Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, University of Kiel, Germany.


Malodorous necrotic ulcers in cancer patients are of major concern as it leads to social isolation and poor quality of life. Current medications and topical therapies have proven inadequate in their ability to reduce foul smell to acceptable levels. We report the positive experience we have had in using antibacterial essential oils in patients with incurable head and neck cancer and associated malodorous necrotic ulcers. All patients received a standard course of therapy with oral or systemic antibiosis. In addition, we rinsed the ulcers with an antibacterial essential oil mix (mainly based on Eucalyptus oil) twice a day. All patients experienced complete resolution of the foul smell by only the third or fourth day of therapy. As a secondary effect we saw that besides smell reduction the oils had anti-inflammatory effects on neoplastic ulcers. In some patients ulcers started to heal and achieved complete re-epithiliazation. The patients experienced great personal relief upon resolution of their malodorous conditions. Quality of life improved significantly with the resulting reintroduction of social contact with friends and relatives.

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