|Flowers of the Boswellia sacra tree|
As one of the highly sought after oils, frankincense is used in many Christian and Islamic faiths mixed with oils to anoint newborn infants, initiates, and members entering into new phases of their spiritual lives.
Frankincense, (also called olibanum), is an aromatic resin used in incense and perfumes. It is obtained from four species of the Boswellia. The English word is derived from Old French "franc encens" (high quality incense). Resin from each of the four species is available in various grades, which are dependent on the time of harvesting.
The essential oil of frankincense is produced by steam distillation of the tree resin. It has a balsamic sweet fragrance, while the Indian frankincense oil has a very fresh smell.
Frankincense is mentioned in the Bible as one of the three types of gifts the wise men gave to baby Jesus of Nazareth. Exodus 30:34-36 - Then the Lord said to Moses, “Take fragrant spices—gum resin, onycha and galbanum—and pure frankincense, all in equal amounts, and make a fragrant blend of incense, the work of a perfumer. It is to be salted and pure and sacred. Grind some of it to powder and place it in front of the ark of the covenant law in the tent of meeting, where I will meet with you. It shall be most holy to you.
The lost city of Ubar (sometimes identified with Irem), rediscovered in the early 1990s, is believed to have been a center of the frankincense trade along the recently rediscovered "Incense Road".
|Frankincense olibanum resin|
Recent studies have indicated that frankincense tree populations are declining, partly due to over-exploitation. In addition, burning, grazing, and attacks by the longhorn beetle have reduced the tree population. Conversion (clearing) of frankincense woodlands to agriculture is also a major threat.
Frankincense essential oil is obtained by steam distillation of the dry resin and is characterized by a balsamic-spicy, slightly lemon, fragrance, with a conifer-like undertone. It is used in perfumes, aromatherapy, and as an ingredient in some skincare products.
Frankincense resin is edible and is used in traditional medicines for digestion and healthy skin. For internal consumption, it is recommended that frankincense be translucent, with no black or brown impurities. It is often light yellow with a (very) slight greenish tint. It is often chewed like gum, but it is stickier.
In Ayurvedic medicine frankincense, commonly referred to in India as dhoop, has been used for hundreds of years for treating arthritis, healing wounds, strengthening the female hormone system and purifying the air. In Somali, Ethiopian, Arabian, and Indian cultures, it is suggested that burning frankincense daily in the house brings good health. Frankincense oil can also be used for relief from stings such as scorpion stings.
The health benefits of frankincense oil are attributed to its anti-inflammatory, astringent, antiseptic, carminative, disinfectant, digestive, diuretic, and expectorant (loosening mucus from the lungs) properties.
Frankincense oil blends well with carrier oils such as basil, jojoba, sweet almond, avocado, patchouli, rosemary, sage, and any of the citrus oils.
Massage Oil/Cream (for every-day use) - Heat equivalent amounts of coconut oil and lanolin, gradually adding warm rose water. Beat the mixture thoroughly, and add a tablespoon of frankincense to create an invigorating massage cream.
Chest Rub - Heat 1 ounce olive oil in a small sauce pan. When the olive oil is warm, add 2 teaspoons of beeswax pellets, stirring until melted. Add 4-5 drops of frankincense oil, blending completely. Pour the mix in a tiny jar and allowed to cool just before putting the lid on and store at room temperature. Add vitamin E oil to the mixture for longer shelf life.
Toner - Frankincense oil can be added to water and used as a toner or refresher. The oil will float on top, shake well before using it.
Liniment – Combine 1/2 cup coconut oil, 2 teaspoons beeswax pellets, 5 drops frankincense oil, and 5 drops of a citrus oil. Melt the coconut oil and beeswax together in a small saucepan on the stove for 1-2 minutes, turn the burner off (can be heated in microwave, or a double boiler). Add the coconut oil and beeswax. Stir until melted. Allow the mixture to cool for a few minutes, add frankincense oil.
Put in a container and allow to cool completely. When it is completely cooled it will be a solid (but when applied to warm skin it will liquefy again). Makes it perfect for massaging onto sore muscles and joints. Keep in the fridge for a longer shelf life. Also, adding vitamin E oil to the mixture helps to preserve it.
Bath Soak - Add 3-5 drops of frankincense oil towards hot running water. Soak sore muscles and aching joints. It will also open respiratory cavities to assist in cold and flu relief.
FRANKINCENSE OIL USES
Acne, Fine Lines and Wrinkles - Frankincense oil is an alternative solution to chemical based products, for skin problems such as acne, stretch marks, and reversing the signs of aging skin, promoting healthy cell regeneration. When used on a regular basis, your skin is healthier and mild acne will fade away. Frankincense oil is rich in natural healing properties helping to prevent cell oxidation and keeping oils in the skin naturally balanced, while decreasing skin inflammation.
Anxiety & Depression – As an inhalant frankincense oil in a vaporizer or nebulizer (also can add to shirt collar, or massage behind the ears) is very effective as a sedative that induces relaxation to assist in relieving anxiety and stress, giving one a feeling of comfort and peace.
Arthritis & Rheumatism - Frankincense oil helps to prevent cartilage tissue breaking down, inhibiting inflammation. Mix with a carrier oil and apply topically to the affected area(s).
Cancer - Frankincense oil offers a natural solution to fighting infection and curing diseases. Researchers have discovered cancer-killing properties of frankincense oil and its ability to target cancer cells in late-stage ovarian cancer. Frankincense oil contains various active agents, which support the immune system, making it highly beneficial in destroying cancer cells.
Frankincense is also a potential treatment for other cancers such as prostate, colon, brain, beast, pancreatic, and stomach cancers.
To be effective, use 100% pure therapeutic grade quality essential oils.
Cold & Flu - Frankincense oil breaks up phlegm and can relieve bronchitis-related congestion. Use frankincense oil in a diffuser or nebulizer to treat colds and respiratory blockages. You can also inhale the scent by adding a drop or two onto a cloth, or add to bathwater, or applied as a chest-rub.
Cuts - Use frankincense oil to prevent infection by diluting (using distilled water and 4-5 drops of frankincense oil) and applying to the affected area, to stop bleeding and speed up healing (also for insect bites and boils).
Digestion - Frankincense oil acts as a stimulant to speed up gastric juices, acids, and bile, allowing food to pass properly through the intestines.
Hair Growth - Frankincense oil is wonderful for the hair as well, fortifying roots and combatting dandruff or dry scalp. When combined with various other essential oils, frankincense oil can boost hair growth, relax the mind and reduce stress. Massaging frankincense oil, heated with coconut oil, assists in strengthening weak roots as well as encouraging hair growth.
Menstruation - Frankincense oil can be used to regulate the menstrual cycle of premenopausal women and regulate estrogen, reducing the risk of uterine cancer.
Oral - Frankincense has antiseptic qualities that can help strengthen gums, prevent bad breath, cavities, toothaches, mouth sores, and other infections.
Frankincense oil is generally safe and said to have few side effects when used properly. In some rare cases, frankincense oil may cause skin rashes, nausea, and stomach pain. To prevent undesirable health results, one should seek a doctor’s or natural holistic practitioner's advice before orally taking any type of essential oil.
Before ingesting edible frankincense oil, it should be diluted with coconut oil, a teaspoon of honey, or a glass of water. A drop or two can also be placed under the tongue.
Performing a skin test before use is recommended. Put a drop of frankincense oil on a small portion of your skin and wait 24 hours. If any sign of skin irritation occurs, discontinue use.
As with other essential oils, frankincense oil should not be taken by individuals with a history of bleeding disorders (may increase the risk of abnormal bleeding), during pregnancy (may cause bleeding), and children under the age of six.