Straight from biblical times, drawn on the old temple walls of Egypt, frankincense is a 5000-old year favorite in natural remedies. And it’s not just about its earthy wood smell.
The bible speaks of how frankincense was given as one of the gifts to baby Jesus from the three wise men. Egyptian queens would let the fumes of frankincense resin to cleanse the air from impurities and germs. Early Africans would chew on Frankincense for oral health.
Frankincense is a resin derived from the tree “Boswellia carterii,” found in Somalia. Known as “dhoopan” in Ayurveda, frankincense has been used for centuries. It helps to calm vata and pitta doshas by releasing anxiety and nervousness. It is also been to known to give your mood a boost by clearing out excess kapha. But there’s more to it.
The Benefits Of Frankincense Essential Oils
Thanks to immense research, the use of frankincense oil has gained momentum. Here is why you need to add the essential oil in your medicine cabinet.
1. For Boosting Your Immunity
Our immune system is what gives us the power to ward off infections. It also deals with wound healing and keeping us healthy.
Frankincense oil contains a compound known as boswellic acids. This has been found to modify the immune system. A study done on mice reveals that frankincense helped improve T-cell interactions, boost immunglobins (aka antibodies), and slow downed hypersensitivity.1 The use of frankincense oil also aids in better absorption of nutrients. All great things for your immune system!
How to use it:
- For taking it internally, mix one drop of frankincense oil with a teaspoon of coconut oil. You could choose to go with a teaspoon of honey if you prefer. You could do this once or twice a week. For a perfect dosage recommendation, please check with your aromatherapist.
- Another option is to place one drop of frankincense oil under your tongue.2
2. For Treating Wounds
One research pointed out that frankincense has anti-infective properties.3 This means it will help in destroying germs and bacteria. This feature of frankincense oil makes it possible to speed up the healing process for cuts and minor wounds. This includes your razor burns as well!
How to use it:
- For wounds, rub a little lavender oil onto the area and follow it with a few drops of frankincense oil. Lavender oil is also known to speed up wound healing because it helps destroy bacteria.4
3. For Coping With Stress And Anxiety
Do you feel stressed out at the end of your day? Put your feet up and add a little frankincense oil to a diffuser. The oil is known to reduce anxiety because of its calming aromatherapeutic benefits. One study proves that it acts as a sedative, helping you to put your worries aside, and slides you into a peaceful mood.5
How to use it:
- One way to use is to simply apply frankincense oil onto the bottom of your feet.6
- You could add a few drops to your bath.7
4. For Treating Colds And Respiratory Issues
Frankincense oil can give you relief from a stuffy nose. Studies have proven that frankincense oil can cut down phlegm buildup and congestion in your nose and lungs.8 Thanks to their anti-inflammatory property, the oil helps to clear up the respiratory tract. It tackles other common problems associated with cold as well like headaches and fatigue. This makes it a great source of relief to people with allergies, asthma, and bronchitis.
How to use it:
- Add frankincense oil to a diffuser and keep it in your bedroom.
- For quick relief, squirt a few drops of the oil onto a cloth and inhale every few minutes.
5. For Squeaky Clean Oral Health
If you’re looking for a natural way to keep your oral health game strong, frankincense oil is the way to go. Owing to their antiseptic property, frankincense oil helps to keep your teeth and mouth in good health. It helps to prevent common oral issues like gingivitis, cavities, canker sores, and nasty breath.9 It’s no wonder early civilizations would chew frankincense resin to strengthen their teeth and stimulate gums.
- 2 drops of peppermint essential oil
- 1 drop of Frankincense essential oil
- A pinch of salt
- Add water as required. It should have the same consistency of an ordinary mouthwash.
Mix the ingredients together and gargle. You can do this once a week.
6. For A Happy And Healthy Uterus
Looking for a safe way to regulate your menstrual cycle? Frankincense oil can help you get there. Research has shown that frankincense can help regulate estrogen production and your menstrual cycle.10
Take a sigh of relief, ladies. Frankincense oil can also help you to deal with the pains of PMS, like abdomen cramps, mood swings, and fatigue. It also claims the oil can help reduce chances of uterine cyst or tumor formation in post-menstrual women.
How to use it:
- All you need to do is to add 2-3 drops of frankincense oil to 1ml of primrose oil.11 Massage the combined oil onto your abdominal area.
- Put two drops of frankincense essential oil and two drops of sandalwood oil over your abdomen. Massage the area gently for relief. Sandalwood is known to reduce pain from endometriosis, a condition in which the skin from the uterus grows out of the uterus.12
7. For Flawless Skin
The skin loves anything that can help tighten the pores and that will help in cell regeneration. Frankincense oil has proven to have both these properties.13 This make it a strong force against signs of aging, wrinkles, scars, and even acne. The use of frankincense oil in your skincare routine can help reduce spots and scars at a faster rate. You could also use it to fade away stretch marks. Regular use of the oil can bring out a youthful and radiant skin.
How to use it:
- You could add 2 drops of frankincense essential oil to your moisturizer.14
- Mix lavender oil with frankincense oil essential oil. You can apply this mixture on your skin after a shower and before you sleep.15
8. For Reducing Inflammation And Pain
Frankincense oil has been found to have anti-inflammatory properties.16 They have the potential to stop the production of inflammatory molecules that surround diseases like coeliac disease, hepatitis, asthma, inflammatory bowel disease, Crohn’s disease, and rheumatoid arthritis.
In the case of rheumatoid arthritis, there is a breakdown of cartilage. But the presence of Boswellic acid in frankincense oil can help prevent this.17 18Another advantage is that the oil helps to reduce pain that comes with such diseases.
How to use it:
- Add five drops of frankincense oil to a squirt of almond oil and apply it to your joints. Or you could apply a few drops of frankincense essential oil onto your palms and rub them. Almond oil is proven to be anti-inflammatory in nature.19
9. For Effortless Sleep
If you find yourself tossing and turning in bed for several nights, save yourself the wrestle, and place a diffuser in your bedroom. By diffusing frankincense oil into the air, it acts as a sedative.20 The fumes help your respiratory tract to relax and your mind begins to feel at ease. Other added benefits are its ability to keep insects at bay.
Also, centuries ago, it was believed that frankincense resin was used to ward off evil spirits. So, no more nightmares!
How to use it:
- Simply add frankincense oil to your diffuser and let it do its work.
10. For A Smooth Digestion
Research has proven that frankincense oil helps to speed up things in the digestive department. It helps to increase secretion of gastric juices which in turn helps a smoother movement of food to down under. One study claims the oil can reduce signs of leaky gut syndrome, ulcerative colitis, and chronic colitis.21 Thanks to the compound pentacyclic triterpenes from boswellic acid ( present in frankincense). The compound is proven to be anti-inflammatory in nature and reduces inflammation in such diseases.
How to use it:
- Add one drop of frankincense oil to 1 ml of sesame oil. Massage this mixture onto your abdomen to push out any feelings of flatulence and constipation. Sesame oil is known to improve circulation because of its high zinc content.22
11. Can It Help With Cancer?
There have been studies that reveal compounds in frankincense can help destroy stubborn cancer cells that chemotherapy couldn’t reach. One research gives credit to a compound known as AKBA (Acetyl-11-keto-beta-boswellic acid) present in frankincense that killed leftover cancer cells because they had got resistant to chemotherapy. Another reason could be since cancer was found to cause inflammation and frankincense is anti-inflammatory in nature, the oil could prove to be a helpful part of your cancer care plan.
There has been research that proves frankincense oil helps to kill bladder cancer cells.23 Not to mention breast cancer, stomach cancer, and pancreatic cancer.[24 Do keep in mind these studies were done in vitro.
How to use it:
Mix frankincense oil with raspberry seed oil, and tea tree oil. Massage the combined oil on your skin twice a day.25
A Word Of Caution
- For the case of any essential oil, do make sure to do a spot test to check for any sensitivity.
- There has been a lot of debate regarding if frankincense oil is safe for pregnancy or not. Since the oil is a known emenagogue, it would be wise for pregnant women to avoid it until further research.
- When buying frankincense oil, make sure to look for something 100% pure and organic. For a safer bet, try to purchase a bottle from a qualified aromatherapist.
- You would need a carrier oil when using frankincense oil. The reason being frankincense might be a little harsh to take orally or directly on your skin.
- Carrier oils that work well with frankincense oil are coconut oil, jojoba oil, lavender oil, and almond oil.
- Lastly, when taking frankincense oil internally or applying it on the skin, please consult your neighbourhood aromatherapist for a proper dosage.
References [ + ]
|1.||↑||Khajuria, Anamika, Amit Gupta, Pankaj Suden, Surjeet Singh, Fayaz Malik, Jaswant Singh, B. D. Gupta et al. “Immunomodulatory activity of biopolymeric fraction BOS 2000 from Boswellia serrata.” Phytotherapy research 22, no. 3 (2008): 340-348.|
|2.||↑||Snyder, Mariza. Smart Mom’s Guide to Essential Oils: Natural Solutions for a Healthy Family, Toxin-Free Home and Happier You. Ulysses Press, 2017|
|3, 13.||↑||Van Vuuren, S. F., G. P. P. Kamatou, and A. M. Viljoen. “Volatile composition and antimicrobial activity of twenty commercial frankincense essential oil samples.” South African Journal of Botany 76, no. 4 (2010): 686-691.|
|4, 11.||↑||Lodhia, M. H., K. R. Bhatt, and V. S. Thaker. “Antibacterial activity of essential oils from palmarosa, evening primrose, lavender and tuberose.” Indian Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences 71, no. 2 (2009): 134|
|5.||↑||Steflitsch, Wolfgang, and Michaela Steflitsch. “Clinical aromatherapy.” Journal of Men’s Health 5, no. 1 (2008): 74-85.|
|6.||↑||Quick Reference Guide for Using Essential Oils. Abundant Health, 2005|
|7.||↑||Highet, Juliet. Frankincense: Oman’s gift to the world. Prestel, 2006|
|8.||↑||Michie, Colin A., and E. Cooper. “Frankincense and myrrh as remedies in children.” Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine 84, no. 10 (1991): 602-605.|
|9.||↑||Khosravi Samani, M., H. Mahmoodian, A. A. Moghadamnia, A. Poorsattar Bejeh Mir, and M. Chitsazan. “The effect of Frankincense in the treatment of moderate plaque-induced gingivitis: a double blinded randomized clinical trial.” Daru 19, no. 4 (2011).|
|10.||↑||Buckle, Jane. “Essential oils: Management and treatment of gynecologic infections and stressors.” Sexuality, Reproduction and menopause 4, no. 1 (2006): 38-41.|
|12.||↑||Ali, Babar, Naser Ali Al-Wabel, Saiba Shams, Aftab Ahamad, Shah Alam Khan, and Firoz Anwar. “Essential oils used in aromatherapy: A systemic review.” Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine 5, no. 8 (2015): 601-611.|
|14.||↑||Snyder, Mariza. Smart Mom’s Guide to Essential Oils: Natural Solutions for a Healthy Family, Toxin-Free Home and Happier You. Ulysses Press, 2017|
|15, 25.||↑||L.Reardon, Tamikio. The Benefits of Natural and Essential Oils Quick Guide: Healthy/Cooking/Beauty. Createspace, 2016|
|16.||↑||Siddiqui, M. Z. “Boswellia serrata, a potential antiinflammatory agent: an overview.” Indian journal of pharmaceutical sciences 73, no. 3 (2011): 255.|
|17.||↑||Al-Harrasi, Ahmed, Liaqat Ali, Javid Hussain, Najeeb Ur Rehman, Mansoor Ahmed, and Ahmed Al-Rawahi. “Analgesic effects of crude extracts and fractions of Omani frankincense obtained from traditional medicinal plant Boswellia sacra on animal models.” Asian Pacific journal of tropical medicine 7 (2014): S485-S490.|
|18.||↑||Cardiff University. “A wise man’s treatment for arthritis: Frankincense?.” ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110621121316.htm (accessed March 2, 2017).|
|19.||↑||Ahmad, Zeeshan. “The uses and properties of almond oil.” Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice 16, no. 1 (2010): 10-12|
|20.||↑||Steflitsch, Wolfgang, and Michaela Steflitsch. “Clinical aromatherapy.” Journal of Men’s Health 5, no. 1 (2008): 74-85|
|21.||↑||Ammon, H. P. “Boswellic acids (components of frankincense) as the active principle in treatment of chronic inflammatory diseases.” Wiener medizinische Wochenschrift (1946) 152, no. 15-16 (2001): 373-378.|
|22.||↑||Deosthale, Y. G. “Trace element composition of common oilseeds.” Journal of the American Oil Chemists Society 58, no. 11 (1981): 988-990|
|23.||↑||BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine. “Frankincense Oil — A Wise Man’s Remedy For Bladder Cancer.” ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090317215312.htm (accessed March 2, 2017)|
|24.||↑||Suhail, Mahmoud M., Weijuan Wu, Amy Cao, Fadee G. Mondalek, Kar-Ming Fung, Pin-Tsen Shih, Yu-Ting Fang, Cole Woolley, Gary Young, and Hsueh-Kung Lin. “Boswellia sacra essential oil induces tumor cell-specific apoptosis and suppresses tumor aggressiveness in cultured human breast cancer cells.” BMC complementary and alternative medicine 11, no. 1 (2011): 129|