This essential oil is truly the king of the oils. Its resins are derived from a tree known as Boswellia carteri. Frankincense resin is a milky-white sticky liquid that flows from the trunk of the tree when small incisions are made. As a result, the tree reacts by secreting the milky-white liquid to heal the wound. The tree grows in unforgiving climates and sometimes even grows out of rocks and can be found in Ethiopia, Somalia, Oman, Yemen and other middle eastern regions. The essential oil is derived by steam distillation of the dry resin. Oman is the best known and most ancient source of frankincense, where it’s been traded and shipped to other places like the Mediterranean, India, and China for thousands of years. Also, in Christianity frankincense is of historic significant as it is believed that the three holy men that visited baby Jesus brought with them valuable gifts, frankincense, myrrh and gold. At some point in time, I do intend to write a separate article on myrrh worthy of mention. In the ancient world, it was even used as a currency. The Greeks, Romans, Egyptians, Israelites and numerous other cultures used it as part of their religious ceremonies and was extensively used in burial rituals as an embalming material. Numerous ancient texts including the old testament make frequent mention of frankincense in a religious context. According to historical accounts, upon the death of emperor Nero’s favorite concubine, he burned an entire year’s harvest of frankincense, entirely disrupting its trade.
Let’s now get to the uses of this essential substance which quite frankly the modern industry has erased the mention of this priceless treasure.
Some of its uses are
- Clothing scent
- Food flavoring
- Drink flavoring
- Arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis
- Chest coughs
- Post-childbirth recovery
- Reverse signs of aging
Uses of this essential oil go far beyond simply its sweet smelling qualities. Monoterpene and sesquiterpenes are the most valuable constituents of frankincense oil. Monoterpenes help prevent and discharge toxins from liver and kidneys and have anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antibacterial, stimulating, analgesic, and expectorant properties. According to some scientific publications, monoterpenes prevent the carcinogenesis process at both the initiation and promotion/progression stages. In addition, monoterpenes are effective in treating early and advanced cancers. Selected references are given at the end of this post.
Arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis (RA) – Cardiff University scientists have been examining the potential benefits of frankincense to help relieve and alleviate the symptoms of the condition. Cardiff scientists believe they have been able to demonstrate that treatment with an extract of Boswellia frereana — a rare frankincense species — inhibits the production of key inflammatory molecules which helps prevent the breakdown of the cartilage tissue which causes the condition.
Somali community who have used extracts of frankincense as a traditional herbal remedy for arthritic conditions is a perfect example for the treatment of this disease. Humanity has been using this remedy for centuries, but science has just begun researching on the benefits of this God gifted plant.
Respiratory disorder – The oil can break up phlegm deposits in the respiratory tract and has the potential to relieve bronchitis-related congestion.
Oral Health – The antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties can help prevent cavities, bad breath, toothaches and mouth sores.
Reduce Scarring – Apply oil to reduce scarring after the wound has healed
Support Immune System – Its antiseptic qualities help to support the immune system. Massage oil on sole of feet. Diffuse throughout the room especially during cold and flu seasons.
Stress and Anxiety – Apply on the temple to relieve stress and reduce anxiety and create calmness. You can also apply oil on the back of the neck when you feel anxious. You can dilute it with a carrier oil such as coconut oil to avoid any skin sensitivity. Or you can simply inhale the aroma of the oil by rubbing one to two drops between the palms of your hands and bringing them up to your nose and taking a deep breath. This should also alleviate depression and feelings of helplessness.
Anti-aging – This property of the oil is remarkable and it can reduce fine lines. For more on this please read the following article. On this article, a blend of oils is created which not only helps to reduce fine wrinkles but also helps calm itchy eyes.
Freshen Room – The resins can be put on coal to release its musky scent. A better way is to buy an incense burner by placing the resins on a glass plate and using a tea-light candle to heat the plate for the resins to release their musky perfume. Your visitors will love it!
Oral Health – Eliminate bad breath, toothaches, cavities, canker sores, and other infections of the mouth by adding a drop to your toothpaste.
Promote Sleep – Diffuse the oil at bed time using conventional diffusers.
Your Body Chemistry and Essential Oils
Essential oils are complex molecules that have evolved over millions of years to suit the needs of organisms at the cellular level including us humans. Every individual is unique and therefore, will more or less have a different experience while experimenting with these oils. In simple terms, essential oils are adaptive and these will adapt to your unique body chemistry. Sometimes an oil, or blend of oils, will work on you in an instant and sometimes it may take days before any favorable result is achieved.
Precautions and Concerns
Pregnant or nursing mothers should not use essential oils unless advised by their health care practitioner. Sometimes it is prudent to dilute it with other oils such as fractionated coconut oil, castor oil or olive oil. Be cautious to buy only pure oils from an organization of repute and is a 100% pure free from any synthetic fillers.
It is always recommended to use therapeutic grade oils. Please sign up to find out which brand I use and recommend.
 Cancer chemoprevention and therapy by monoterpenes.
 Crowell PL, Gould MN. Chemoprevention and therapy of cancer by d-limonene. Crit Rev Oncog. 1994;5(1):1–22.
 Elegbede JA, Elson CE, Qureshi A, Tanner MA, Gould MN. Inhibition of DMBA-induced mammary cancer by the monoterpene d-limonene. Carcinogenesis. 1984 May;5(5):661–664.
 Elson CE, Maltzman TH, Boston JL, Tanner MA, Gould MN. Anti-carcinogenic activity of d-limonene during the initiation and promotion/progression stages of DMBA-induced rat mammary carcinogenesis. Carcinogenesis. 1988 Feb;9(2):331–332.
 Haag JD, Lindstrom MJ, Gould MN. Limonene-induced regression of mammary carcinomas. Cancer Res. 1992 Jul 15;52(14):4021–4026.