Healthy Living

Frankincense Health Benefits and Uses

Frankincense Health Benefits and Uses

What is frankincense?

Frankincense is also known as "olibanum" and is one of the ancient resins used in making incense and perfumes. Frankincense oil is derived from a tree belonging to the family of Burseraceae. The word “frankincense” is believed to have originated from the French word, “franc encens", which means "high-quality incense". Frankincense has a characteristic meaning in the Christian religion and is believed to be one of the presents that were offered to the newborn Jesus by the three wise men.

Frankincense has been used today as an essential oil that is loaded with many health benefits. It is well-known that the frankincense essential oil promotes the regeneration of healthy cells in our body, and thus helps maintain the cells and tissues of the body healthy. It is also very useful for skin health as well as it can be used as a form of treatment for those who have dry skin. Not just that, frankincense oil can also help reverse the signs of aging on the skin along with stretch marks and scars. Isn’t that great?

What is frankincense oil?

Frankincense oil is produced from the dried bark of the tree belonging to the family of Burseraceae, especially Boswellia sacra and Boswellia carteri. The milky white sap of the bark is extracted and hardened into a gum resin over several days. The dried saps are then scraped off to produce tear-shaped droplets. Boswellia trees are mainly found in in the African and Arabian regions, including Oman, Somalia, Yemen, and Ethiopia. Out of these regions, the best-known source of frankincense is Oman, which is also one of the most ancient sources of frankincense. Frankincense is being shipped and traded to other places such as the Mediterranean, India, and China for several decades now.

There are several types of frankincense, and out of them, the highest quality is the clear and silvery ones with a slight tinge of green. There is also a variety of frankincense that has a brownish yellow color, which is the cheapest and is the most readily available. In Oman, the best type of frankincense is rarely sent out of their country and is usually reserved for the sultan.

Frankincense was used in its ground form and into a powder. It was used as an eyeliner and traditionally burnt as incense. However, the times have changed and everything has evolved. Today, frankincense is used to produce an aromatic essential oil with several health benefits known as the frankincense essential oil. It is produced by steam distillation. The oil gives a very nice fruity aroma, which is very calming and relaxing. It is known that frankincense oil is much better than the frankincense resin because it is cleaner, fresher, and sweeter.

How to use frankincense oil

Since frankincense oil has several healing effects, it is not a waste of time to learn some ways to use this therapeutic oil. Here are a few ways to make use of frankincense oil:

1) Remedy for wounds, infections, and inflammation 

Due to the antiseptic properties of the frankincense oil, it effectively helps in healing wounds and prevents infections. Using this essential oil can help speed up the healing process of any type of wound in the body including cuts, scrapes, and even burns. So what you can do is, add a few drops of lavender oil diluted with some other carrier oil over the wound, and then add another few drops of the diluted frankincense essential oil.

A research study carried out by researchers from Cardiff University found that frankincense essential oil prevents the formation of inflammatory molecules as well as inhibits the breakdown of cartilage tissues that may lead to joint pain and rheumatoid arthritis. Thus, if you have painful joints or if you are suffering from any type of arthritis, you can take a little bit of the frankincense oil onto your palms and rub it over the painful area for relief.

2) Scar remover

Frankincense is also beneficial in getting rid of scars on your body. You can apply a little bit of this amazing essential oil over the wound that has been healed and the scar will slowly fade away over time.

3) Helps clear the respiratory tract

Frankincense oil can also be used to clear your respiratory tract and lungs. It also reduces the congestion in your nasal cavity, larynx, pharynx, bronchi, and lungs. It will help breakdown the phlegm that is congesting your respiratory tract. It also has antidepressant and anti-inflammatory effects that will help relax your breathing passages.

To use this oil, add six drops of frankincense essential oil into a bowl with hot water and then lean over to the bowl with a cloth or towel covering your head, and inhale the steam from the bowl. Deeply breathe in the steam and do this for about five minutes to help you reduce the congestion.

4) Stress reliever

Frankincense oil is also known to be a great stress reliever. Mix 2 tablespoons of the frankincense essential oil with melted coconut oil and apply it over the temples. This will help you get rid of your stress in one go. You can also use this oil by mixing it with some other carrier oils such as the sweet almond oil. Rub this mixture at the back of your neck to help calm yourself and slowly get rid of stress. You can also add frankincense essential oil together with a few drops of lavender oil into your bath and soak in it to help you calm down and reduce stress.

5) Induces sleep

For those of you who have a difficulty in falling asleep, you can try diffusing a little bit of frankincense oil in your bedroom. This will let you have a good night’s sleep.

6) Soothes itchy skin

Frankincense essential oil can also be used to relieve an itchy skin. Just apply a few drops of frankincense oil over the itchy area, and it will provide you immediate relief.

What are the health benefits of frankincense?

Frankincense essential oil has several health benefits and most of their benefits can be attributed to the following properties: 

  • Antiseptic
  • Digestive
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Diuretic
  • Expectorant
  • Disinfectant
  • Astringent

The following are some of the most common benefits of frankincense essential oil:

1) Effective stress reliever and lessens negative emotions

Frankincense oil can be inhaled through steam, and this has shown to normalize abnormal heart rate and high blood pressure. It also has anti-anxiety properties as well as the ability to reduce depression-like symptoms. What is most important to know is that it does not have any side effects as with the medicines that are used to treat the above-mentioned conditions.

2) Immunity booster 

Frankincense also has many immune-enhancing abilities that will help the body get rid of some of the dangerous bacteria, viruses, and even cancer. It also prevents harmful microorganisms from entering the skin or mouth.

The antiseptic properties of frankincense essential oil will help you prevent gingivitis, bad breath, the formation of cavities, toothaches, mouth sores, and other oral infections. Maintaining good oral health is one of the main reasons why many people use frankincense essential oil.

3) Destroys bad bacteria and other germs

Frankincense essential oil has both antiseptic and disinfectant properties, which has the ability to naturally get rid of the cold and flu germs from the body and nonliving things. For this reason, you can use frankincense essential oil as your natural household cleaner instead of toxic cleaning products.

4) Promotes skin healing and delays skin aging 

It is a well-known fact that the frankincense essential oil promotes the regeneration of healthy cells in our body. It helps keep the cells and tissues of the body healthy. It is also very useful for treating dry skin.

Frankincense oil also lifts the skin, helps tone the skin, reduces scars, helps in wound healing, and prevents the development of acne. In addition, frankincense essential oil also has the ability to erase scars and stretch marks on the skin.

5) Helps balance hormone levels

Balanced hormone levels in the body can be achieved through the use of frankincense oil. It helps in reducing the symptoms that are associated with menstruation and menopause. It also helps in relieving constipation, headaches, anxiety, pain, cramps, nausea, fatigue, and mood swings. Frankincense is also involved in the regulation of estrogen production and reduces the risk of tumor or cyst development in premenopausal women.

6) Natural sleep aid

Frankincense essential oil helps lower down chronic stress or the anxiety that will otherwise keep you up at night. It also has a calming and refreshing scent that will eventually make you fall asleep.

7) Reduces pain and inflammation 

It is known that the frankincense oil has the ability to inhibit the production of inflammatory molecules in conditions such as arthritis, irritable bowel syndrome, and asthma

Frankincense and cancer

Boswellia serrata is the Indian plant version of frankincense. In addition to its anti-inflammatory properties, it also has cancer-killing properties. These properties, as observed by a research done at the Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, is due to its action in regulating cellular epigenetic machinery, which encourages the genes to stimulate healing.

Cancer patients sometimes suffer more from the medication that is given as a treatment for their cancer than cancer itself. For example, patients with brain cancer are given radiation therapy to help suppress cancer cells, but as a result of the radiation, they may develop cerebral edema. To treat cerebral edema in these patients, dexamethasone or other corticosteroids are given to help control the swelling. However, starting cancer patients with corticosteroids increases their risk of developing deadly infections, as corticosteroids tend to suppress the body’s immune system. 

But thankfully, frankincense oil is now available. It is a natural and viable solution for cases like these. Those patients who developed cerebral edema was given frankincense oil at a dose of 4,200 mg per day and it has shown a dramatic reduction of the cerebral swelling. As a percentage, more than 75 percent patients with cerebral edema was able to get rid of the edema by using frankincense oil. The results are so amazing that the scientists are already urging medical doctors to start prescribing frankincense essential oil instead of steroids to patients who are assigned or about to undergo radiation therapy.