Frankincense essential oil: The essential oil collection
Our sense of smell is strongly connected to our emotions and memories as our scent receptors are located next to the emotional centres in our brain, the amygdala and hippocampus. That is one of the reasons why aromatherapy is so powerful – using oils can trigger the body’s own healing process to begin, as well as soothe and calm your mind to actually allow the process to take place. Essential oils can also interact with certain hormones, neurotransmitters, or enzymes, resulting in a specific change to our bodies’ chemistry. Oils are powerful, and they have little or no side effects.
Frankincense, also referred to as olibanum, is a very popular essential oil used in aromatherapy and perfumery. It has various health benefits, including helping to relieve anxiety and chronic stress, being an expectorant, reducing inflammation, boosting immunity, treating coughs, anxiety, asthma, bronchitis, scars, stretch marks, and treating pain.
The Universal oil
The word frankincense comes from the term “franc encens” which means quality incense in old French, apt since it is valued for its medicinal, cosmetic, aromatic and spiritual applications. It has been associated with many different religions over the years, especially Christianity. In the Bible, frankincense is one of the gifts given to the baby Jesus by the wise men, or Magi – Frankincense, Gold and Myrrh. Frankincense essential oil is steam distilled from the resin of the Boswellia tree. Boswellia carterii, Boswellia ferreana or Boswellia serrata trees are commonly grown in India, Somalia and certain regions of Pakistan. The country of origin as well as the quality of the resin tears play a big part in the resultant oils’ aroma. The oil smells sweeter, cleaner and fresher than the resin, with a woody, earthy and slight fruity spicy aroma.
The health benefits of frankincense essential oil can be attributed to its major constituents: alpha-Pinene, alpha-Phellandrene, Limonene, Beta-Myrcene, Beta-Pinene, Beta-Caryophyllene, p-Cymene, Terpinen-4-ol, Verbenone, Sabinene and Linalool. Its chemical composition gives it the properties of an antiseptic, disinfectant, astringent, carminative, cicatrizant, cytophylactic, digestive, diuretic, emmenagogue, expectorant, sedative, tonic, uterine, and a vulnerary substance.
Some of the oil’s health benefits:
Help reduce stress reactions and negative emotions
When inhaled, frankincense oil has been shown to reduce heart rate and decrease blood pressure. It has anti-anxiety and depression-reducing abilities that induce a feeling of mental peace and relaxation, but unlike prescription medications, it does not have negative side effects or cause unwanted drowsiness.
Immune booster, expectorant and cough reliever
Studies have shown that frankincense has immune-enhancing abilities that may help destroy dangerous bacteria and viruses, such as cold and flu germs. It can be used to prevent germs from forming on the skin, mouth or in your home. The oil can also be used to provide relief from coughing. It can help eliminate phlegm in the lungs, and acts as an anti-inflammatory in the nasal passages making breathing easier, even for those with allergies or asthma.
Coagulant and wound healer
Frankincense acts as a coagulant, helping to stop bleeding from wounds and cuts. The oil can also be used to speed up the healing process of cuts, wounds and ulcers.
Natural household cleaner
Frankincense oil is an antiseptic, meaning it helps eliminate bacteria and viruses from your home and clean indoor air and spaces. It can also be used as a natural deodorizer. Use it in an essential oil diffuser to help reduce indoor pollution and deodorize and disinfect any room or surface in your home.
Prevents signs of aging
As a cytophylactic, Frankincense oil promotes regeneration of healthy cells and also keeps existing cells and tissues healthy. This gives frankincense the ability to strengthen skin and improve its tone, elasticity and appearance as one age. It may also be used for fading of stretch marks, surgery scars or marks associated with pregnancy, and for healing dry or cracked skin and can produce a more even skin tone. Studies suggest that it’s the pentacyclic triterpene (steroid-like) structure of frankincense oil that contributes to its soothing effect on irritated skin.
Research suggests that frankincense oil can be used to improve memory and cognitive functions. Some animal studies even found that using frankincense during pregnancy may increase the memory of a mother’s offspring.
May help balance hormones and improve fertility
Frankincense oil may reduce symptoms associated with PMS and menopause by balancing hormone levels, although the research on this topic is limited. It has been used to help relieve pain, cramps, constipation, headaches, anxiety, nausea, fatigue and mood swings. Frankincense oil may also help with regulating estrogen production and may reduce the risk of tumor or cyst development in premenopausal women.
Animal studies have shown that frankincense oil can be used as a fertility-promoting agent, which may be due to the oil’s chemical structure acting similarly to that of steroids. When frankincense was used on rats internally, it increased fertility, and the number of implantations and viable fetuses, which suggests that the oil may possibly increase sperm motility and density.
Frankincense helps the digestive system to properly detox and produce bowel movements. It may also help to reduce pain and cramping in the stomach, relieve nausea, flush out excess water from the abdomen that can cause bloating and even relieve PMS-related stomach pains. It does this by speeding up the secretion of digestive enzymes, increasing urine production, relaxing the muscles of the digestive tract and also helps improve circulation which is needed for proper digestive health. It’s been shown to be beneficial in reducing symptoms of leaky gut syndrome, chronic colitis, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease and IBS.
Improves sleeping and rest
Frankincense essential oil is useful in lowering levels of anxiety or chronic stress that can keep you up at night. It has a calming, grounding scent that can naturally help you to fall asleep. This natural sleep aid helps open breathing passages, allows your body to reach an ideal sleeping temperature and can eliminate pain that keeps you up.
Helps decrease inflammation and pain
Frankincense can inhibit the production of key inflammatory molecules associated with conditions like arthritis, asthma, painful bowel disorders like IBS and many more conditions. It can be useful in helping to prevent the breakdown of the cartilage tissue and has been shown to significantly reduce levels of dangerous and painful inflammation, making it a natural treatment option for pain-related conditions that affect the muscles, joints and tendons. To improve circulation and lower symptoms of joint pain or muscle pain related to conditions like arthritis, digestive disorders and asthma, try massaging frankincense oil to the painful area or diffusing it in your home. You can add a drop of oil to steaming water and soak a towel in it, then place the towel on your body or over your face to inhale it to decrease muscle aches. Also diffuse several drops in your home, or combine several drops with a carrier oil to massage into your muscles, joints, feet or neck.
Teeth and oral health
Due to its antiseptic properties, frankincense oil is a great addition to any oral hygiene regimen. Look for natural oral care products that contain frankincense oil, especially if you enjoy the aroma. It can help prevent dental health issues like tooth decay, bad breath, cavities or oral infections.
Frankincense oil is used by either inhaling the oil or by absorbing it topically. If you want to use it topically, you need to dilute the oil with a carrier oil, such as olive oil, coconut oil, or jojoba oil.
Blending: Frankincense oil blends well with citrus oils such as Lime, Lemon, Orange, and Bergamot, as well as the floral and woodsy oils such as Lavender, Myrrh, Pine, and Sandalwood.
When purchasing frankincense oil, avoid oils that say “fragrance oil” or “perfume oil”. These types of oils can be synthetic with no health benefits. Instead, opt for oils that are “pure”, “100%” and “organic”.
For oil safety concerns, you should know that frankincense essential oil is extremely well-tolerated, especially compared to prescription medications. To date, there are no reported serious side effects of using frankincense oil. However, it’s always a good idea to follow essential oil safety and ingest just a few drops of any essential oil at a time in water or other beverage. With oil safety concerns low, it’s a versatile oil that can be combined with several other essential oils and carrier oils that are not known to create any adverse side effects.