Whether you are looking for a natural health remedy, a companion to your spiritual practice, or a mood-enhancing fragrance, Frankincense is one of the most sacred, soothing and versatile essential oils available. You’ll want to make sure it’s part of your essential oil collection!
Let’s take a look at where Frankincense comes from, how it’s been used throughout history, and how you can benefit from its many uses.
Where does Frankincense come from?
Frankincense is derived from the gummy sap that oozes out of the Boswellia Tree when the bark is cut. The leaking resin is allowed to harden and scraped off the trunk. It may then be used in its dried form or steamed to yield essential oils.
Frankincense comes from the resin of three distinct types of Boswellia trees— Boswellia Serrata, Boswellia Frereana, and Boswellia Carterii. Oils produced from each type have unique aromas and chemical composition, although they all have similar therapeutic benefits.
The Boswellia Serrata tree (see image below) is the oldest documented Frankincense and is believed to be the Frankincense referred to in the Bible and Ayurvedic medicine. It is your go to oil for relieving inflammation caused by arthritis, swelling, and allergies. It is a powerful antiseptic, decongestant, and anti-inflammatory agent, and is commonly used during meditation.
One benefit of Frankincense Serrata over other types of Frankincense is that it is significantly more affordable because it yields a higher amount of essential oil than other varieties. Its aroma is sweeter and slightly more delicate than Frankincense Carterii as well.
Ancient uses of Frankincense
Some of the earliest mentions of Frankincense come from Egyptian medicinal texts. In many cultures, Frankincense had daily uses. Keeping it burning in the house was said to bring overall good health.
Made into a paste, Frankincense was used as a soothing ointment and as a remedy for swelling. In India, it has been used to treat muscle and joint pain and as a remedy for arthritis for hundreds of years.
Frankincense also acted as an antiseptic for wound care. Frankincense powder was stored to be easily mixed with water and applied to wounds and burns. Frankincense oil was also used for relief from bites and stings from insects and scorpions.
In Ethiopia, the soot of the resin is thought to be beneficial for the eyes and sore or tired eyes were fumigated with the smoke. Burned as an incense, it was also used to clear head and chest colds, headaches, and as a powerful insect deterrent.
In Asia and in other places in the ancient world it was used to promote healthy skin. Roman Emperor Nero reportedly used it to disguise the tell-tale bags beneath his eyes that appeared after a night of debauchery.
Women traditionally used Frankincense to bring hormonal balance, treat morning sickness, and ease the pain of labor.
Besides its medical uses, Frankincense was used in sacred rituals in many different cultures. It was a key ingredient in Egyptian embalming lotions, was burned in the hebrew temple at Jerusalem, and it is said the Emperor Nero burned a whole year’s harvest worth of Frankincense in rites when his favorite mistress died.
8 simple ways to use Frankincense today
1. Promote relaxation and reduce anxiety throughout the day.
Add a dab to the inside of your shirt collar or behind the ears.
2. Reduce the appearance of age spots and sun damage, and promote radiant skin.
Add 1 drop to Fractionated Coconut oil or your favorite moisturizer and apply to skin daily.
3. Pacify toothaches and promote oral hygiene.
Apply one drop on gums where your tooth hurts or gargle with one drop in water.
4. Deepen your spiritual practice and connection.
Diffuse a few drops in a diffuser with water or rub 2 drops into the bottom of your feet, during meditation, prayer, or any other spiritual or religious practice.
5. Assist recovery of respiratory infections.
Add a few drops to your bath water or the bottom of the shower, or diffuse in a diffuser, when you are fighting a cold or the flu.
6. Promote relief in hands that have been working hard all day.
Massage a few drops with a non-scented oil or lotion into palms, backs of hands, and fingers.
7. Disinfect your yoga mat and purify air in your home.
With its anti-septic properties, Frankincense makes a great purifying spray for lots of household uses. Just add 10-15 drops into a small spray bottle, 1/3 cup water, shake and spray.
8. Use as a natural insect repellent.
Mix 1 to 2 drops with non-scented oil or lotion and 1 to 2 drops of Patchouli essential oil (optional). Rub on skin to keep the bugs away.
With its rich, fragrant aroma and multi-faceted healing properties, Frankincense is an essential oil you don’t want to be without.