Frankincense, have you ever used it?
Frankincense is often referred to as the “king of oils”. Do you know much about it? Many of us have heard the reference to it in the Christmas story. Gold, frankincense and myrrh were given as gifts to the baby Jesus. Have you ever had the opportunity to enjoy the scent of it?
I recently bought myself a new bottle of Frankincense for my collection. I really enjoy the deep, warm, spicy, woodsy smell of it. It helps me feel calm and grounded.
Right now I am enjoying a combination of Frankincense, Rosemary and Lemon. I used the formula mentioned in last week’s post. What a delight! Smells great! (Click here to learn about mixing blends)
My blog post topics often come to me while I am loading up my diffuser. Well, since I just recently purchased a new bottle of Frankincense, it was obvious what I wanted to research and write about. Where does Frankincense come from? What is the history? What are the other benefits of it? Great! The topic for this week’s research and blog post was born. 🙂
What is Frankincense and where does it come from?
Frankincense is an aromatic resin that comes from four species of deciduous trees known as Boswellia. They are:
Resin is collected by slashing the bark of these trees at certain times of the year. The trees bleed white, milky sap that dries and is then chopped off the tree in chunks. These chunks can be burned as incense or processed into essential oil using a process called steam distillation.
Boswellia trees grow almost exclusively in the Arabian Peninsula. According to Wikipedia, Frankincense has been traded in this area for 5000-6000 years. WOW-that is a long time!
History of Frankincense
Frankincense has been used by humans for thousands of years. Many cultures have used it for medicinal and spiritual purposes. Some cultures include:
Frankincense was in high demand in ancient times. Due to the Boswellia trees’ limited growing area, the area in the Arabian Peninsula became an important part of the global economy and in turn became very wealthy due in part to the production and distribution of frankincense. Camels were thought to have been domesticated and first used to transport frankincense overland at this time.
To some people frankincense is a symbol of holiness and righteousness. It is mentioned at various times throughout the old and new testament of the Bible. Today, it is still used by some Catholic and Orthodox churches.
Frankincense was used by some cultures to embalm the dead. It was also burned in memory of the deceased as well as to mask the odor of the decaying body. According to some historical accounts, the Roman Emperor, Nero, burnt an entire year’s harvest of frankincense when his favorite concubine died. This disrupted the trade until the following harvest. That just might have been a little excessive! lol
In India, the traditional natural system of medicine is called Ayurveda. Ayurveda has been practiced for over 5000 years. Within this system of medicine, it is believed that frankincense has the following abilities:
- Provides a purifying effect on the nervous system and mind
- Helps to relieve depression, mental fatigue and exhaustion
- Helps to treat respiratory conditions
In traditional Chinese medicine, frankincense is believed to invigorate the blood, stop pain and promote the movement of Qi (the circulating life force).
In the ancient spiritual traditions, frankincense is thought to be masculine in nature and is associated with the element of fire (the Sun). It is believed to have strong vibrations that dispel negative energies, making it quite useful in meditation and spiritual rituals.
How can we benefit from using Frankincense?
Frankincense continues to be used today, it’s an ingredient in many skin care and other personal products. Although research is limited at this time, there appears to be a multitude of benefits associated with the use of frankincense. Some of them are:
- Helps reduce heart rate
- Helps lower blood pressure
- Helps to reduce stress, anxiety and depression
- Helps reduce headache pain
- Improves memory
- Boosts Immunity
- Helps to prevent various Illnesses
- Has antiseptic, disinfectant, astringent and antimicrobial qualities
- May help fight cancer
- Heals skin and helps prevent signs of aging
- May help balance hormone
- Can help to reduce symptoms of menstruation and menopause
- May help reduce certain tumor and cyst growth in premenopausal women
- Promotes a better sleep
- Promotes healthy digestion
- Helps decrease inflammation and pain related to arthritis, asthma, bowel disorders (IBS), muscles, joints and tendons
A couple of ways to use Frankincense essential oil are inhalation (using a diffuser, for example) or absorbing it through the skin. I would not recommend using it topically without first mixing it in a carrier oil such as jojoba oil or coconut oil. A very general ratio for mixing is approximately 6 drops of frankincense essential oil to 1 oz of carrier oil.
If you are interested in more information, click on the following links to see related research information.
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Until next time
I hope you found this article interesting and helpful. I learned a great deal while researching and writing it. Frankincense has been around for a great deal of time and appears to offer us some wonderful benefits. Why not give it a try? Using essential oils is a fantastic way to take control of your health and mental well-being. In addition to the physical and emotional benefits, your living space will smell absolutely wonderful.
If you have any thoughts about this post, I would love to hear from you. Please leave a comment below.
I hope you have a fantastic week ahead and I invite you to come back and visit my blog again in the future. Please take good care and stay happy and healthy!
Angela (founder of Your Aromatherapy Store)
I would like to remind you that essential oils are very POTENT and should be used with common sense and caution. Always read the labels. If you are currently taking any prescribed medication it is recommended that you speak to your doctor before using essential oils.
If you are concerned about allergies, you may want to perform a patch test on your skin.
It is also good to be aware that some essential oils are photo toxic. Avoid the sun as necessary when using these oils.
Please know that some oils are not recommended if you are pregnant or nursing.
Essential oils are considered “complementary and alternative medicines” and are not always a substitute for professional medical intervention and advice. If you are experiencing severe physical or mental illness it is best to contact a medical professional.