Essential oil users are well aware of the many benefits of Frankincense oil and commonly keep this valuable choice in stock. To those who are new to essential oil use, Frankincense may seem like a costly option and wonder if investing in it is worth it. This oil, derived from a Middle Eastern tree, has a long history of use and is most definitely worth learning about to see what it can do for you.
Considered a fairly safe oil with few known side effects, the benefits of frankincense essential oil are varied in its uses. Popular as a scent, as well as for beauty and health purposes, this article explores its history and explains why, exactly, it is such an excellent choice to add to your essential oil usage.
The History of Frankincense
Dating back thousands of years, the use of frankincense is well documented as a valuable product in ancient cultural, religious, and social aspects throughout the Middle East where it originates from. Derived from the sap of the Boswellia tree, these resinous nuggets have long been used for spiritual and medicinal purposes and were originally burned to release the sweet, citrus-like smell as well as chewed like gum to ingest the antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties.
Also found in areas of Southern China, it has been a staple in Eastern medicine for centuries as well, and attempts to grow the trees elsewhere as a crop has generally resulted in failure. This makes it a rare choice, one that has been used as a valuable trade item for many, many years and enriching those areas that cultivated it for trade and sale.
Today, the cultivation of frankincense resin and oil has revived this ancient product and spread it for use throughout the world. It is still used in traditional cultural, religious, and medicinal applications, and continues to be studied as it contains strong beneficial properties.
What is Frankincense Oil?
What we commonly call frankincense is the sap of the Boswellia trees hardened into a resin that can then be burned to release the aromatic scent of a sweet, woodsy, citrus. Frankincense oil can also be taken from this resin to be used in its concentrated form or diluted in some manner. Because it is considered a safe oil, with few to no side effects when it is properly sourced (always use oil that supplies full transparency concerning purity)- it is popularly used as is, as well as the main ingredient in many other applications
The rarity of it makes it a more costly oil choice, but it is a powerful concentrate and a little can go a long way. This strength combines with its amazing benefits well outweigh the concerns people have about the cost.
Side Effects of the Oil
Oil use should always be approached with caution in children, and therefor Frankincense is not suggested for use in children under 12 despite the relative safety of it. Other than that, little to no reports of side effects seem to exist other than possible mild skin irritation when applied to the skin undiluted. The use of oil on the skin can also cause photosensitivity in some people, so always be mindful of your sun exposure.
Some stomach discomfort may also occur when taken internally. With that being said, if you are sensitive to substances, you should always try a skin test in advance and also speak with your healthcare practitioner before introducing new substances to your diet.
The chemical composition of the oil is what makes it so powerful. Although there are quite a few benefits of these individual molecules that make up what we call frankincense, it is the components of monoterpenes and sesquiterpenes that defines its evaluability for various health reasons.
When ingested and used topically, monoterpenes work in the liver and kidneys to lower cholesterol. They also have been extensively studied in the medical field and found to have antiseptic, antibacterial, antiviral, antitumor, and expectorant uses for aid in respiratory issues.
Medical studies strongly suggest that sesquiterpenes cross the blood-brain barrier which is why it has been so highly prized for centuries when it was burned. This stimulates the emotional center of your brain and supports antibodies, endorphins, serotonin, and neurotransmitters- all of which affect mood and emotion.
How the Oil is Used
As a relatively safe oil, it is popularly used in many, many ways. It is easy to add to existing beauty and health routines, as the concentrated oil blends well with most substances.
The oil can be easily applied ‘neat’ and undiluted- however, when mixed with a carrier oil of some sort you can make a little go a long way without losing any of its beneficial properties. It mixes well into regular beauty routines as well, such as lotions, and facial masks. You also can add it to your bath water (to avoid it floating, mix with a little whole fat milk).
Diffusing oil can be done using evaporation techniques, such as in a reed diffuser (make your own here), in a nebulizer, or cool mist diffuser. These techniques all allow microscopic oil droplets to release both scent and properties into the surrounding air and nearby surfaces that you inhale.
Always use oil approved for ingestion before taking internally. Frankincense can be added to your favorite foods or drinks or added to a capsule as part of a vitamin supplement. Just remember that concentrated oils have strong flavoring and a little goes a long way! You also can dap a bit on the roof of your mouth or under your tongue for quick results.
Benefits of Frankincense Oil
The uses of frankincense yield some very potent benefits that have been recognized for thousands of years, even if the reasoning was unknown. Use this oil in various ways to reap the following:
Remember, diffusion is any release of the oil molecules into the air, so even if you are using the oil topically you also are inhaling it as long as you can smell it. Purposeful diffusion should be done in 20 to 30-minute intervals with a break of a few hours in-between each session. That is all it takes to saturate the area it is diffused within and allows you to breathe in and absorb the oil properties.
Reduce Respiratory Illnesses
The antidepressant and anti-inflammatory properties work wonders to help suppress coughs, open airways, and work to eliminate phlegm. The opening of the airways is also helpful to those who suffer from asthma.
Reduce Stress and Anxiety
As the oil hits your bloodstream it promotes feelings of relaxation, lowers blood pressure, and allows your body to be more focused and calm. This also has been found to reduce outbursts of anger during periods of heightened emotions.
The feelings of relaxation and calmness also promote sleep and support your body’s natural release of melatonin- a sleep hormone.
Boosts Immune Function
Antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties all support a healthier immune system to fight off any illness you may have or help you from getting one in the first place. The diffusion of the oil all allows it to settle on nearby surfaces where germs may have also settled- killing them before you are exposed and creating a cleaner atmosphere.
Topical applications work best when diluted with your favorite carrier oil- many of which have their own topical health benefits (such as antibacterial and moisturizing properties). Putting in a carrier allows you to cover a larger surface and makes it last a little longer overall. Add to a favorite moisturizer, nighttime cream, or with a facial mask for temporary skin treatment.
The large amounts of monoterpenes found in the oil are healing and when applied directly to wounds, or mixed into a salve for application, are beneficial in cleansing and supporting the healing process.
Reduce and Heal Acne
Antibacterial properties destroy the bacteria that causes acne, helps keep pores open, help heal breakouts and keep them from reoccurring. It also helps smooth scars left by acne.
Reduce Appearance of Aging
The oil is also a cytophylactic, which literally translates to protect the cells of the organism. This is why it helps smooth scars as it promotes cell regeneration, allowing for scars, sun spots, wrinkles, etc to all fade, plump and smooth out with regular use.
Reduce Arthritis Inflammation
The strong anti-inflammatory processes of the oil work to reduce tissue inflammation when applied topically and soothes sore joints. Studies also suggest long term use could help reduce damage caused to the cartilage.
Remove Skin Tags
Skin tags, whether hereditary or hormonal, can be a nuisance even though they are harmless. The regular application of the oil to the tag helps dry them up and allow them to fall painlessly off.
Although making claims pertaining to cancer in relation to essential oil use should be approached with caution, Frankincense has long been studied as a natural anti-tumor and cancer support remedy. Studies have proven that it is able to suppress certain cancer cell death and anti-tumor activity with many more studies ongoing in this field.
As mentioned above, a little goes a long way when using the oil internally- both for flavor and benefits. Use in a capsule, under the tongue or roof of the mouth, or in a favorite food or drink. Use in moderation at first and cut back or stop if any stomach discomfort occurs.
Bad breath, mouth sores, gum inflammation, toothaches, and other oral-related infections and diseases can all benefit from a rinse of frankincense with your regular mouthwash or as an addition to oil pulling. The oil also enters into your bloodstream via the mucous membrane for added internal benefits.
Studies have shown that the oil is capable of helping to regulate hormones, which can be advantageous for women to help keep cycles regular and the uterus healthy.
Stimulates Urination and Promotes Digestion
With the ability to stimulate both digestion and urination, it also helps promote internal healing – making it an all-around good choice for internal use. It speeds up the secretion of digestive juices and allows for the release of water from the body.
Aides in Absorption of Nutrients
The increase in digestive juice production also allows for a better breakdown of food onto the nutrients your body can more readily use. This also keeps your body from building up an excess of gas, which can lead to stomach issues as well as heartburn.
Supports Immune System
As mentioned above, the diffusion of the oil supports your immune system in more than one way. Obviously taking it internally in a direct manner, rather than inhaling it, it can help protect against pathogens as well as combat many of the common illnesses you may suffer from.
This ancient oil is well worth investing in to provide regular health benefits to your daily routines. Support a healthy mind and body, as well as enhancing beauty products, with a few drops of Frankincense and begin to see why this has been a valued oil for thousands of years. Mental clarity, peace, calming, immune support, anti-aging, pain relief… the list of major benefits goes on and on and it isn’t hard to see why it was once worth more than its weight in gold.
If you have any questions or comments about its use or would like to share your favorite way to use it, please let us know below. And, as always, please share!