Frankincense, from the resin of the Boswellia carterii or B. sacara tree is one of those amazing all round essential oils.
Probably first and best known from religious associations, most notably within the Christian faith where it is widely known as one of the gifts brought by the Magi, Three Kings or Three Wise Men, who came to Bethlehem from the East to celebrate the birth of Jesus.
The kings, Caspar, Melchior, and Balthazar, according to the gospels brought gold, myrrh and frankincense.
We all know of the value of gold today and where it comes from but of myrrh and frankincense less is known.
They are in fact both aromatic resinous gums obtained from various trees and bushes that are native to Africa and regularly used in the manufacture of perfumes, incenses and other medicinal preparations.
In a reversal of today’s values, back in the time of the Three Kings, gold was the least expensive of the three gifts with myrrh being far more valued and frankincense just less so.
Today we will all be aware that gold prices are still relatively high and it is seen as highly valued commodity. Myrrh is less valued even though droughts have had great impact on the thorny trees in Africa that the resin comes from and this it’s availability.
Frankincense has fared even less well as the trees from which we obtain the resin are facing extinction due to insect infestations and excessive harvesting.
Make sure, if you want to reap the full benefits of this amazing substance, to look for the essential oil, not just fragrances as they are synthetically made so won't have any of the therapeutic benefits at all!
Firstly, it is stress relieving and will immediately bring about a feeling of relaxation and peace. So what better way to start your day off than with the scent of frankincense.
Amongst numerous other applications, Frankincense is used medically to help tighten the skin, reduce the appearance of wrinkles, acne blemishes, eczema, stretch marks and aids the healing of surgical wounds.
In addition, it increases circulation and can help with muscular aches and joint pain. It is also a great antiseptic and a deodoriser.
Try massaging the oil on your body with our Rosewood Hand Lotion bar which contains organic Frankincense!
And, if all that isn't enough, Frankincense has been positively studied in various laboratory research programs for its anti-cancer properties. When tested, along with Myrrh and Sandalwood, it has shown to be effective against several cancer cell lines.
Digging a little deeper we can find there are many other positive and surprising advantages of applying frankincense to our daily routine.
When inhaled, frankincense oil been shown to reduce heart rate and high blood pressure. It has anti-anxiety and depression-reducing abilities, but unlike prescription medications, it does not have negative side effects or cause unwanted drowsiness. So on the whole it helps reduce stress reactions and negative emotions.
Studies have demonstrated that frankincense helps boost the immune system function and prevent Illness. It has immune-enhancing abilities that may help destroy dangerous bacteria, viruses and even cancers. Researchers at Mansoura University in Egypt conducted a lab study and found that frankincense oil exhibits strong immuno-stimulant activity.
Several research groups have found that frankincense has promising anti-inflammatory and anti-tumour effects when tested in lab studies and on animals. It may also help fight cancer or deal with chemotherapy side effects as frankincense oil has been shown to help fight cells of specific types of cancer.
Researchers in China investigated the anticancer effects of frankincense and myrrh oils on five tumour cells lines in a lab study. The results showed that human breast and skin cancer cell lines showed increased sensitivity to the combination of myrrh and frankincense essential oils.
From a 2012 study it was even found that a chemical compound found in frankincense called AKBA is successful at killing cancer cells that have become resistant to chemotherapy, which may make it a potential natural cancer treatment
Blemish free skin is a dream for many so the fact that frankincense heals skin and prevents some signs of ageing is a huge positive.
When applied topically or inhaled, it can make the scars and marks of boils, acne, and pox on the skin fade at a much faster rate. This also includes the fading of stretch marks, surgery marks, and fat cracks associated with pregnancy and delivery.
Frankincense has the ability to strengthen skin and improve its tone, elasticity, defence mechanisms against bacteria or blemishes, and appearance as someone ages. It may help tone and lift skin, reduce the appearance of scars and acne, and heals wounds. It may also be beneficial for fading of stretch marks, surgery scars or marks associated with pregnancy, and for healing dry or cracked skin.
Using Frankincense essential oils can act as skin conditioner if used externally. Regular use of this natural conditioner can leave your skin soft and smooth. Frankincense can reduce wrinkles and fine lines by regenerating healthy skin cells. The use of this sap can keep you looking as young as feel in your heart! This is considered to be the best Frankincense skin care benefit.
Application of frankincense on fingernails can also strengthen weak or brittle and delicate fingernails.
According to a review published in the Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine, frankincense oil reduces redness and skin irritation, while also producing 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 learning functions. Some animal studies even show that using frankincense during pregnancy may increase the memory of a mother’s offspring. In one such study, when pregnant rats received frankincense orally during their gestation period, there was a significant increase in the power of learning, short-term memory and long-term memory of their offspring.
Frankincense essential oil can also act as a sleep aid and be 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.
As a natural sleep aid it helps open breathing passages, allows your body to reach an ideal sleeping temperature and can eliminate pain that keeps you up.
Frankincense can help decrease inflammation and pain as it inhibits 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 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.
Frankincense, being a disinfectant, can be used to clean wounds or cuts, making way for quicker healing without leaving scars behind. It can even cure warts - applying it twice a day for a couple of weeks can show gradual cure.
Applying just a drop of frankincense oil has the ability to reduce the swelling caused due to insect bites. It also helps in quicker healing.