Frankincense essential oil is extracted from resin from the Boswellia carteri tree, of the Burseraceae family and is also known as Olibanum and gum thus.
Frankincense Essential Oil is one of the firm favorites in aromatherapy. This essential oil has a wonderfully calming effect on the mind and helps to create inner peace, while helping to sooth the respiratory and urinary tract and relieve pain associated with rheumatism and muscular aches, while having a rejuvenating, balancing and healing action on the skin.
Frankincense essential oil has a woody, spicy, haunting smell, a little bit camphoric, but very pleasant. It is pale yellow-green in color.
It originates from the Middle East, with abundant pinnacle leaves and has white or pale pink flowers. Deep incisions are made in the tree trunk and the bark peels off in narrow strips. Over weeks a milky juice exudes and hardens on contact with the air, resulting in an oleo gum resin, from which the oil is extracted by steam distillation. The word is from the French word ‘Franc’ meaning ‘luxuriant’ or ‘real incense’ and together with Myrrh, it was the first gum to be used as incense. Also known as Olibanum, frankincense was used by the ancient Egyptians as an offering to the gods and as part of a rejuvenating face mask. It was also used to fumigate the sick, in order to banish evil spirits. The Hebrews valued Frankincense highly and it was one of the gifts offered to the baby Jesus.
Frankincense essential oil is extracted by steam distillation from the oleo gum resin and yields about 3 – 10 %. An absolute is also produced, but is mainly used as a fixative.
The therapeutic properties of frankincense oil are antiseptic, astringent, carminative, cicatrisant, cytophylactic, digestive, diuretic, emmenagogue, expectorant, sedative, tonic, uterine, vulnerary and expectorant.
The main chemical components of frankincense oil are a-pinene, actanol, linalool, octyl acetate, bornyl acetate, incensole and incensyl acetate.
Frankincense is one of the oils that can really calm and soothe the whole body and mind. It eases all aches and pains, clears the lungs and acts as a skin tonic.
Precautions and Uses
Frankincense oil is non-toxic and non-irritant and can be used by most people.
Frankincense essential oil soothes and calms the mind, slowing down and deepening breathing and is excellent for use when meditating. It also helps to calm anxiety and obsessive states linked to the past. On the respiratory tract, it clears the lungs and helps with shortness of breath, asthma, bronchitis, laryngitis, coughs and colds. It can be useful to ease heavy periods, is a general tonic to the uterus and has a calming effect during labor. It is also most helpful for rheumatism and has a positive impact on the urinary tract. Frankincense oil is said to help rejuvenate an ageing skin, is a skin tonic and is effective with sores, carbuncles, wounds, scars and skin inflammation.
In vapor therapy, frankincense can be used for bronchitis, colds, coughs and voice loss, as well as to calm the mind, reduce anxiety – cultivating internal peace and placing past obsessive states into perspective.
Frankincense oil can be used in a blended massage oil or diluted in the bath for colds, coughs, bronchitis, rheumatism, chilliness, poor circulation, exhaustion, nightmares, heavy periods, respiratory problems and mucus congestion. It also has a good astringent effect on the skin and perks up older more mature skin and helps wounds, sores and ulcers heal properly.
Frankincense oil can be added to a base cream or lotion to help with general skin tone and condition while reducing oily skin, rejuvenating more mature skin, while at the same time helping wounds, ulcers and sores heal better.
To promote healing and prevent ugly scarring on wounds, add a few drops to the water when washing the wound. For cracked skin and bed sores, apply gently (suitably diluted) directly on to affected areas or use as a compress.