Part of living self-sufficiently includes managing your health as much as possible. I’m not especially fond of going to the doctor if I can avoid it, so I try to use natural remedies as much as possible. My personal choices are herbs and essential oils in most cases. In my way of thinking, essential oils are an extension of herbalism. They are all plant medicine.
Frankincense is one of those really versatile essential oils that I like to have on hand in my house. It actually comes from the resin of Boswellia trees found in Somalia. It’s name means “pure incense” in French because it was the normal practice to burn the resin like incense. You might have heard of Frankincense from the Bible account of it being one of the gifts given to Jesus by the wise men. Ever wonder why it was such a valuable gift? Well, it had lots of important uses.
Spiritual Value of Frankincense
Frankincense isn’t just used by Christians. It has a deep spiritual background in a number of religions. It was often used in rituals and for opening up intuition. If you meditate, the scent of Frankincense can help you focus and stay grounded because of its calming ability. The Egyptians believed Frankincense would help the soul connect with divine spirit and it was used to raise consciousness. It was also used to provide strength both spiritually and physically.
In ancient times, Frankincense was burned and the scent would help users to achieve an uplifted, meditative state that is useful during prayer and other religious rituals. Today, many people prefer to diffuse the essential oil or even apply it directly to the skin with a carrier oil. Try it next time you sit down to meditate and see how it affects your practice.
Health Benefits of Frankincense
In ancient times, Frankincense was found to soothe breathing and it was often used to treat bronchitis and other respiratory issues. In China, it was believed to increase blood flow and relieve pain.
In a study published in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine¹ Frankincense was found to have possible anticancer abilities. Researchers stated, “Boswellic acids have been shown to possess anti-cancer activities through their cytostatic and apoptotic effects in multiple human cancer cell lines including meningioma cells, leukemia cells, hepatoma cells, melanoma cells, fibrosarcoma cells, and colon cancer cells.”
Indian medicine uses Frankincense for its anti-inflammatory properties as well as for its anti-arthritic, anti-proliferative, and analgesic properties. As an anti-inflammatory, Frankincense works by blocking the production of leukotrienes, inhibiting inflammation and shrinking the inflamed tissue. This relives the pain of inflammation.
The Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine² states that Frankincense is useful for managing heart disease, asthma, inflammatory bowel disease, diabetes and different types of cancer. It also has anti-microbial qualities (meaning it kills germs and bacteria) that make it helpful for dental hygiene preparations or treating athlete’s foot, as well as for adding to your home made cleaning products. It’s also great for soothing your skin. I like to add a drop or two to my moisturizer every day.
The Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine says Frankincense is considered safe. It can be taken internally in capsules with a carrier oil, and can also be applied to the skin.Some people prefer to use a carrier oil (like when I add it to my moisturizer). When I use it for meditation I either diffuse it or just apply a dab to my forehead.
If you read anything from Dr. Axe, you’ll like this article with lots of recipes for using Frankincense. With so many uses and valuable benefits, Franincense is something you should always have in your home. If you’d like to include Frankincense essential oil to your natural medicine cabinet, you can order it here.
1. Frank MB, Yang Q, Osban J, et al. Frankincense oil derived from Boswellia carteri induces tumor cell specific cytotoxicity. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2009;9:6. doi:10.1186/1472-6882-9-6.
2. Hamidpour R, Hamidpour S, Hamidpour M, Shahlari M. Frankincense (乳香 Rǔ Xiāng; Boswellia Species): From the Selection of Traditional Applications to the Novel Phytotherapy for the Prevention and Treatment of Serious Diseases. Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine. 2013;3(4):221-226. doi:10.4103/2225-4110.119723.