Oh the mysterious Frankincense — it really holds a special status in the world of natural medicine. What other plant extract has been valued as highly as gold, sought after by kings, and been one of the world’s most recognized birthday presents? There must be something to it too, as university’s around the world have found it important enough to spend significant sums investigating its medicinal effects. What follows is a summary of the great benefits of this nearly magical oil, and how you can make use of it.
The term Frankincense refers to the resin from any one of four trees or shrubs of the Boswellia genus. The most common are Boswellia carteri and Boswellia seratta — and these actually have significantly different chemical (and therapeutic) properties. The carteri species is considered by some to produce the highest grade raw material; thehas lovely, unexpected citrus notes and is very uplifting. The seratta produces an oil with a deeper, richer aroma, considered the finest of the scents by some professionals, and lending itself to meditative and spiritual practices. The resin is collected from the Olibanum trees and shrubs without doing damage to the plants — in this way the highly revered medicine can be harvested in the wild without diminishing the long-term availability of the natural resource.
Modern natural medicine andhave taken to the use of the of Frankincense. The oil, having a warm, woody, sweet aroma with a hint of citrus, is steam or CO2 distilled from the resin. There are several species of Olibanum tree from which the resin is collected and the essential oil distilled, the most popular being Boswellia “carteri” and Boswellia “seratta”. Carteri has been the most widely researched for medical applications, and seratta is appreciated for its rich, exotic aroma. The new modern CO2 distillations are more likely to contain the same healthful compounds as the historically-used resin. One of America’s leading medical aromatherapist notes, regarding the production of essential oil from the resin, “It could be that the (health-related) substances in question are too polar and too large a molecular size to appear in steam distillates – their presence would be more likely in CO2 extracts.”
The very wide range of therapeutic applications is one of the most appealing features of Frankincense. First off, it is highly revered for its use in skin care, particularly for mature skin that may be prematurely aging due so sun exposure. The desert-source of the plant material makes this use almost obvious. Extracts of the resin have even been the subject of double-blind studies, where one have of each participant’s face received the preparation with the “active ingredient”. The result was a significant improvement in skin texture (a measurable decrease in roughness), as well as a reduction in the appearance of fine lines. To benefit from the oil this way, you could add 4 to 12 drops per ounce to a cream or lotion you’re already using, or if making up a new formula, use the essential oil at a concentration between.5% and 2%.
Boswellia extracts (like the CO2 distillation) have found their way into many common over-the-counter pain relieving and anti-inflammatory preparations for joint and muscular pain. Natural chemicals in the oils inhibit the action of pro-inflammatory enzymes. Frankincense essential oil in combination with other anti-inflammatory and analgesic oils can be of great support for arthritis, fibromyalgia, and other painful conditions. A blend to consider for these needs: in each ounce of carrier oil (sweet almond is fine), add 40 drops Frankincense, 40 drops Ginger CO2, 40 drops Sweet Marjoram and 40 drops Plai. Not only is the pain likely to be significantly reduced, but you’re knees will smell wonderful as well!
Perhaps the most impressive therapeutic potential of Frankincense lay in its now extensively researched anti-cancer activity. The resin and its extracts have been shown to specifically target cancer cells in a number of different organs, causing apoptosis (normal cell death, which doesn’t “normally” occur in cancer cells) to the cancerous cells, leaving healthy ones unaffected. While treatment protocols are still a ways off, it is possible to include daily doses of Frankincense as a protective measure. The essential oil is rapidly absorbed through the skin and into the bloodstream — small doses can also reasonably be ingested with the guide of a natural health professional.
Not to be overlooked, the aroma-therapy aspect of the essential oil is just as impressive as the rest of its uses. The aroma of the carteri species has uplifting citrus and woody notes, and is considered an excellent antidepressant. That of the seratta is grounding and calming, lending itself to meditative use and deep introspection. Leading therapists have discussed the ability of the aroma to slow the breath, actually deepening it so that more air transpires, and fewer breaths per minute are taken. This has interesting implications, noting that some physicians believe the human lifespan can be counted in the number of breaths taken, rather than the number of heartbeats. Either way, the stress-relieving effect of the oil is almost certain to lead one to better health!
With the incredible history Frankincense has as a natural healer, we are especially fortunate at this time to have it readily available to us in many forms. The new CO2 extracts make it especially easy to utilize for every one of is therapeutic actions. This form is a wonderful way to add a little of this highly revered medicine to your life, to the potential benefit of your mind, body and soul.
Frankincense Essential Oil
Perhaps the most precious of the ancient oils, frankincense is highly sought after by modern consumers for its many uses, including relaxation, immune support, and mood enhancement. For aromatic, topical or dietary use.
Frankincense – Essential Oil 15ml (30070005)