Essential Oils: Frankincense
Y’all better get comfortable because I’m trying to fit the greatness of Frankincense into a single blog post. It might be a long one. Grab your snacks, take a bathroom break and get comfortable. This is the Holy Grail of the essential oil world. I mean they gave it to Jesus for Pete’s sake! If it’s good enough for Jesus. It ought to be good enough for the rest of us. Can’t argue with Jesus!
Frankincense (Frank for short) is produced from the Boswellia tree. Like with majority of plants, there are different variations. Typically, the boswellia tree grows in mountainous regions of India, Africa and the middle east. These trees were considered ‘liquid gold’ back in biblical times and traditionally used in religious ceremonies. It has over 10,000 uses, so it’s an absolute must have in the oil arsenal (don’t worry I’m just hitting the high points).
Anti-Inflammatory. Frank can help inhibit the production of inflammatory molecules associated with certain conditions. This is due to the boswellic acid. A 2006 study from Planta Medica showed numerous ways boswellic acid fights inflammation.
Cancer. Although research is still needed, frankincense might directly attack cancer cells. A study of bladder cancer in 2009 saw that frankincense only targeted cancerous cells, but did not destroy healthy cells. In 2015, it was found that there were similar effects against breast cancer. Then in 2016, noted the frankincense has anti-tumor properties. I’ve personally witnessed it bring relief to cancer patients, so I’m a little bias on this section. I most certainly don’t discredit chemotherapy (which has extensive research), but frankincense is a good pairing to deal with various side effects. This is all early research, but pretty interesting and sparks hope for the future!
Skin Health. Because frankincense is a cytophylactic (that just means it helps new cells grow), it can significantly reduce the effects of aging. It is also an astringent, which reduces acne, blemishes and wrinkles. The journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicinepublished a review that suggests the steroid-like structure of frank contributes to its effectiveness on the skin.
Memory. Research suggests that frankincense can be used to improve memory. Animal studies show that frankincense use during pregnancy can increase the memory of the offspring. When frankincense was given to rats during gestation, there was a significant increase in learning abilities of the offspring. I’ve been using it regularly and still have the memory of a goldfish, so I’m a little skeptical on this one.
Like I mentioned earlier, frankincense has soooooooooo many benefits and there is no way to fit them all onto one post. Like lavender, frankincense is a gentle oil and can be directly applied to the skin. Just make sure you patch test prior to complete application. I use this oil in majority of my skin products. Washes, lotions, etc.
Diffusing is always an easy way to expose yourself to the benefits of oils. Frankincense does have a pretty strong scent though. Kind of like old lady perfume. I know y’all know what I’m talking about. So, just see if you can handle the smell before wasting it.
I’ve never taken frankincense internally. I found that it benefits the outside of the body just as well, so that’s where I choose to keep it. It won’t kill you, but I don’t suggest it.