Frankincense was a major part of the ancient middle eastern incense trail with many historic, ceremonial, and religious uses. The long and significant connection of Frankincense with many cultures throughout history can help its users of today feel more akin to the peoples of the past. It can be diffused or applied topically to inspire feelings of peace and calm. The scent can be described as forest like, earthy, or musky. When used topically, it can help relieve stress and boost cognitive ability, or rejuvenate, enhance, and beautify the skin, among other beneficial uses.
Skin, Hygiene, and Beauty Benefits
Frankincense can be applied topically to renew, lift, and enliven aging skin and reduce the appearance of wrinkles, which explains why it’s so often used as an ingredient in anti-aging skin care regimens. This is largely due to its astringent qualities which help lift sagging skin and tighten loose muscles under the skin.
This incredible oil benefits and rejuvenates nearly any type of skin, is an excellent choice for reducing the appearance of scars and stretch marks, and is commonly used to treat sun spots. It benefits dry skin and its antifungal and antimicrobial attributes help keep skin healthy and glowing (Camarda, Dayton, Di Stefano, Pitonzo, & Schillaci, 2007). Frankincense is also a popular addition to homemade deodorant recipes and for oral care such as toothpaste, thanks to its strong antiseptic action.
Stress, Anxiety, Learning & Memory
Frankincense has a calming effect that soothes nervous agitation. Because it reduces stress and helps to clear the mind, it has become a favorite for relaxing at the end of a long day. What’s more, it’s also been shown to boost memory and cognitive function and it’s believed that these attributes can be credited to its antioxidant activity (Ebrahimpour, Fazeli, Mehri, Taherianfard, & Hosseinzadeh, 2017). So not only does it help you relax, it can help you think more clearly, and for some, that can make all the difference.
Inflammation is your body’s response to a negative stimulus –whether this is an infection, injury, or from another cause- it is your body’s attempt to fight something which could be harmful. Sometimes, however, it can be excessive, and reducing inflammation often provides comfort and relieves the condition.
Frankincense can be used to help deal with many of the uncomfortable and difficult instances of excessive inflammation. Frankincense has been shown to inhibit leukotrienes (which can cause asthma, colitis, rheumatism, arthritis, and psoriasis) and reduce the swelling present in inflamed tissues, which can relieve pain in many instances (Birkner, 2006). For some, it not only relieves the physical symptoms or discomfort associated with inflammation but can also soothe the anxiety that sometimes accompanies these conditions.
General usage guidelines
Dilute with a vegetable, seed, or nut carrier oil like coconut, jojoba, or avocado oil. See dilution guidelines. With any internal use, we recommend consulting with an aromatherapist or other naturopathic healthcare provider. Since essential oils are processed by the liver, if you have a compromised liver or liver disease, we strongly recommend working with your healthcare provider before use.
Topical: Apply 1-2 diluted drops onto the area of concern. Add 20-30 drops to 1 oz. of unscented body, skin or hair care products.
Aromatic: Diffuse in a room diffuser or nebulizer. Inhale from the bottle directly or add a drop to tissue and inhale. Add a drop to palms of hands and cover nose and mouth and inhale. Add a few drops to a bowl of steaming (not boiling) water and place head with a towel over a bowl and inhale. To make air or cleaning spray, add 10-20 drops to water in a spray bottle and spritz on surfaces or in the air*. Add 5-10 drops to an essential oil inhaler; use the inhaler every 15 minutes or so to alleviate symptoms.
Cautions: Can cause skin sensitization if oil is oxidized.
Our Recommendations: If pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have liver or kidney dysfunction, consult your physician before use. Avoid eyes, mucous membranes, and sensitive skin. Keep out of reach of children.
Although most people are not sensitive to Frankincense, it is advisable to test a small area first. If sensitivity occurs, use a carrier oil to dilute. If applying an essential oil to your skin always perform a small patch test to an insensitive part of the body (If it is not already diluted, dilute with a carrier oil).
Store in a covered or dark, airtight container in the refrigerator or cool area for longest shelf life.
1). Ammon H.P., (2006) Boswellic acids in chronic inflammatory diseases. Planta Med. Oct;72(12):1100-16.
2). Birkner K.M., (2006) Boswellia, the pain herb. Pain and Stress Publications. San Antonio: Texas
3). Camarda, L., Dayton, T., Di Stefano, V., Pitonzo, R. and Schillaci, D. (2007) Chemical composition and antimicrobial activity of some oleogum resin essential oils from Boswellia species (Burseraceae). Annali di Chimica 97, 9, 837-844.
4). Ebrahimpour, S., Fazeli, M., Mehri, S., Taherianfard, M., & Hosseinzadeh, H. (2017). Boswellic acid improves cognitive function in a rat model through its antioxidant activity: – neuroprotective effect of Boswellic acid -. Journal of Pharmacopuncture, 20(1), 10–17.
5). Hamidpour, R., Hamidpour, S., Hamidpour, M., & Shahlari, M. (2013). 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, 3(4), 221–226.