Frankincense oil Health Benefits, Uses, Quality & Best Products Compared

Author: Dr. Michael Tyler
Date: 01.10.2020
Reading time: 6:26 min

Frankincense oil, also known as olibanum, is widely used today in the cosmetics and perfume industry. It typically has a slightly lemon-like incense fragrance that is reminiscent of conifers.

Name Frankincense
Lat. Name Boswellia serrata
Synonyms Indian Olibanum, Salai Gugga
Origin Arabia, Africa and India
Price per 10ml 15

Psychological impact

The psychological effects of frankincense oil are varied and have not yet been fully understood. Nevertheless, there is good reason it has been associated with the 'divine' for thousands of years. The antidepressant effect of frankincense is particularly pronounced. Researchers suspect that this could also be a reason as to why churchgoers feel enlightened when they enter churches.

The aroma of frankincense oil is so powerful that the oil is used in many institutions to positively influence the patient's mood. Frankincense oil is also very calming and promotes concentration. This is another reason why the oil's aroma is used in sacred buildings in India to aid meditation. Another important property of frankincense oil is its effect on memory. The oil can strengthen memory to such an extent, that some elite universities regularly augment their study rooms with scents of frankincense.

Physical effects

Frankincense oil has many active ingredients that all have significant positive effects on the body. Many of its beneficial properties have been understood and used for centuries, while others have only come to light through modern medical research and have been the subject of many clinical studies.

Anti-inflammatory

The number of anti-inflammatory agents is significantly higher in frankincense oil than in most other essential oils. These ingredients were developed by Dr. Stefanie Seitz in her dissertation at Saarland University. Dr. Seitz was able to demonstrate many new and unique active ingredients in frankincense oil using sophisticated research methodology. These ingredients make frankincense oil an ideal remedy for many types of inflammation.

The possible applications range from inflammation in the mouth caused by small injuries to acne. Frankincense oil can also be used in a targeted approach to treat inflammation within organ systems. For example: for rheumatoid arthritis which causes inflammation of the joints. Frankincense oil is also very helpful for inflammation of the intestine.

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Cancer therapy

According to the latest research, frankincense oil delivers remarkable results in the fight against many types of cancer. The so-called boswellic acids are said to be responsible for this. These acids can only be found in frankincense oil. Afshin Rahmanian-Schwarz carried out more detailed studies in his dissertation at the Justus Liebig University. In his research project, he examined the survival time of rats suffering from brain tumors and was able to deliver sensational results. This study initiated a wave of enthusiasm among scientists. Further investigations of the frankincense oil showed that the oil not only works very well against brain tumors, but also for colon, prostate and liver cancer.

Mitigating side-effects of radiation therapy

Frankincense oil can also help treat the serious consequences of radiation therapy. More detailed studies on this effect of the oil have been carried out by Dr. Simon Kirste who completed his dissertation at the Albert Ludwigs University in Freiburg im Breisgau. Frankincense oil cannot replace conventional medication, but it is a strong support for modern treatment. Therefore, a lower dosages is needed for these medications.

Skincare

Frankincense oil has a variety of positive effects on our skin. The oil tightens skin, is degreasing and has anti-inflammatory properties. When frankincense oil is applied to the skin, the lower layers of the skin receive more blood, which stimulates the skin cells to divide more. Consequently, dead skin cells are replaced by newer ones, which increases skin regeneration. The oil is helpful for cellulite. Cellulite is caused by water retention in the connective tissue under the skin. Due to the astringent effect of the frankincense oil, the skin contracts and pushes this water out of the cells, which leads to a tightening of the tissues and skin.

Pain relief

Frankincense oil has been a widely used as am effective natural pain reliever since ancient times. For example, the oil is excellent for joint pain and pain caused by excessive strain on the muscles.

Treatment of Crohn's disease

Olibanum oil is probably one of the few natural remedies that can be used against Crohn's disease. According to a report by the Austrian Crohn's Association, frankincense oil does not replace normal medication, but it can alleviate the flare-ups of Crohn's.

Treatment of ulcerative colitis

Ulcerative colitis is the severe inflammation of the intestinal area and is very difficult to treat. Studies in India have shown that treatment with frankincense oil offers significantly better chances of recovery than with other established treatments.

Side effects

Frankincense oil is generally considered to have very few side effects. Side effects generally only occur with long-term use and very high doses. Known side effects of frankincense include diarrhea, headache, and nausea. The incense is also known to inhibit the production of certain enzymes that are responsible for the breakdown of medicines.

Although negative health effects have not been officially recorded, they cannot be excluded. There is controversy about whether frankincense oil is actually toxic. This is not the case. A mild toxicity arises only as a result of the burning of incense and the aerosolized soot particles.

Applications | Uses

Frankincense oil is an excellent fragrance oil. All you need to do is heat the oil in a diffuser or fragrance lamp. If you want to apply the oil to your skin, you can use it undiluted because frankincense oil is one of the few essential oils that is not irritable to the skin. For consumption, it is advisable to mix the oil with a little honey, to mitigate its extremely bitter after-taste.

Manufacturing

Frankincense oil is an extremely valuable raw material that is obtained from the frankincense resin by means of steam distillation. You need up to 80 kg of resin to extract 1 liter of frankincense oil.

Ingredients

The most important biologically active contents in frankincense oil are:

  • Boswellic acids
  • Incensol
  • Terpenes
  • Sesquiterpenes
  • Ketones

History

Frankincense was an extremely expensive and very valuable raw material in ancient times, and was frequently used in cults. It provided great wealth to the countries in which it was harvested. The ancient Egyptians also called incense ''sweat of the gods ''. They used it both as incense and in the mummification process.

In ancient Judaism, incense was initially rejected, but was also used ceremoniously as early as the era of the second temple. In the ancient Rome, incense was used both in temples and to glorify victorious emperors. Each time an emperor entered Rome, frankincense was carried before him. Incense then became particularly popular in the Middle Ages in the Catholic Church.

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Botany

The frankincense tree is a plant from the Boswellia family. Its distribution area is West Africa (Somalia, Eritrea, Ethiopia), Arabia and India. It reaches heights of 1.8 to 15 m. The frankincense tree prefers a very dry, desert-like climate and dry, sandy soils.

The incense resin is harvested from March to September and is carried out in several steps. The bark of the tree is cut and then left for 2 weeks until the tree has delivered the first resin. This first resin harvest is of poor quality and was typically thrown away in the past. Today, however, it is also marketed commercially. The tree is harvested regularly over a period of up to 8 years and then experiences a 5-year rest period. A single tree delivers approx. 5-10 kg of frankincense resin in one harvest year.

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