Fresh etheric fragrance of Frankincense uplifts the mind, mood while offering benefits to the immune system and physical body. Frankincense resin has a rich history in many cultures and has been used as an incense for thousands of years.
– aids burns (esp. w/ lavender)
– meditative aid
– skin care
Dr. Nick Notes
Frankincense is one of those oils: the more you use it, the more you love it & want to put it in everything. I’ve spent several months playing around with different regions, species & extraction methods of frankincense essential oil. I’m a fan of the EO from Oman & Somalia, though I’m not sure the additional cost for Oman supply is actually worth any additional therapeutic effects. CO2 extracted Frankincense is just full of awe and comes off as quite complete. The steam distilled is rather smooth and I’ve had batches which I call white gold (clear, transparent in color) where drops are so potent and can evaporate without leaving a trace.
Frankincense oil has also been recognized for anti-aging and skin purifying properties and is the secret ingredient in many commercially available anti-aging skin care formulations. My intution tells me this essence is a potentiator, increasing the absorption levels at a cellular level in addition to speeding the healing process of disease or wounds. The former statement would be supported by the species of Boswellia which have a presence of nerolidol, based on Dr. Russo’s publishation on various terpenes of 2009.
Frankincense oil is distilled (or extracted) with starting material of oleogum resin (olibanum) from the boswellia species; Stripes are cut into the Boswellia’s trunk and the resin is harvested for distillation; this collection has been an important commodity in many cultures for at least the last 5000 years. A historic example of this truth, frankincense was a gift (along with myrrh & gold) from the wise men to Jesus & Mary. The fragrance may vary based on extraction method & species type ~ overall, notes of pine, soft woodiness and delicate sweetness can be found on the nose. Some batches almost have an undertone of citrus smells, likely due to the limonene.
Olibanum offers a rich source of essential oil (5-10%) upon distillation ~ frankincense means “pure incense”. It’s been used for anti-arthritic, anti-inflammatory, and antiseptic properties and constituents known as boswellic acids have recently found to have potential as an anti-cancer agent (1). Boswellic acid has a high molecular weight and is unlikely to distill into the EO in any noticeable quantity due to it’s large size & high boiling point; some other extraction methods (ie. CO2 extraction) may have noticeable quantity of boswellic acids. Boswellic acids have anti-inflammatory activity and are capable of quelling immune system hyperactivity via multiple mechanisms (3).
Frankincense oil has also been shown to inhibit acetylcholinesterase suggesting potential therapeutic benefit in Alzheimer’s disease (1). My assumption based on mechanism of action would be associated with the high levels of α-pinene of this oil.
How to Use
- Skin care – Everyday body or face creams can be made with 1 drop per 5ml or teaspoon (6 drops per oz) of carrier lotion (~1%) – Frank is great for rashes, cuts, burns or scrapes – add to shampoos and soaps!
- Massage oils – try adding into massage oils for aching joints or muscles along with other potent oils.
- Shower time – add 1 – 5 drops on a washcloth and rub onto your skin during your final rinse of a hot shower for a quick steam bath. Wait at least 15 seconds before reapplying water to frankin-hanced skin.
- Inhalation – Elevate the spirit and center the mind for meditative practices by placing 1 drop in an essential VAAAPP or by placing 1-2 drops on the palms of your hands, rubbing them together then inhaling with palms flat to your face.
Hazards: Skin sensitization if oxidized. EO is flammable,
Cautions: Old or oxidized oils theoretically should be avoided.
~ Adopted from Tisserand & Young, Essential Oil Safety, 2nd ed. 2013 ~
Terpenes (Hussain 2013): (major) α-thujene, terpinen-4-ol, α-pinene, limonene, octyl acetate, octanol, myrcene, E-β-cymene, Duva-3,9,13-triene-1a-ol-5,8-oxide-1-acetate, Trans-Verbenol (minor) more than 300 other constituents have been isolated from various essential oils of boswellia sp.
~ Be Blessed ~
- Hussain H, Al-HYPERLINK “http://0-www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov.library.touro.edu/pubmed?term=Al-Harrasi%20A%5BAuthor%5D&cauthor=true&cauthor_uid=23533463″HarrasiHYPERLINK “http://0-www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov.library.touro.edu/pubmed?term=Al-Harrasi%20A%5BAuthor%5D&cauthor=true&cauthor_uid=23533463” A, Al-HYPERLINK “http://0-www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov.library.touro.edu/pubmed?term=Al-Rawahi%20A%5BAuthor%5D&cauthor=true&cauthor_uid=23533463″RawahiHYPERLINK “http://0-www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov.library.touro.edu/pubmed?term=Al-Rawahi%20A%5BAuthor%5D&cauthor=true&cauthor_uid=23533463” A, Hussain J. Chemistry and biology of essential oils of genus boswellia. EvidHYPERLINK “http://0-www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov.library.touro.edu/pubmed/23533463” Based Complement HYPERLINK “http://0-www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov.library.touro.edu/pubmed/23533463″AlternatHYPERLINK “http://0-www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov.library.touro.edu/pubmed/23533463” Med. 2013;2013:140509. doi: 10.1155/2013/140509. Epub 2013 Mar 6.
- Ni X, Suhail MM, Yang Q, Cao A, Fung KM, Postier RG, Woolley C, Young G, Zhang J, Lin HK. Frankincense essential oil prepared from hydrodistillation of Boswellia sacra gum resins induces human pancreatic cancer cell death in cultures and in a xenograft murine model. BMC Complement HYPERLINK “http://0-www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov.library.touro.edu/pubmed/23237355″AlternHYPERLINK “http://0-www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov.library.touro.edu/pubmed/23237355” Med. 2012 Dec 13;12:253. doi: 10.1186/1472-6882-12-253.
- Siddiqui MZ. Boswellia serrata, a potential antiinflammatory agent: an overview. Indian J Pharm Sci. 2011 May;73(3):255-61. doi: 10.4103/0250-474X.93507.
- Tisserand, Robert, and Rodney Young. Essential Oil Safety. Second ed. Churchhill Livingstone, 2013. Print.