Frankincense, also known as Olibanum, is an aromatic resin (hardened tree sap) that comes from the tree family Boswellia which is native to Africa and much of the Middle East, although it has also been cultivated in southern China. Frankincense comes in many varieties, but the five main species used are Boswellia Serrata (Indian Frankincense), Boswellia Sacra, Boswellia Cateri, Boswellia Frereana, and Boswellia Papyrifera. Frankincense resin is also referred to as Frankincense Tears and also comes in essential oil form. Frankincense has been used since ancient times by many different cultures including Ancient Africans, Ancient Egyptians, Ancient Romans, and Ancient Greeks.
Africans have long chewed the resin to keep teeth and gums clean, to fight bad breath and to ease indigestion. They also burn the Frankincense resin during childbirth to kill off any airborne viruses or bacteria as well as to help the mother breathe easier and remain calmer during the birthing process. The new mother will also squat over burning Frankincense resin to help clean and prevent infections that may occur and to help speed up the healing process after childbirth. The resin is also regularly burned for weeks following birth to protect the mother and baby. Frankincense resin is used by the African community and by many other people for these purposes to this day.
Ancient Egyptians regularly bought Frankincense and Myrrh resins from the Phoenicians by the boatload for uses such as incense, insect repellent, perfume, cleaning and healing wounds and sores, and was a main ingredient used in the embalming process and in their beloved eye liner. They knew of the resins ability to fight off eye infections, which were common where they lived, therefore it was added to the eye liner to help fight off and prevent infection.
Ancient Romans and Greeks used Frankincense for a variety of medicinal purposes considering that by this time, medical practitioners had already recognized and documented many of the properties of Frankincense including its analgesic, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties. It was prescribed for a vast variety of ailments including indigestion, halitosis, hemorrhoids, chronic coughs, sore throats, skin problems, and much more.
Frankincense (referred to as the herb Ru Xiang in Chinese medicine) has also been a staple in Chinese medicine since at least 500 B.C. and is used to treat a wide variety of ailments. Buddhists have also long used Frankincense in religious and meditation practices as it’s believed to be cleansing, calming and spiritual.
Frankincense is often used in Chinese medicine to relieve pain including pain caused by menstruation, traumatic injuries, swelling of the mouth and gums, digestive issues, and painful skin conditions such as sores, carbuncles, and swelling associated with anything from bug bites to acne and boils. Frankincense is also used in Chinese medicine to help regulate menstruation, regulate estrogen, to prevent tumors and cysts in the uterus, reduce bloating, boost the immune system, and to help aid in the absorption of vital nutrients.
Frankincense resin and Frankincense Essential Oil are also very popular and highly praised in Ayurvedic medicine in which the resin is referred to as Dhoopam. Boswellia Serrata is the most widely used species of Frankincense in Ayurvedic medicine and is often paired with Myrrh Resin or Myrrh Essential Oil.
Ayurvedic medicine uses Frankincense to calm, strengthen, and purify the nervous system, uplift mood, clear mental fatigue, treat depression and anxiety, ease headaches, clear the respiratory tract, clear sinuses, treat respritory illnesses, treat pain, treat arthritis and rheumatisim, ease stiff joints and muscles, strengthen female hormones, aid digestion, resolve gas, relieve constipation, treat IBS, fight tooth decay and gum conditions, and to treat wounds and other skin ailments such as dry-wrinkly skin, acne, bug bites, boils, redness, rashes, and so on. Ayurvedic medicine also burns the resin to purify the home, to bring good health and to protect new mothers and babies from airborne viruses and bacteria just as they do in Africa.
Modern science has confirmed many of the ancient claims about Frankincense including Frankincenses antiseptic and anti-viral properties. They have found that Frankincense not only contains plenty of antioxidants, but also contains boswellic acid that is shown to purify the blood, promote blood circulation, fight cancer, and is anti-inflammatory. Frankincense Essential Oil has also been shown through modern science to contain sesquiterpenes which are carbon based compounds that act directly on the pituitary and pineal glands as well as on the limbic system and on the hypothalamus.
Overall it is generally accepted that Frankincense and/or Frankincense Essential Oil is considered to be analgesic, anti-inflammatory, anti-arthritic, anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, antiseptic, astringent, carminative, diuretic, expectorant, sedative, vulnerary, anti-depressant, anti-anxiety, and is used for aiding in digestion, fighting colds, enhancing memory, aiding in breathing, repairing of blood vessels, strengthening the hairs roots, treating skin conditions such as eczema, acne, scars, boils, stretch marks, rashes, bug bites, skin ulcers, inflammed skin, and is cytophylactic (promotes healthy skin cell growth and regeneration).
There are different ways in which you may use Frankincense to reap its amazing benefits. The resin may be burned like an incense, chewed on, crushed into powder for use in poultices, and is used to make tinctures and Frankincense water. Frankincense Essential Oil may be used for aromatherapy purposes in an ultrasonic aromatherapy diffuser, added to many skin and hair care products and remedies, added to perfumes, and many people simply ingest it directly.
Note: Always consult with your natural doctor before beginning the use of Frankincense to be cautious; particularly before ingesting any essential oil.
The Herb Forest truly hopes you enjoyed another one of our Wellness Articles and would love to hear from you! You may browse and/or purchase Frankincense and Frankincense Essential Oils in The Herb Forest’s Shop along with many other amazing natural products. As always, The Herb Forest thanks you all for the support!