What is Frankincense Essential Oil?
Frankincense essential oil is a by-product extracted by steam distillation of the resin of Boswellia sacra tree, commonly known as frankincense or olibanum-tree, belonging to the Burseraceae family. It is the primary tree in the genus Boswellia from which frankincense, a resinous dried sap, is harvested to produce its precious essential oil.
Olibanum tree is native to the Arabian Peninsula (Oman, Yemen), and northeastern Africa (Somalia).
The trees start producing resin when they are about 8 to 10 years old. The resin is extracted by making a small, shallow incision on the trunk or branches of the tree or by removing a portion of the crust of it.
This resin is drained as a milky substance that coagulates in contact with air and then, it is collected by hand.
There are different varieties of frankincense essential oil, the best known are: Sacra, Carterii and Serrata.
Differences between Sacra, Carterii and Serrata Frankincense Essential Oils
Although these three varieties of frankincense oil have similar benefits and therapeutic properties, the main difference is in the quantity of their major chemical components.
This quality in the oils is linked to the growth conditions and the climate of the regions where the plants from which they are extracted come from.
In addition, the aroma of the oils also are influenced by these causes and their smells will differ from each others.
Frankincense, Sacred contains 20% more alpha-pinene, one of its main compounds, than other types of Frankincense.
Alpha-pinene provides great therapeutic benefits for skin, oral health, the immune system, and the respiratory system, among others.
Frankincense Sacra (Sacred) essential oil has a medium-strength balsamic rich, warm, slightly spicy, sweet, and woody aroma that presents a base fragrance note. Frankincense Sacred is high in alpha-pinene. This is a great component for skin care. Many people regard Sacred Frankincense as the most therapeutic and highly sought-after frankincense oil in the world.
Frankincense Serrata essential oil, on the other hand, is similar aromatically to the other varieties: balsamic, rich, warm, slightly spicy, sweet, and woody. However, this particular frankincense oil has more earthy notes. Frankincense Serrata is higher in alpha-thujene and has antimicrobial, antibacterial properties, making it a great option for cleaning. This particular type of frankincense is also great for uplifting the mood.
Frankincense Carterii essential oil has a similar fragrance to the other two oils, but it also has a slightly citrusy top note. Frankincense Carterii has a high d-limonene, which is great for general pain relief in the muscles and joints.
Characteristics of Frankincense Essential Oil
One of the factors to consider, is to recognize when the frankincense essential oil is a high quality one, since in this way, much more benefits for the health are obtained.
Growing conditions vary significantly, affecting both tree development and resin produced.
Trees in the narrow fog-laden zone where the desert meets Dhofar mountain range, a region known as the Nejd, grow extremely slowly and produce very high quality resin in large, white clumps. Not surprisingly, Omanis and other Gulf State Arabs considered this to be superior to all other resins produced in North and Northeast Africa, India, and Asia, and it is priced accordingly.
The highest quality resin is clear and silver, but with a slight green hue. The brown and yellow varieties are the cheapest and most accessible.
Frankincense oil has a thin consistency an aromatically, has a medium-strength balsamic, rich, warm, slightly spicy, sweet, and woody scent, which is soothing and relaxing.
The essential oil of frankincense blends well with cinnamon, myrrh, geranium, mandarin, vetiver, patchouli, palmarosa, lime, cypress, black cumin, cedarwood, lavender, lemon, bergamot, orange, neroli, rose, sandalwood and ylang ylang essential oils.
This oil has long been revered in the Middle East, where it has been used in religious ceremonies for thousands of years.
As a curious fact, in places like Oman, good quality incense is usually reserved only for the Sultan. Very rarely it is sent out of the country, since it is considered a special good that is not customary to share.
Chemical composition of Frankincense Essential Oil
Frankincense oil has a large amount of chemical components, which are ketone alcohols such as olibanol.
However, its main active principles are the following:
- Boswellic acid (triterpene).
- Acid gum (27 – 35%).
- Abundant terpenes such as pinene, tuyeno, limonene and terpinene.
- Essential oil (3 – 10%).
- Large amount of resin (60 – 70%).
Another substances that frankincense essential oil contains are: high pinene, achanol, bornyl acetate, lanalool, octyl acetate, incelescent and incensyl acetate.
Monoterpenoids and sesquiterpenes are valuable elements found in oil. These can help prevent the buildup of toxins in the liver or kidneys. Additionally, monoterpenoids have antiseptic, stimulant, antibacterial and analgesic properties.
How is Frankincense Essential Oil extracted?
First of all, the following should be considered:
Fragrance oil is often confused with essential oil due to its similarity, however, its processing and composition is different.
The essential oil comes from plants, while the aromatic oil is created with artificial aroma. Also, fragrance oil, often contain chemicals that can end up being harmful to the skin and health.
The milky white sap is extracted from the bark of the tree. This substance is expected to harden for several days until achieving a gummy resin with tears shape. Then, these resin tears are scraped from the tree.
Finally, frankincense essential oil is obtained by steam distilling this pure resin.
Is Frankincense Essential Oil sacred?
Frankincense oil is considered sacred, since it is believed that it helps to achieve a much stronger spiritual connection. Especially, for those people who use this type of oil to reconnect with their inner self.
An example of this is Oman’s frankincense oil. This is the most requested due to its purity and quality. Likewise, it is considered to be one of the oldest incense and that allows to have unique spiritual experiences.
This oil should be spread with a diffuser for one hour, three times a day. This practice can be used especially during yoga, meditation or prayer.
Medicinal properties of Frankincense Essential Oil
Frankincense oil has numerous properties, which can function as expectorant, immune stimulant and antidepressant, among others.
In addition, it has the ability to act as an antitumor and produce increased leukocytes, preventing infections.
It also possesses spasmolytic, anti-inflammatory, astringents, antiseptic and disinfectant properties.
On the other hand, It serves to improve the digestive process, since it functions as a natural diuretic.
Besides, it is a potent expectorant that allows to eliminate toxins and secretions from the respiratory system.
This powerful oil, promotes cell regeneration and keeps tissues and cells healthy. It is useful for skin health and can help treat dryness, reverse aging signs and reduce the appearance of stretch marks.
The properties of frankincense oil also help:
- Strengthen the gums
- Invigorate hair roots
- Stop bleeding from wounds
- Accelerate the healing of cuts, acne and scars
- Treats allergies and insect bites
Frankincense Essential Oil Benefits
Frankincense essential oil is one of the best essential oils that can be used for health. It is known for its incredible comforting properties.
It is considered a tonic that benefits the entire body system, including the digestive, respiratory and nervous. It also helps the absorption of nutrients and strengthens the immune system.
Among its most known benefits include the following:
Respiratory and bronchopulmonary disorders
Frankincense oil can combat ailments such as flu, asthma, bronchitis and, previous medical indication, can alleviate symptoms of pulmonary emphysema.
In addition, the oil can clear the airways and relieve congestion.
Helps to overcome depressive processes
It is useful to visualize and improve the spiritual connection of each one and help overcome depression. It also works as a stimulant for the mind, helping relaxation and reducing stress and nervousness. Additionally, it helps prevent recurrent panic attacks, which sometimes accompany depressive symptoms.
In aromatherapy, it is inhaled or diffused through a vaporizer. It is a very effective sedative that induces a mindfulness sensation. In other words, frankincense oil helps achieve a peaceful mind, relaxation and satisfaction, which reduces anxiety, anger and stress.
Arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis
According to research conducted by scientists at the University of Cardiff, frankincense essential oil can inhibit the production of key inflammatory molecules, helping to prevent the breakdown of cartilage tissue.
Oral health problems
The antiseptic qualities of this oil can help prevent bad breath, tooth decay, toothaches, sores in the mouth, canker sores and other mouth infections.
Frankincense essential oil accelerates secretion of gastric juices, bile and stomach acids. In addition, it stimulates the peristaltic movement so that, the food moves correctly through our intestine. Stomach ulcers and spasms can also be remedied with frankincense oil.
This magnificent oil regulates the production of estrogen in women. Besides, reduces the risk of tumors after menopause and cysts development in the uterus. It also helps regulate the menstrual cycle.
Benefits for skin
Frankincense essential oil is ideal to create a protection on the skin. It can act as a kind of conditioner that allows the skin to remain soft and smooth for much longer. To obtain these benefits, it must be applied regularly.
For scars or stains frankincense oil is an excellent alternative, since it regenerates the skin at depth. It also helps to treat acne problems, stretch marks and scars generated by surgeries or acne sequelae.
Thanks to its regenerative properties, frankincense essential oil can reduce wrinkles and some expression lines that usually appear over time. Through the constant use of it, we will achieve a much healthier and rejuvenated skin.
You may also like:Myrrh Essential Oil Uses, Benefits and Warnings
Benefits for hair
It is a great ally to strengthen the roots and thus, avoid hair loss. On the other hand, through constant applications, it will eliminate dandruff problems, obtaining also a shiny and healthy hair.
Uses of Frankincense Essential Oil
Creams and lotions
Adding a few drops of frankincense essential oil to body lotions and face creams, will help rejuvenate the skin, and control fat levels. It can also improve the tone and condition of the skin, healing wounds, and treating ulcers, scars and sores.
To attenuate scars
Use frankincense essential oil to soften recent scars. Wash the wound with a little soap and water. Then, add two drops of frankincense oil to a teaspoon of rosehip oil and apply directly to the wound to heal. Care must be taken not to expose to the sun’s rays the area being treated, since rosehip oil is photosensitive and can produce unwanted spots.
Add 4 drops of oil in a tablespoon of carrier oil, this can be applied to any area of the body. By massaging the skin with frankincense essential oil, it is revitalized and will help to heal all kinds of wounds, sores and ulcers. Allowing the skin to regenerate itself in a much more natural and effective way.
In the bath
It can be used in a relaxing, rejuvenating and healthy bath. By adding a few drops in the warm water of the bathtub, it will improve circulation, the quality of the skin and the functioning of the respiratory system, among others.
Frankincense essential oil can treat cases of parodontopathies, aphthae and skin ulcerations. In addition, applied to the skin, helps in the treatment of osteoarticular inflammations, muscular contractures, myalgias, allergies, insect bites and boils.
Aromatherapy and Frankincense Essential Oil
When used in aromatherapy, frankincense oil can help treat all kinds of health problems, such as calming congestion and loss of voice, as well as eliminate stress and mental fatigue, among many others.
The only action that should be done, is to take the oil bottle and gently inhale. It also works to put a drop of frankincense oil on the wrists and inhale it in the same way. For better results, it is recommended to repeat the inhalations about 6 times a day.
How to apply Frankincense Essential Oil?
The effects and benefits of frankincense essential oil can be acquired through topical application, inhalation (using a diffuser or vaporizer) or through ingestion in small amounts.
To relieve pain, simply massage with frankincense essential oil on the affected areas. Before its application, the oil must be diluted in a carrier oil.
You can use oils such as jojoba oil, sweet almonds, avocado, rosemary, sage, apricot kernel and basil oil.
For colds and to clear the airways use a diffuser or an inhaler. You can also spray a few drops on a clean cloth and inhale the perfume.
You may like to visit:9 Wonderful medicinal properties of amber scientifically proven
Pregnancy and Frankincense Essential Oil
For pregnant women, extreme caution is necessary when using frankincense essential oil.
When applied topically, it must be perfectly diluted in a carrier oil, especially if it is going to be used in areas such as the face, neck, and genitals.
This type of oil should be used only under medical supervision, as it can end up causing many problems for pregnancy, and may even produce a possible spontaneous abortion if used regularly.
Is Frankincense Essential Oil safe?
Yes, in general it is safe. However, it is advisable to do a patch test to check if there is any adverse reaction to this oil.
The oral consumption of this oil is not recommended for children under 6 years old, pregnant women or breastfeeding.
Remember that not all frankincense oil brands are intended for ingestion. Therefore, before consuming, be sure to check the label.
Side effects of Frankincense Essential Oil
No serious side effects from the use of frankincense essential oil are reported. However, in some rare cases, the oil can cause skin rashes and gastrointestinal discomfort such as nausea and stomach pain.
It also has anticoagulant effects and may increase the risk of bleeding in people with bleeding disorders.
Frankincense essential oil is not recommended for pregnant women and nursing mothers, as it acts as an emmenagogue and can induce menstruation, which can be dangerous for the fetus.
Where to buy Frankincense Essential Oil?
Usually, good quality oils, that is, 100% pure, cold press and not mixed with other substances, can be found in specialized natural herb stores.
If you can not reach a trusted naturist or herbalist shop near you, here are some recommendations:
Tips for a better performance and duration of your oils:
- Store them in a dark glass bottle, never plastic, not even when blended with a carrier oil.
- Keep them in cool, dark places, away from sources of heat and light.
- Maintain the container that holds it tightly closed, since they are very volatile and also, their properties would be lost or modified.