When you think of the most precious elements, odds are you may think of gold or diamonds. If you were to go back in time to Ancient Israel or Asia, many people would consider Frankincense to be more precious than gold. Today, Frankincense essential oil is still worth its weight in gold in a number of applications.
Frankincense essential oil uses range from skin care to household cleaners … and everything in between. We're here to teach you about the history of Frankincense Essential Oil and just what it can do for you.
A History of Frankincense
Frankincense Essential Oil derives from the gummy sap that oozes from the cut bark of a Boswellia tree. Once the sap hardens into a resin, it can be scraped off and steam-distilled into essential oil form. Since the Boswellia tree is a desert tree, it -- and the Frankincense it makes -- is most commonly found in areas of northeast Africa and the Arabian peninsula.
Boswellia trees begin producing resin after eight to 10 years; at that point, you can make incisions in the bark to extract the resin. There are several different species of Boswellia trees, including sacra, carterii and serrata, and each of these species produce slightly different iterations of Frankincense essential oils.
Frankincense is a precious element that many people in Middle Eastern cultures have used since ancient times. Throughout history, Frankincense, along with myrrh, was a hot trading commodity across the globe. In fact, the Frankincense trade was such an ancient economy disruptor that it brought about new “technologies,” for its time, including the use of camels as transport, advances in shipbuilding, and the formation of written language to keep a record of the lucrative trade.
Pretty cool that an oil can do all that, huh?
While people of ancient times used Frankincense for many things, such as a in perfumes, and as a postpartum recovery aid, many cultures also considered Frankincense to be an imperative part of their religious ceremonies. Many people used the oil to embalm the dead. Others, including the Greeks, Romans, Israelites, and Egyptians, also burned Frankincense as incense in their temples.
Today, Frankincense is still a precious oil, and we use it in a variety of applications, all of which we’ll get into a little later.
Sacred, Carterii, Serrata: What’s the difference?
At Rocky Mountain Oils, we offer several types of Frankincense Essential Oil: Sacred Frankincense, Frankincense Carterii, and Frankincense Serrata. All varieties of Frankincense Essential Oil share similar properties and therapeutic functions, but the difference is in the growing conditions and the regions they come from. All three varieties of Frankincense that we carry will smell different from each other as well as have different dominant constituents. This is due to a slight variance in chemical makeup brought on by the different growing conditions.
- 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's aroma is similar 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 anti-microbial/bacterial 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.
Each of our three Frankincense Essential Oils provide various yet similar therapeutic properties, but the differences between them are what allow you to access a greater diversity of aroma and uses. Because the value of some Frankincense oils is greater than others, there are also greater price fluctuations between the oils.
Is Frankincense Essential Oil Safe?
Yes. Frankincense Essential Oils are generally non-irritating and non-toxic. If oxidized, Frankincense can irritate skin. For your safety, use Frankincense Essential Oil with a carrier oil for topical application (take a look at the dilution rates). As with all our oils, keep out of the reach of children. Check with a healthcare professional if you are nursing, pregnant, or have a medical condition.
What are the benefits of Frankincense Essential Oil?
The beauty of Frankincense lies in its versatility. Here are just a few of the amazing benefits you can expect from the oil:
- Frankincense for Skin Care
Frankincense may help improve the appearance of all skin types while also toning and tightening skin, reducing dark spots and pore size, and slowing the signs of aging. When added to a carrier oil or lotion, Frankincense can soothe cracked and dry skin, as well as reduce the appearance of scars, blemishes, and stretch marks. You can also add Frankincense to your hair care routine for shiny tresses.
- Frankincense for Emotional Health
There’s a reason so many cultures have employed and continue to employ Frankincense in their religious rituals. When diffused or burned as incense, Frankincense’s rich, woody aroma helps promote deep relaxation and enhance meditation. Frankincense can also help balance emotions, ultimately lessening feelings of loneliness, frailty, and grief.
- Frankincense as a Household Cleaner
Frankincense Essential Oil is a great natural household cleaner. It has strong antiseptic properties that help protect your home from nasty germs, bacteria, and viruses. Just add a few drops of the oil to any DIY cleaner to help disinfect and deodorize any space.
- Frankincense to Support Your Immune System
Because of its antiseptic properties, some studies suggest that Frankincense Essential Oil can kill bacteria and viruses, and support healthy immune function in both your overall and oral health. Many people choose to use Frankincense to naturally relieve oral health problems. When using Frankincense and any other essential oil, just be mindful of how you use them, and be sure to consult a doctor or certified aromatherapist if you have any questions about how to use your oils.
- Frankincense to Reduce Pain and Inflammation
A 2013 study suggests that Frankincense can help support healthy inflammatory responses in the body. Frankincense can help ease discomfort from aching joints. Try massaging Frankincense into problem areas to help bring relief.
Which oils blend well with Frankincense?
Citrus oils are great blending companions for Frankincense; however, Frankincense’s versatile aroma also makes it a perfect complement for:
How should I use Frankincense Oil?
Frankincense is an all-purpose oil that can tackle a variety of things, but here are a few ways that you can use it around your home and on your skin:
- Inhale the oil’s scent directly from the bottle to promote deep relaxation.
- Blend with a carrier oil and apply to the skin to soothe tired muscles.
- Add to DIY soaps and lotions for a fresh, woody smell.
- Apply to wrists and behind the ears as a perfume.
- Dilute with a carrier oil and use in a beauty regimen to reduce signs of aging.
- Diffuse in your home during the day for a calming effect, or before bedtime for a restful night’s sleep.
- Dilute with shea butter to help fade new and old scars.
- Diffuse to help enhance deep meditation or sleep.
To Assist in Meditation
Apply topically or directly inhale the scent.
To Assist in Soothing Mild Skin Irregularities
Apply to affected areas as often as needed. Also works great for cuts and scrapes.