Frankincense oil is one of the better known essential oils, along with myrrh, due to it’s presence in the Christian biblical stories.
According the Bible frankincense was one of the gifts that the three wise men bought to the baby Jesus when he was born, so this oil has a very long history, having been recorded in Biblical times (though it’s use predates this era).
It’s sometimes also dubbed the ‘King of Oils’, although this is probably more as a result of its numerous and varied health benefits.
This oil is usually just called frankincense oil, but it can sometimes also be called olibanum, so should you see this name know that they are the same thing. Aside from its illustrious history, frankincense is also well known by those who use essential oils thanks to the huge range of health benefits that it has.
These include its popularity as an aromatherapy tool, and it is said to reduce anxiety, work as an anti inflammatory, and even work as a painkiller.
Join us as we take an in-depth look at frankincense essential oil.
What is frankincense oil?
Frankincense oil comes from a resin, gum, or sap that is produced by the Boswellia Carteri tree that is a native to Somalia and other countries where conditions are usually very arid such as Yemen, Ethiopia, and Oman. In the present
The word frankincense is an old French word that comes in two parts, ‘franc’ and ‘encens’ which meant ‘good quality incense’. This is no surprise, as although Frankincense is now known for its health benefits, it probably started out being burned as incense before it was used more topically.
The origins of frankincense oil
Frankincense is of course most famous for its references in the Bible, and has long been associated with Christianity in general. But there is also evidence of frankincense being used as a cosmetic and burned as incense dating back to Egyptian and Anglo-Saxon times.
In Egypt and other Arabian countries, frankincense was set alight and charred, before being crushed to a powder and applied to the eyes as a form of kohl.
It’s also used and referenced in a range of other religions, again usually in the form of incense used in religious ceremonies.
Benefits of frankincense oil
As a stress reliever
Frankincense oil has long been associated with reducing stress. It has a soothing effect on the nervous system, which induces the brain and body to relax.
As such it makes a great addition to a bath if you want to unwind at the end of a long day, or you can inhale the vapors by adding a few drops to a vaporizer or a diffuser. It’s also great if you suffer from anxiety as its natural calming effects can help to fight the effects of panic attacks.
Keep some on hand if you get anxious easily!
As a wrinkle fighter
If you are worried about the onset of wrinkles or aging in general, then frankincense can be a great oil to have around. It’s known for it’s astringent action which help fight to protect skin cells and reduces any signs of wrinkles.
When applied to the skin, frankincense oil has the ability to tighten your skin and even close enlarged pores. This effect naturally smoothes out wrinkles and other sagging spots.
The best way to use frankincense in this way is to add a few drops to a carrier oil like coconut oil and then apply it to the affected area.
As an oral antiseptic
Frankincense oil has strong antiseptic properties, so it can help to keep your oral hygiene in great shape.
Frankincense oil added to oral care products can help to stave off bad breath, as well as reducing cavities and signs of tooth decay. It’s also great at keeping oral infections like sores and gum disease at bay.
It’s easy to make your own frankincense toothpaste if you mix a few drops with a carrier such as baking soda.
Related: EO Based DIY Mouthwash Recipes
As an indigestion fighter
Those who suffer from digestive conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome may find relief from frankincense oil as it has long been used to treat digestive discomfort.
Similar conditions that frankincense oil can help treat include menstruation cramps, excessive gas, and constipation.
One of the reasons for this is that frankincense helps your body to digest food in a faster way, so that it passes through your gut more efficiently.
In order to benefit from the soothing digestive properties of frankincense oil, people usually ingest it directly by mixing it with water or somehow ingesting it orally.
As an acne remedy, scar tissue remover, and stretch mark remover
Because frankincense acts as an astringent it tightens and protects skin cells which means that it also works to reduce any blemishes you might have such as acne scars or stretch marks. This tightening action makes skin appear and feel smoother and clearer.
In order to get the best effect you should apply it directly to your skin, although make sure to avoid using it on open cuts, abrasions or overly damaged skin.
Related: 11 EOs for Healing Scars
As a cold and flu buster
If you are coughing and spluttering in flu season, even if you just have a common nagging cold, consider reaching for the frankincense oil.
It’s said to help ease the symptoms of coughing and also loosens and gets rid of the buildup of phlegm in your lungs. It also helps to soothe your nasal passages and in turn open up your airways, so you will be able to breathe easier.
For this reason it is also good come the summer if you suffer from things like pollen allergies and/or hay fever.
One of the best ways to take frankincense oil if you want to beat a respiratory infection is to add a few drops to a diffuser.
Or if you are out and about and get an attack caused by allergies, then you can even inhale the vapors for a few seconds directly from the bottle.
Related: 8 EO Remedies for a Sore Throat
As an immunity booster
Frankincense oil is known for its ability to kill bacteria, which is why you can also use it as a cleaning aid around your home.
And because it’s known to destroy viruses, it’s also great as a way of keeping your immune system healthy and stopping you from getting sick.
Quite simply, using frankincense in your house will stop germs from breeding meaning that you have less chance of getting sick.
As a way to relieve inflammation
Arthritis sufferers have long championed the benefits of frankincense oil with it’s ability to reduce inflammation due to its anti-inflammatory properties.
It also works as well to improve circulation and provide pain relieving support.
If you have sore spots caused by inflammation then you can mix frankincense oil with a carrier oil and apply it directly to the affected area.
For general muscle pains you may also add a few drops to a bathe and soak in the frankincense oil infused bath.
As a hormone balancer
Frankincense oil helps to regulate the production of estrogen in women which means that it can also help to balance hormone levels.
This in turn helps to reduce symptoms of hormone related issued such as menstruation cramps, symptoms of PMS, as well as symptoms related to the menopause.
As a sleep aid
There is a reason that frankincense has long been burned as a form of incense, it is soothing smells great. Most often it is burned for of its calming effects which relieve stress and lower anxiety levels.
As such, if you suffer from insomnia, using frankincense in a diffuser is a great way to help you get to sleep naturally.
Related: 17 EOs for improved sleep
DIY Recipes with Frankincense EO
In keeping with its reputation as ‘King of Oils’, frankincense oil has few side effects and is usually well accepted by most people who use it.
That said too much of any good thing can be a bad thing, and so ingesting it in large quantities can be toxic. With that in mind make sure that you use it sparingly!
While frankincense has a huge number of health benefits, it is also known as a natural blood thinner, so if you are on medication to treat blood clots or have a history of issues with blood clotting then it is best to consult with a healthcare professional before using frankincense oil.
Frankincense oil is such a versatile oil that it is really easy to use and actually you don’t need any really fancy or complicated recipes in order to reap the benefits of this mighty oil.
Just a few drops mixed with another carrier like lavender oil can be perfect to help you get to sleep, as both have naturally relaxing properties.
Coconut oil is also another great pick as a carrier oil, as both coconut and frankincense oil are fantastic for skin, and can be applied topically for a range of health benefits.
Frankincense Body Butter Recipe
If you are in the mood for something a little more complex however, then here is a body butter recipe that harnesses all the goodness of frankincense oil and is still really easy to make at home.
- Melt the shea butter until it becomes liquid, then leave to cool slightly.
- Once it has returned to room temperature, add the oils and mix well.
- Put the mixture in the fridge for 10 minutes to cool and then whip until light and fluffy using a hand mixer. The lotion is ready when it resembles a white cream.
- Place in a glass jar and store at room temperature.
- Apply directly to the skin as needed.
Frankincense Sleep Rub Recipe
Frankincense has a long history as a sleep aid, and has been burned for centuries as a way of helping people to drift off to sleep. If insomnia is an issue for you, then you can place frankincense in a diffuser.
If you have the time however, then this sleep rub will not only help you fall asleep faster, but it will also help to soothe your skin and keep it looking soft and radiant. The act of massaging it in before bedtime will also make you feel more relaxed and ready for a good night’s sleep.
To make this sleep rub you will need:
- 5 drops of frankincense oil
- 5 drops of lavender oil
- 2 tablespoons of coconut oil
- ½ teaspoon of olive oil
- Melt the coconut oil first until it is liquid then leave to cool until it reaches room temperature.
- Add the other oils and stir well to combine then store in a glass jar in a cool place.
- Apply this directly to the skin before you go to sleep, concentrating on massaging it in thoroughly. You may want to relax and leave the oil to seep into your skin for several minutes before lying down so as not to get oil on your bed sheets.
Tip: This sleep rub uses jasmine oil and lavender oil with the frankincense oil, as these oils pair well together and all have sleep-inducing properties as well as skin soothing benefits.
That said, you could swap out either of these if you wanted to for different oils. The key here is to leave the base recipe as it is and then experiment with the right blend of oils for you.
Tip: You might want to experiment with the way in which you apply this sleep rub to get the best results. Some may find it most soothing is massaged into the chest, while other may find it works best dabbed lightly onto the temples. Experiment!
Hopefully you’ve found this post helpful. If you have any questions, comments or recommendations of your own please let us know in the comment section below