Frankincense Essential Oil (Boswellia serrata) can offer a variety of health benefits, including helping relieve chronic stress and anxiety, reducing pain and inflammation, and boosting the immune system. Frankincense also heals skin prevents signs of aging, balances hormone levels, eases digestion, acts as a sleep aid, and may help fight cancer or deal with chemotherapy side effects.
According to historical records, the Old Testament of the Bible was likely referring to the Boswellia Serrata variety of Frankincense when mentioned in the sacred text. Frankincense, along with gold and myrrh, was included in the gifts presented to the infant Christ in the Bible’s New Testament. It was first introduced in church ceremonies during the early years of Christianity in Europe.
Uses: The oil is extensively researched for its ability to increase human growth hormone production and is currently used in European and American hospitals. This oil is used in skin care conditions.
Countries where it's found
The tree is native to the Middle East and Europe. It is also found in India, Southern Arabia, and North Africa.
The trees start producing resins after 8 to 10 years of plantation. The resins are harvested depending on the climate and soil. Most resins are harvested from trees found in southern Arabia. The trees are harvested twice a year preferably from January to March and again from August to October.
History of the Plant
The tree is prized equal to gold and till date there are 25 known species. It was introduced by Frankish Crusaders to Europe. Frankincense has been traded for more than 5000 years and the term is derived from French term “franc encens" meaning high quality incense.
The resin is distilled either by carbon dioxide or steam. The yield is about 3–10 percent. The oil is light yellow to green in color, slightly viscous with medium, woody aroma.
Commonly known Benefits
Documents dating back to 1500 B.C. have recorded the use of frankincense oil by ancient priests and physicians to treat illness and disease.
The oil contains certain compounds called as sesquiterpenes that stimulate the limbic system, vital glands, and the brain center.
Ancient Egyptians used the oil as a part of face mask.
Its antiseptic and disinfectant properties benefits cuts, bruises, wounds, and dry skin.
The essential oil of Frankincense can be diluted in baths to relieve poor blood circulation, exhaustion, and chilliness.
The oil treats respiratory conditions such as mucus congestion, bronchitis, asthma, and catarrh.
Frankincense oil is used for skin care conditions such acne, dermatitis, and psoriasis.
The compounds in the oil support the production of white blood cells and boost the immune system.
A study conducted by the University of Maryland and Japanese researchers has determined that the oil has anti-inflammatory properties. Boswellic acid in the oil is used in the treatment of inflammatory conditions today.
One of the important properties of the oil is it acts as a cicatrisant. This property is beneficial in reducing marks and scars associated with boils, acne, pox, and surgery and stretch marks associated with pregnancy.
The oil is considered a good tonic for the nervous system because of its sedative properties.
The therapeutic properties of the oil include vulnerary, carminative, uterine, expectorant, diuretic, astringent, and digestive.
The oil is used in perfumery, incense, room fragrance, and spiritual applications.
Aromatherapy uses the oil for its meditative qualities.
The oil is added to skin cream lotion and bases to reduce oil, rejuvenate mature skin, and to heal ulcers and sores.
Medicative Uses and Action
The plant has stimulating agent and is in the use for ages. Even the great Pliny, has termed this plant as the best antidotes against hemlocks. Long back in tenth century, Avicenna suggests it against maladies like ulcers, tumors, dysentery, fevers and vomiting. Ancient Chinese used it against leprosy.
It is mainly used nowadays for manufacturing pastilles and incense. It is greatly used in plasters and also as the substitute for plants like Balsam of Peru, It is found that the inhaling of its steam can reduce laryngitis and bronchitis.
Jews used to it use is as ceremonial incense as it was one of the main part of the “four sweet scents" mentioned in Jews myths. It also finds its mention in the Pentateuch. In early times, frankincense was included in meetings and served with the shew-bread on the Sabbath occasions. Along with the other spices, this was also amassed in the great chamber of House of God!
However, frankincense was pretty common in Greek Lifestyles but was not the exclusive auspicious scent to be served to their gods. Romans not only used this fragrant plant for religious occasion but in their usual day to day lives.