Frankincense Essential oil (Boswellia carterii)
Frankincense essential oil is literally one of the legendary oils known to men. It has been highly prized and well utilized throughout history in all aspects of human culture including, but not limited to religion, medicine, perfumery, spirituality and psychology. In fact, due to its geographical origins and low processing requirements, it has been part of our history as species for as long as civilization exists.
Its cultural and spiritual significance, especially in the eternal human pursuit of inner piece and connection with the divine, make profiling Frankincense quite an extensive project. For the purpose of keeping this article concise, we will only reveal its main therapeutic, aromatic and clinical properties including the most common applications. However, there is a blog post coming up for those curious to learn about the interesting ways in which Frankincense was utilized by humanity - from the embalment of Egyption pharoas, to Roman emperors, and of course, the biggest PR boost an oil can enjoy, namely the feature in the Bible where it was gifted along with Myrhh oil to anoint the new born saviour Jesus Christ.
In addition to its historical, cultural and socio economic influence, Frankncense oil has also strong track record of helping people more directly with its potency, effectiveness, and versatility, all of which scientifically supported. In that context, technology and contemporary chemical analysis has left little to the imagination like it use to be in ancient Egypt, for example. Even then, the pharaohs, emperors, and healers knew very well the power of the resin and gum from the small Frankincense tree. So here are some facts that made it so precious in antiquity and so relevant in the hectic life we live in present day society.
Frankincense oil has powerful emotional and energetic qualities, most notable of which is its ability to quiet the mind. It makes sense that many people find it indispensible in their meditation practices because the aroma carries micro particles that help us focus and reach a state of tranquility. The effect most people notice if they use this oil in diffusers or aroma lamps is how it supports reflection and introspection.
In terms of its therapeutical use, Frankincense sounds too good to be true even when we cannot cover all of them here. For example, the oil contains several groups of compounds and individual molecules known to have excellent pain relieving effect. Interestingly, that effect people can notice physically and emotionally at the same time. Many of those components make Frankincense an excellent anti oxidant that protects molecules and our cells from oxidative damage. In addition to that free radical neutralizing action, the oil is super anti-inflammatory agent and it successfully stimulates our immune system.
One of the reasons Frankincense oil has established itself in the world of natural skin care is the amount of compounds that participate in the skin healing processes of the body. In fact, many plant species from the same family have been used for millennia because of their effect on our mood. Modern science reveals that Frankincense can inhibit negative brain function while boasting benefits for memory and cognition. So beside neurological, the clinical applications of this oil include immune support, musculoskeletal problems, and respiratory challenges and, of course, skin care. For us this oil is very useful in blends that aim at protecting the skin and reducing inflammation.
Last, but not least, we want to say a few words on the aromatic notes that make this oil unique component in perfumery and aromatherapy. Depending on a few factors like terroir , climate and distillation, Frankincense is recognized by a varying degree of evergreen pine-like notes because of its relatively high content of terpenic, woody scent. It makes sense because those compounds that give out such smell are typical for plants that grow in hot, dry climates with lots of sun. The top notes of Frankincense are distinctly lemony, but with some spice undertones that make it more exotic smelling. With all that in mind, there is no single compound to which we can attribute so called “typical” Frankincense smell. The aroma is the harmonic result of many chemical groups and compounds that are bound together to make up the unique scent so familiar, and yet so mystique.