When I think of Frankincense, I immediately think of something exotic and magical. And why shouldn’t I? Civilizations from every corner of the earth and every period in time have tapped into this oil’s marvelous healing properties. Even today Frankincense is used around the world as a premium cosmetic ingredient because of its mesmerizing fragrance. Therefore for me, Frankincense essential oil holds immense value because it is precious, rare and very versatile. It is a key ingredient in many of my products, including the Mommy Body Oil, Holiday Bliss Essential Oil Blend and Hair Elixir for Dry Hair.
What is Frankincense?
Frankincense derives its name from the archaic French word “Franc” (meaning pure/sacred) and the Latin word “incense” (meaning smoke). Frankincense essential oil is derived from the resin exuded by the bark of Boswellia frereana/carterii, a small tree that is native to North Africa and Middle East. The oil is then extracted from the resin by the process of steam distillation.
Historically, the use of Frankincense spreads across Egyptian, Greek, Roman, Hebrew and Babylonian and Persian civilization. Egyptian Pharaohs have been known to use this legendary oil in skincare and beauty rituals. It was also widely employed in religious ceremonies, including preservation of corpses (mummification). The fact that Frankincense has been mentioned over 22 times in the Bible bears testimony to the religious and cultural importance of this oil.
When the bark of the tree is damaged, the tree secretes a resin to heal the wound. I personally believe that this is where the healing power of Frankincense comes from, and I have witnessed firsthand how effective this oil is in healing wounds of the body as well as the heart.
Clinical studies suggest that Frankincense deepens the breath – perhaps this is why it has been used in meditation, religious ceremonies and spiritual exercises since time immemorial. In the modern context, this calming and grounding quality of Frankincense is proving to be beneficial in treating depression, anxiety and melancholia. The best part of Frankincense, however, is that it is non-toxic, non-irritant and non-allergenic, which makes it one of the safest oils to use at home.
Frankincense essential oil is a natural astringent which speeds up cell renewal and rejuvenates the skin. It not only helps correct wrinkles and signs of aging, but also heals rough, dry and chapped skin.
It also works as a super-nourishing dry skin treatment, especially for mature and aging skin. Its toning effect softens fine lines and tightens sagging skin to reduce the appearance of wrinkles. Frankincense is safe to use during pregnancy and regular application on the belly (a few drops diluted in carrier oil) can help prevent stretch marks.
As a natural antiseptic and astringent, Frankincense is often used in the treatment of genito-urinary infections in men as well as women. It also provides relief in inflammatory conditions like hemorrhoids and cystitis.
The expectorant and anti-allergic properties of Frankincense make it very useful in managing respiratory problems. A chest massage with Frankincense oil can open up the lungs, and relieve breathlessness and tightness of the chest. It slows down and deepens the breathing in asthmatics and restores health of the mucous membranes.
Frankincense’s calming effect on the mind is a recent discovery and the oil is now used in the management of depression and chronic anxiety. Its organic, woody scent uplifts the mood and has been found to have a balancing and regulating effect in people who suffer from extreme emotions and perpetual restlessness. It also helps in channelizing excessive energy and heightens concentration in those who lack focus.
Frankincense is especially indicated for those who tend to dwell on the past and let those feelings affect their present life and situation. If you are carrying the pain and burden of past hurts, Frankincense will inspire you to live in the now and appreciate the beauty of the present moment. It will help you break links with debilitating emotions like anger, hurt and resentment and allow you to gain a fresh and positive perspective on life. Like Gabriel Mojay once said, “Whenever we have allowed ourselves to become oppressed by the mundane or tied to the past- indeed, restricted or weighed-down by any for of over attachment – Frankincense can help us to break free.”
Frankincense is one the best tonics for the nervous system and its effects in treating nervous tension and nervous exhaustion have been well documented. It relaxes the mind, uplifts the spirit and helps one disconnect from unpleasant thoughts and mental chatter.
People who require some assistance in meditation, prayer and deep thinking will find this oil very beneficial.
Have you tried using Frankincense essential oil? Did you find it helpful?
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© Cristina Proaño-Carrión AROMANDINA 2014 – Aromatherapy blog – All rights reserved This information on this blog is based on traditional use of aromatherapy and it does not intend to diagnose or treat any condition. This information should not be used as a substitute for medical counseling with a health care professional. No part of this blog may be reproduced in whole or in part without the explicit written permission of Aromandina.