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Frankincense Essential Oil Benefits: Frankly, It’s Fantastic

Frankincense in bowl.

Frankincense has become somewhat of a mythical element in most cultures and has certainly been found throughout most periods of history. The use of frankincense actually dates back to before biblical times, however, it really made a name for itself (or became popular) through the exploits of Jesus Christ and his disciples.

In fact, the first mention of frankincense was at the birth of Jesus, when the three wise men (mages) offered him frankincense, gold and myrrh as a gift.  At the time, and for roughly a century after the life of Jesus, frankincense was worth as much or more than gold because it was so rare in its pure extracted form and because it takes roughly 8 to 10 years for a tree to produce the valuable resin.

Thankfully, nowadays it’s much easier to get a hold of and is still rated as one of the most valuable essential oils – so keep reading to find out more.

What Is Frankincense Essential Oil?

The Boswellia tree is generally found in regions of Northern Africa, the Middle East and certain areas of the Mediterranean basin. As I mentioned in the introduction, the trees take roughly 8 to 10 years to mature to point where the resin can be extracted, so as you can imagine, this makes mass cultivation a necessity (in order to balance the time to quantity ratio). However, the high demand for frankincense means that over-exploitation of the Boswellia trees is quite common, which results in a decline of the overall population of the trees.

The problem arises largely because when the trees are tapped (the resin is extracted), they germinate less than 20% of their seed load, compared to roughly 82% average germination when they are not tapped. This essentially means that the trees might become endangered if the production of frankincense is not monitored closely.

Frankincense oil has been distilled for hundreds, if not thousands of years and is extracted from the resin (also known as oleoresin) of the Boswellia tree. The bark of the tree is stripped and the resin is allowed to bleed from the tree and dry, forming hard, gum-like pebbles or clusters which is how frankincense is commonly packaged or purchased.

With these hardened pebbles, you can extract the essential oil through a steam distillation process. In some cases, solvent methods are used to extract the essential oil (largely because it’s the cheaper option), however I recommend using oil that is produced through a steam distillation process because it is a lot healthier for your skin (contains less/ no impurities) and is suitable for consumption in small doses.

The most important chemicals that are extracted in this process are known as oleochemicals and they are the essential ingredients that contain all the phytonutrients and antioxidants that make frankincense so effective as a medicinal and topical treatment and is why it’s commonly used in natural skin and hair care products. These are also used as a form of cancer treatment.

Benefits Of Frakincense Essential Oil For Hair

Woman running fingers through her hair.

Frankincense essential oil for hair

Frankincense essential oil is generally used to help slow (and ultimately prevent) hair loss, as well as stimulate hair growth when applied topically to the scalp. Frankincense contains Vitamin E (although in small amounts) which help to nourish and strengthen the hair from within.

The oil also acts to inhibit the body’s production of a chemical compound known as alpha 5 – reductase, which occurs in men when testosterone gets blocked in the pores under your scalp. The testosterone reacts with the hair follicles and the reductase forms as the result of this reaction. This reductase then clogs up the pores of the hair follicles and starves them of essential nutrients and prevents the release of natural oils that keep the hairs moisturized. This means that the hairs become weaker and will eventually either break or fall out.

Besides nourishing and protecting your hairs, frankincense also works wonderfully as a natural conditioner when utilized in a hot oil treatment. To do this, heat the oil with a suitable carrier oil (coconut oil, olive oil or almond oil) and stir until blended. Then let the oil cool a bit, so that it is warm but doesn’t burn. Massage the oil into your scalp in circular motions and work your down the hair.

Following these steps, cover your with a towel or some plastic sandwich wrap and let your hair rest for at least 30 minutes (however, you can leave it in overnight as well). After this, simply rinse your hair and condition normally. You should see results after the first wash, but for the best outcome I recommend continual use on a weekly basis twice a week. You will notice that your hair is softer, has more sheen and less split ends.

Benefits Of Frankincense Essential Oil For Skin

Frankincense has natural astringent properties that make it suitable for use on your skin for a variety of reasons. It promotes the tightening of skin cells which means it can be used to help remove or slow the signs of aging by lifting your skin and removing wrinkles. It also helps to strengthen blood vessels which means your skin will retain its natural color.

The astringent agents in frankincense essential oil is also make it suitable for treating wounds as it will act as a natural coagulant which stimulates blood clotting and helps to close the wound as well as preventing later infection. The benefits of using the oil for treatment of superficial wounds is that it has no additional side-effects and will promote general skin health, instead of drying out the skin or causing any irritation.

Frankincense oil also acts as a natural cicatrisant which means that it allows for the healing of wounds, marks or scars and makes it useful for treating issues like acne or scars that have trouble healing. By blending the oil with other essential oils (such as eucalyptus oil), you can strengthen its effects on your skin and maximize the oil’s healing capabilities.

Benefits Of Frankincense Essential Oil For Lips

Close up of two mouths.

Frankincense essential oil for lips.

Frankincense is commonly used as a balm and can be used to treat sore, dry or chapped lips as well as other parts of the skin. Making some DIY lip-balm is quite easy (but could prove costly) and is a very healthy substitute for your standard over-the-counter lip balms. If you have the time, and the patience, I would highly recommend trying this recipe out. It works like a charm and will produce enough balm for you to use for weeks. You will need:

Making the balm is quite straightforward. Simply place all the ingredients (except the essential oils and Vitamin E) into a glass bowl. Then place that glass bowl on top of a pot with some water in it and bring that water to a mild heat. Allow the ingredients to melt and stir so that they blend more smoothly.

Once the ingredients are melted, take them off the pot and refrigerate for roughly an hour. Remove the now solid mixture from the fridge and add the essential oils and Vitamin E. Let the oils soak in for roughly 10 minutes. Now you’re free to cut the balm into whatever sizes or shapes you wish.

Be sure to contain them in non-BPA plastic containers or wrapping. Store in a cool dry place and apply it to your lips or the affected area. While you’re in the DIY-mood, check out some other great recipes like our DIY Lip Balm and Bath Bombs!

How To Make DIY Frankincense Essential Oil

This is a basic rundown of how the steam distillation process works, I’ll also give you a recipe for a DIY steam distillation process that’s easy and straightforward. The pebbles (or clusters) of gum-like frankincense resin are placed in a glass chamber. Water is heated in a separate chamber to produce steam. The steam then passes through a glass tube and enters the chamber in which the resin is placed.

The steam removes the essential nutrients through a process of evaporation and is then moved to a separate chamber where the vapor cools down and condensates, forming drops that make up the final product – i.e. the essential oil we know and use.

As I said earlier, steam distillation is the ideal method of distilling the frankincense essential oil because it removes any impurities and leaves you with the purest form of the extract. However, there is a way for you to extract the essential phytonutrients using natural solvents at home.

This process will be a bit costly though, and does not produce a pure form of the extraction, but it is safe for topical use and (depending on the carrier oil you use) can be safe for ingestion – again, only in small and regulated doses. To extract the oil at home you will need:

  • 500g Frankincense Resin (the amount you wish to use is up to you, I’ll list a ratio below).
  • 2 Mason Glass Jars (also depends on how much oil you would like to make).
  • Plastic Ziplock Bag.
  • Large Pot (10-30 Liters).
  • 1 Liter of Carrier Oil (preferably cold pressed Olive Oil or Jojoba Oil).
  • Metal Mesh Coffee Filter or a well cleaned Pillow Case (as filter).

First, place the frankincense resin in the ziplock bag and crush the resin into a fine powder (the finer the better) with a hammer or wooden mallet. Put some water in the pot and bring to a boil. The amount isn’t specifically important, but make sure that you have enough water so that I doesn’t run out (maybe 2-3 liters minimum). Now add the crushed resin to the glass jar and the oil. The oil should be added at 2 parts to the resin (so 500g resin, 1 liter of oil and so on).

Now place the glass jar into the large pot and secure it in place with a spring clamp, a large clothing peg (whatever works). You can also weigh the glass jar down with some marbles. Make sure that you continually stir the oil in the glass, breaking up any clumps that may form in the oil. Do this for 3 hours and monitor the substance closely. You should remove the oil once no more resin can be dissolved.

When filtering the oil, make sure you do so while it is still hot, as it’s easier to handle this way. Place your mesh filter or pillow case over a separate glass mason jar and pour the hot oil slowly over this to filter out any sediments that are contained in the oil. Whatever gathers in the filter, you can use as compost or throw away.

Now, seal the lid of the oil and let it sit for roughly a day or two. Wait until more sediment gathers at the bottom of the glass jar and then filter it again. This, more refined sediment can be used for external use and makes for a good skin cream and moisturizer. What’s left in the new jar is the oil that you can use for topical or internal use.

Frankincense Essential Oil As A Cancer Treatment

Firstly, it’s important for me to stress that I am not stating or suggestion that using frankincense or it’s essential oil can cure cancer. If that were true, the world would indeed be a brighter place. However, I do believe that frankincense can be used with a selection of other natural products to help treat both the cancer itself and the symptoms thereof.

One of the most important elements contained in frankincense that make it valuable in fighting off cancer cells is the high content of beta-elemene in the essential oil. Beta Elemene is an anti-mutagenic and apoptotic agent (programmed to kill certain types of cells) which is an important ingredient regularly used in chemotherapy.

Current research has shown that frankincense (and it’s essential oil) is most specifically effective in treating ovarian cancer as the beta-elemene works to kill off cancer cells and slow the proliferation of the cells in the lining of ovary. It has been shown that frankincense also works to treat cancer of the bladder, breasts, skin and stomach – however, scientists have not yet been able to discover how it does what it does but the effects have been noted.

Treating your cancer with frankincense is more ideal than chemotherapy as it doesn’t only help to kill the cancer cells, but will promote a healthy immune system in general. As most know (even those who are lucky enough to have never experienced it), chemotherapy is incredibly stressful to our bodies. For now, it’s the recommended solution for treating cancer. However, many people are looking towards healthier, more natural treatments for cancer in its early stages as overcoming the disease via a natural path is possible and does happen.

As a matter of fact, a close friend of mine’s mother was diagnosed with breast cancer about 5 years ago. She remained incredibly strong though and was lucky because she caught it really early. She treated the cancer with only natural products (juices, smoothies, a very strict diet, exercise, meditation and a series of essential oils) and managed to rid herself of the disease just after a year of finding out about it.

Since then, she’s stuck to a strict diet and exercise routine (she also takes a few more precautions in terms of how long she stays out in the sun and any products she uses) and generally leads a more natural lifestyle, but she managed to cure the disease without having to turn to harmful chemotherapy treatments.

Had this never happened so close to me, I would have always had my doubts about treating such a serious disease with natural products. But having seen the effects and ultimate cure first-hand, I can say with confidence that the natural option can work for you so long as you seek consistent medical check-ups and advice, and given that you manage to catch the disease early.

So bare that in mind, because as we get older, our chances of getting cancer go up. Routine check-ups and general awareness of your health is an important factor in preventing and deterring this terrible illness.

Frankincense and Myrrh Oil: A Potent Combination

Frankincense and Myrrh are generally used together due to the fact that they share similar health benefits and are generally considered very compatible in terms of their medicinal properties and aromatic properties.

Due to the fact that both frankincense and myrrh come from trees that are closely related, they share a lot of the phytonutrients and chemical compounds that make these natural products such powerful healing agents and natural medicines.

Because of this, combining both frankincense and myrrh can magnify the healing properties of both organic materials and create a stronger and more effective healing agent.

Frankincense essential oil benefits have been known to include antiseptic, antibacterial, anti-fungal, cicatrisant, analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties to name but a few and myrrh has many of the same. So by combining the two, you actively increase the potential for healing your ailments and maximize the effectiveness of the natural products as a form of medication.

For those who have tried either frankincense or myrrh to treat a specific ailment or infection without much luck as of yet, I would recommend combing the two essential oils together in a suitable carrier oil like coconut (for internal use) or almond oil (for topical and external applications) for faster results.

You can also increase the dosage in small amounts – but be sure to monitor your body’s reaction to the increased doses as you may experience adverse reactions.

Jasmine, Citronella, Peppermint, Apricot Kernel – all of the essential oils you need are covered here at Maple Holistics!

Conclusion

I highly recommend using frankincense essential oil on a daily basis or for a variety of ailments, so it’s always worth having a vial in your home. Many consider it to be one of, if not the most potent essential oils available on the market. It can strengthen and boost your immune system, treat hair and skin conditions as well as treat wounds or infections.

Most notably, the oil works well as a treatment for cancer – which is really an incredible alternative to the harmful pharmaceutical treatments that will literally reduce your immune system to less than half of its full health. However, I always recommend seeking a professional doctor’s opinion before using any essential oil (especially when treating cancer). Try to avoid it if you’re pregnant as well as to apply it in small patches on your skin in order to test for any possibility of an allergic reaction.

Other than that – I suggest at least trying this essential oil once, because I’m quite sure that you’ll be blown away by it’s natural potency and healing qualities. It’s also highly effective at relieving anxiety and stress when used in aromatherapy and will help to reduce inflammation (or swelling) of the brain – a common cause of tension headaches. Ultimately, your life will be better off after using this oil on a daily basis than it was before. That much, I’m sure of.

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