Uses of Frankincense Essential Oil
If you are like me, the first thing that you think of when hearing the word frankincense is not necessarily essential oils and well being. But, it is time to think of frankincense in a new way- it is one of the most brain-health posting and cell-building essential oils readily available. Frankincense is not only versatile, it is potent- and it isn't particularly expensive either.
Frankincense, an aromatic resin harvested from boswellia trees, is native to dry regions in Africa, Asia and the Middle East.
Healing with Frankincense Essential Oil
While frankincense can be used for a host of health concerns, the following are just a few:
Skin, Nail and Scalp Antimicrobial
An exciting study in the journal Letters in Applied Microbiology found that not only was frankincense effective against several organisms linked to skin, nail and scalp infections, it also helped break down the biofilms that often underlie these difficult problems. Biofilms are thin, potentially health-damaging layers of microorganisms that secrete substances to help ensure their survival in or on the body. Usually infections that are difficult to get rid of are in part a result of these biofilms being present. Experts suggest applying diluted frankincense essential oil (see below) directly to skin, nail and scalp infections for treatment. Always test sensitivity on a small patch of skin prior to applying large areas.
Essential Oil Dilution
Dilute essential oil in a carrier oil such as organic sweet almond oil, or fractioned coconut oil
3-4 drops of essential oil to 1 teaspoon carrier oil
Frankincense is effective against many other types of bacteria as well. In one study, researchers found that essential oil showed significant antibacterial action against the three types of bacteria tested, which included E. coli, Bacillus subtilis and S aureus. These antibiotic-resistant bacteria are linked with food poisoning and other serious health damaging infections. In addition to directly killing the bacteria, the oil prevented the bacteria from proliferating. The oil also demonstrated antioxidant capabilities, which means it can destroy harmful free radicals linked to cellular and tissue damage. Simple fruit and veggie washes can be made using frankincense essential oils to reap the antimicrobial benefits.
Because of its antibacterial and antimicrobial qualities, frankincense is a good supporter of oral health. To use it, look for toothpastes that incorporate frankincense, or make a homemade mouthwash using high-quality, organic essential oil.
Researchers set out to determine the benefits of frankincense as a traditional remedy for arthritis, muscle and stomach pains. They validated its natural analgesic effects and effectiveness, and for theses types of pain, frankincense may be applied directly to the affected areas in diluted form (see above for details on deletion). Some health experts recommend using internally, but always consult a medical professional before doing so.
In a study published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, a natural compound know as incense acetate (or IA) in frankincense, was found to have antidepressant qualities. This compound can regulate hormones secreted by the hypothalamus, pituitary and adrenal glands. The hypothalamus and pituitary glands are located in the brain and are involve in mood regulation, while the adrenal glands sit above the kidneys and help address stress in the body- researchers have found that IA has the potential for being a new and exciting treatment for depression.
Numerous small-scale studies have found that daily use of frankincense essential in dilution (see recipe for Frankincense Anti-wrinkle Skin Smoothing Cream), reduced the appearance of wrinkles, sun damage and effectively reduced stretch marks and eczema.
Using Frankincense Essential Oil
While there are many frankincense essential oil products on the market, most have been diluted with cheaper oils or contain harsh solvents used during processing. Remember, the closer to its natural source a product or ingredient is, the better! This makes it critical to choose an essential oil that has independent third-party laboratory testing, and ideally organic certification. High-quality frankincense is one that I often use in undiluted form, however some experts suggest always diluting essential oils. Opt for high-quality, organic, read the packaging always, and consult a medical professional if you have any questions.
As previously stated, for topical use for the purpose of massage or for sensitive skin, dilute three to five drops of lemon essential oil in one teaspoon of carrier oil such as organic sweet almond oil or organic fractioned (liquified) coconut oil. Always do a 48-hour skin test when using new topical products.
In addition to using frankincense essential oil in skin care or household cleaning products, you can also diffuse it to disinfect and freshen the air in a diffuser; simply add about 5 drops to a diffuser and diffuse for up to an hour. Note that heating frankincense can destroy its therapeutic properties, so stick with a reed diffuser.
Frankincense, which adds a rich, warm incense-like quality, is classified as a base note, meaning that when added to essential oil blends, it tends to last longer than other oils. Usually base notes should comprise between 5 and 20% of a blend.