Frankincense oil was used in ancient religious practices, and science confirms its ability to heal. Here’s how you can use this fragrant oil to enrich your life.
You probably know frankincense from the incense isle of your local health food store. However, this potent resin offers so much more than just a great fragrance.
Frankincense essential oil was revered for thousands of years for its medicinal properties. Modern research is finally verifying these claims, while uncovering new hidden benefits of frankincense oil.
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What Is Frankincense Oil?
Frankincense oil is extracted from the resin of the Boswellia tree, which is native to the Middle East, Africa, and India. This ancient oil was originally used as incense in religious ceremonies, and was even one of Jesus’ first gifts from the wise men.
The ancient world used frankincense to fight inflammation and calm asthma. Modern research reveals that certain compounds in frankincense oil, most notably terpenes and boswellic acid, support these ancient uses and reveal many more.
From boosting gut health to reducing pain, here are the top 10 reasons you might want to stock your wellness cabinet with this potent oil.
10 Benefits of Frankincense Oil
1. Eases Gut Problems
If you’re suffering from an inflamed gut like Crohn’s disease, frankincense oil might be able to help. It contains strong anti-inflammatory compounds that can help ease stomach irritation.
One study showed that frankincense was as effective as a popular drug for reducing Crohn’s symptoms. Another found that daily supplementation of frankincense daily for six weeks was as effective as a prescription drug for treating chronic ulcerative colitis. (1, 2, 3)
Frankincense oil can also help stop severe diarrhea. One recent study found that patients with chronic diarrhea were cured sooner when taking Boswellia serrata extract, which is the source of frankincense oil, versus a control group. (4)
2. Improves Asthma
You can also battle breathing problems with frankincense oil. One study found that 70 percent of patients with asthma experienced improvements in symptoms like shortness of breath after taking frankincense daily for six weeks. (5)
Another study found that frankincense oil helped improve lung capacity of asthma patients, resulting in fewer attacks. (6) Researchers believe this is because frankincense oil reduces the production of compounds called leukotrienes, which constrict bronchial muscles. (7)
3. Reduces Inflammation
Inflammation is at the root of nearly all diseases, so getting your hands on some frankincense oil might help keep you healthy. Frankincense contains boswellic acids, natural compounds that act as powerful anti-inflammatories. These work with your immune system to help reduce certain compounds that stimulate inflammation.
As we saw earlier, frankincense oil helps reduce production of inflammatory immune compounds called leukotrienes. By reducing them, we also reduce uncomfortable tissue swelling. (8)
4. Aids in Gum Health
You might also make your dentist happy when you use frankincense oil. Specifically, its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties may help improve your gum health.
One study found that frankincense oil fights a certain bacteria that causes aggressive gum disease. Researchers theorize its antibacterial properties combined with its ability to fight inflammation could be uniquely excellent for gum health. (9)
5. Soothes Arthritis
Frankincense oil might also help achy, arthritic joints. Its ability to regulate certain compounds in your immune system makes it an excellent anti-inflammatory and pain reliever for arthritis sufferers.
One study showed that using frankincense significantly improved arthritic knee pain after just eight weeks of treatment. Other studies show the combination of frankincense with curcumin, the active compound in turmeric, was more effective than a popular anti-inflammatory prescription in treating osteoarthritis. (10)
6. Fights Cancer
You might even be able to fight cancer using frankincense oil! Studies find that the boswellic acids prevent DNA from forming in cancer cells, which could stop or slow their growth. (11)
Specifically, frankincense shows promise for bladder cancer. One study found that frankincense selectively targets bladder cancer cells in test tubes, while leaving normal cells unharmed. (12) Other research shows frankincense is effective against breast, prostate, colon, and skin cancers. (13, 14, 15, 16)
7. Kills Bacteria
If you’re dealing with any type of bacterial infection, it’s good to know that frankincense oil can help fight it.
Interestingly, the combination of frankincense and myrrh essential oils was used since at least 1500 BC for their antibacterial prowess. Studies prove that combining these two oils are more effective than when used separately. (17)
8. Boosts Memory
While human studies are limited, many studies on animals show that frankincense can help improve short-term and long-term memory. One animal study found that frankincense was able to prevent deficiency of certain thyroid hormones that are linked to learning and memory disorders.
Traditionally, frankincense was used to help enhance memories in the elderly and on pregnant women to increase the learning ability of their children. (18) More research is needed to verify these claims, but animal studies so far show promise.
9. Enhances Fertility in Males
Frankincense is used in Jordan as an aphrodisiac and to promote fertility. While human studies are needed to verify this practice, animal research shows promise here.
One study on male rats found that frankincense increased sperm motility. In other words, the sperm is more likely to survive the journey to successfully fertilize an egg, leading to pregnancy. (19)
10. Heals Irritated Skin
You can also use frankincense to give your skin a healthy glow. Studies show that it helps reduce redness and irritation while helping to even out skin tone.
Plus, certain compounds in frankincense are similar to steroids, which help gently heal and soothe irritated skin. (20)
How to Use Frankincense Essential Oil
There are lots of ways to use frankincense essential oil to reap the above benefits. Here are a few ideas:
- Sprinkle a few drops in a hot bath to soothe skin.
- Add several drops to natural household disinfectants.
- Mix six drops with one ounce of olive oil, and apply as a face serum.
- Add 2–3 drops to ½ ounce of carrier oil and use as a vapor rub on your chest.
- Add to a diffuser to relieve asthma and cough.
Frankincense oil should always be diluted in a carrier oil like almond oil, shea butter, or coconut oil when you’re using it topically. Never apply full-strength oils directly to your skin. It might cause a rash or stomach upset.
Frankincense may also interact with blood-thinning medications, so be sure to consult your doctor before using.
The Bottom Line
Frankincense was used medicinally for thousands of years before modern science caught onto its health benefits. From helping to reduce inflammation to possibly even fighting cancer, it’s a powerful oil you should definitely consider adding to your shelf.
To take your frankincense oil to the next level, try pairing it with the inflammation-fighting goodness of turmeric! Get THREE free bottles when you purchase just one Science Natural Max Absorption Turmeric bottle here.