Made from the resin of the Boswellia tree, frankincense essential oil has been used for thousands of years. Very few essential oils rival the therapeutic and healing properties of frankincense. The oil offers a woody, spicy aroma and you can benefit via inhalation or topical application on the skin. Just remember to purchase high-quality frankincense essential oil in order to reap the impressive list of benefits.
What Is Frankincense Essential Oil?
The Boswellia tree commonly grows in Somalia and regions of Pakistan. These trees differ from many others in that they can grow in very little soil in desolate, dry conditions. The word “frankincense” comes from the term “franc ecens,” which translates to “quality incense” in old French. Frankincense has been tied to several religions over the years, especially Christianity, as it was one of the first gifts given to baby Jesus by the wise men.
Nowadays, many people use it in aromatherapy for its anti-inflammatory and potentially anti-cancer properties. Read on to learn more about the top five health benefits of frankincense essential oil.
Can Kill Harmful Germs And Bacteria
Frankincense essential oil is naturally astringent and exhibits antiseptic, disinfectant, and antimicrobial properties. It has the ability to eliminate germs from the common cold and flu that exist in the air. In some cases, it can be an excellent ingredient in homemade, non-toxic household cleaners. A lab study suggests that the combination of frankincense and myrrh essential oils is particularly effective against airborne pathogens. These two oils have a long history of use, dating back to 1,500 BCE. They have synergistic and additive properties when exposed to certain microorganisms.
May Improve Gut Health
As previously mentioned, frankincense essential oil exhibits anti-inflammatory properties, which may improve gut function. A 2017 study found that combining frankincense essential oil with other herbal medicines reduced abdominal pain, bloating, and even depression that resulted from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Similarly, a small study found that taking a 250 milligram (mg) supplement of Boswellia daily for six months improved IBS symptoms. Another study found that taking extract from the Boswellia tree daily for four weeks improved symptoms of participants with mild ulcerative colitis in remission.
Helps Reduce Stress Reactions
One of the most popular ways to use frankincense essential oil is by inhaling its aroma via a diffuser. Several studies found that inhaling frankincense essential oil may help to slow heart rate and lower blood pressure. This makes it highly beneficial for those with anxiety or high stress, as it helps alleviate symptoms without causing unwanted drowsiness or other side effects from anxiety medications. A 2019 study found that incensole acetate and incensole, two compounds in frankincense essential oil, may activate ion channels in the brain that alleviate depression and anxiety. More studies are needed on this matter, but initial research is very promising.
The powerful antioxidants in frankincense essential oil work to fight early signs of aging. Free radicals in the body are highly reactive molecules with unpaired electrons. As they move around the body in search of electrons to pair with, they can damage DNA, accelerating the aging process. Antioxidants slow the effects and damage caused by free radicals, which works to keep the skin looking young and healthy. A review in the Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine states that frankincense oil reduces skin irritation and redness. The studies in the review suggest that the pentacyclic triterpene structure of frankincense essential oil may be the reason it has a soothing effect on the skin.
May Have Anti-Cancer Properties
Many of the studies surrounding frankincense essential oil’s anti-cancer properties are still preliminary, but initial research if very intriguing. Test-tube studies suggest that the boswellic acids in the essential oil may prevent cancer cells from spreading. So far, these test-tube studies indicate that frankincense essential oil may fight against breast, prostate, skin, pancreatic, and colon cancer cells. One study involved patients being treated for brain tumors. The participants took 4,500 mg of boswellic acid extract per day, and the researches observed a reduction in brain edema (accumulation of fluid in the brain). The participants in that study also were able to lower their dose of other medications. More research is still needed in regards to frankincense essential oil’s ability to fight certain cancers.