Most of us are familiar with frankincense from religious ceremonies when a piece of the white aromatic resin is put on a charcoal fire.
Frankincense is one of the oldest fragrances.
It was traded 5000 years ago in the Arabian Peninsula and North Africa, where it was valued as high as gold.
The frankincense route runs from southern Arabia to the Mediterranean, and it is one of the oldest trade routes in the world.
People in Egypt used it for embalming mummies.
The Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches have been using it for a very long time because they believe that it can chase away evil spirits.
The frankincense has been used not only in aromatherapy, cosmetics, massage and religious rituals, but also in health treatment.
The healing properties of the frankincense
Ayurvedic medicine has been using the Indian frankincense (Boswellia serrata) for thousands of years to treat arthritis, heal wounds, strengthen the female hormonal system and to protect against pathogenic microorganisms.
According to Ayurveda, daily burning of frankincense in the home brings good health to all family members.
The Middle Eastern countries have been using it since ancient times for maintaining oral health. The local people have a habit of chewing it in resin form, which improves the health of the teeth and gums, and prevents infection due to its antimicrobial properties.
In the West, the frankincense is most known for its anti-inflammatory properties.
Its active medicinal ingredients are: sesquiterpene hydrocarbons, monoterpenes, diterpenes and boswellic acid.
Boswellic acid is the most important ingredient of frankincense. It has a strong anti-inflammatory effect and effectively relieves pain caused by arthritis, but, unlike conventional drugs, doesn’t cause side effects.
The frankincense improves circulation and blood flow through the vessels damaged by inflammation, which further helps the joints endangered by arthritis. Its powerful anti-inflammatory effect helps with Crohn’s disease and cysts.
Some studies have shown that the frankincense may help in the treatment of several types of cancer – malignant melanoma, bladder cancer and brain tumor.
It was confirmed that the extract of frankincense, incensole acetate, reduces neurological damage, eases depression and anxiety, prevents vascular disease and reduces bad cholesterol.
In aromatherapy, the frankincense is used for relieving stress, tension, hysteria and depression.
Having a massage or a bath with frankincense oil can really help with menstrual pain and inflammation of the bladder.
A therapy with frankincense oil has a beneficial effect on the respiratory system and helps with bronchitis, asthma, sinusitis, frequent colds and allergies.
This plant is excellent for skin care – it helps with acne, scars, stretch marks, wrinkles and wounds.
There have never been any significant side effects observed from using frankincense.
Recent toxicological studies have confirmed that the extract of frankincense is safe for outdoor and indoor use.
Do not use frankincense if you take blood thinners, or if you suffer from high blood pressure, are pregnant or breast-feeding.
Do not use pure frankincense oil, it must be diluted in base oil or water.
Uses of frankincense
The frankincense and its products are imported from India. The frankincense resin is collected throughout the whole year and is used for treatment.
The edible frankincense must be transparent without any black or brown dots. It is usually slightly yellowish with a touch of green, and it is chewed like a chewing gum.
You can also use frankincense in capsules.
The Boswellia tincture can be bought or made at home by pouring 80 percent alcohol on the resin.
You can also purify your home by putting the resin on charcoal fire, or by lightning up some frankincense sticks.
You can find frankincense and its products in herbal pharmacies and health food stores.