Frankincense and it's Many Healing Compounds
Are you a lover of Frankincense like me? From the first time I smelled this beautiful aromatic oil, I knew that this would always be a favorite aroma of mine. The earthy, sweet, clean, and citrus and coniferous notes of Frankincense are awakening, uplifting, calming, and grounding.
Frankincense is an aromatic resin used in incense and perfumes and is obtained from the Boswellia genus trees. Boswellia is in the Burseraceae family, particularly Boswellia sacra, Boswellia carterii, Boswellia frereana, Boswellia serrata, Boswellia thurifera, and Boswellia papyrifera.
Frankincense is obtained from the resinous sap that oozes out of the Boswellia tree when the bark is respectfully cut. The sap that leaks out of the cut bark is allowed to harden and then scraped off the trunk in tear shaped droplets. This resin is edible and can be chewed like gum for oral care, ulcers, and for general physical and mental well-being.
Frankincense is derived from the Old French word francencens, meaning “high-quality incense.” The word franc in Old French meant “noble” or “pure.”
To know all the wondrous properties this wonderful plant gives us is a miracle in itself. Frankincense has been used for thousands of years in the traditional medical systems of Asia, Europe, Arabia, and Africa. It is no wonder that this was one of the gifts that the Wise Men gave to baby Jesus. Frankincense was given as an incense or perfume…a symbol of deity.
According to a famous Roman historian and botanist, Pliny the Elder, the sap from the Boswellia tree, known as Frankincense, made the Arabians the richest people on earth by the first century A.D., and is even more valuable than gold.
Frankincense was one of the best known Wise Men’s Cures. It was used as incense in spiritual ceremonies and as a substance that had proven antiseptic, analgesic, and anti-inflammatory properties. It was used to treat leprosy, toothaches, indigestion, chronic coughs, hemorrhoids, and oral health concerns. A specific type of Frankincense kills the H.Pylori bacteria which causes stomach ulcers is used as a high end chewing gum for oral and GI health.
In the Hebrew Bible, frankincense and myrrh were components of the incense ritually burned in Jerusalem’s holy temples during sacred times.
Egyptian women even used charred frankincense powder as a heavy kohl eyeliner.
Other therapeutic benefits of Frankincense are:
*stimulates brain function, memory, and intelligence (in traditional Iranian medicine, Frankincense is still consumed by pregnant women to increase the intelligence and bravery of their offspring)
*mood elevation, anxiety, depression
*used as a tonic and restorative
*used as a home remedy for colds, coughs, and congestion
*reduces pain and inflammation, especially arthritic associated issues
*assists in alleviating respiratory conditions, such as asthma and bronchitis
*aphrodisiac properties and can increase fertility in men and women
*anti-cancer properties present in the Boswellic acids
*overall gastrointestinal health
*skin health and aging skin
It is widely believed that the medicinal properties of Frankincense are in its essential oil. The oil does have many wondrous healing properties; however, the main medicinal components are contained in the Boswellic acids that are typically discarded as waste after the oil is distilled. The essential oil of Frankincense only contains trace amounts of these healing potent Boswellic acids.
The true medicinal potency lies in the Boswellic acids. The acids are present in the natural oleo gum resin of the tree, therefore obtaining the natural resin is of importance for medicinal purposes.
One way we can use the medicinal potency of the Boswellic acids in the resin is to chew it and to make a tea out of it known as a Frankincense infusion. This infusion has been used in many cultures and has powerful anti-inflammatory and immune supportive properties.
There are some types of Frankincense resin that are not as rich in Boswellic acids. I have included a link below for a type of Frankincense that is high in these potent boswellic acids.
There are also some links below for you to read further on the potency of the aqueous solution of Boswellic acid.
To make the tea:
1 tsp of Frankincense tears to 1-2 cups of water
Large tears should be crushed with a mortar and pestle or by putting the tears in a bag and slightly crushing with a hammer.
Place the tears in the glass jar and pour either room temperature or just boiled water on top. Cover and steep for 12-18 hours. The water will be milky in appearance after the steeping time. If the tears do not make the water milky, then the type of Frankincense you’re using most likely does not contain the water soluble gums and does not have a high concentration of the Boswellic acids.
Drink a small amount throughout the day for therapeutic support. You may keep using the tears until the water does not cloud anymore. You may chew, eat, and swallow the used tears.
The infusion will keep in the fridge for 1-2 days.
Recommended Frankincense tears for infusion - this is the type that is used for medicine and tea in Oman:
Great quality and my favorite!
Links for this article for further reading: