By Dr. Josh Axe
Essential oils have been used for thousands of years as part of the practice of aromatherapy. They're sourced from leaves, stems or roots of plants that are known for their health properties.
Frankincense, sometimes referred to as olibanum, is one of the most popular types of essential oils used in aromatherapy. It’s known for its peaceful and calming scent, and it can even be used in cleaning and deodorizing your home.
To explore an essential oil that’s been known for its precious nature and versatile uses, look no further than frankincense.
What Is Frankincense Essential Oil?
Frankincense oil is from the genus Boswellia and sourced from the resin of the Boswellia carterii, Boswellia frereana or Boswellia serrata trees that's commonly grown in Somalia and regions of Pakistan. This tree is different from many others in that it can grow with very little soil in dry and desolate conditions.
The word frankincense comes from the term “franc encens,” which means quality incense in old French. Frankincense has been associated with many different religions over the years, especially the Christian religion, as it was one of the first gifts given to Jesus by the wise men.
What does frankincense smell like? Its aroma is a combination of pine, lemon and woody scents. Historically, the tree’s whole resin, extract and essential oils were used in Chinese and Ayurvedic practices.
Approximately 60 percent of frankincense resin is made up of oil and the remainder is made up of terpenes, ethyl acetate, octyl acetate and methylanisole.
Benefits and Top Uses
Each frankincense species offers unique benefits. Here’s a quick breakdown of the three potential benefits:
- Boswellia serrata, a tree native to India, generally supports a healthy response to oxidative stress.
- Boswellia frereana, which is native to northern Somalia, generally supports a healthy response to inflammation.
- Boswellia carterii, a tree native to the Arabian Peninsula and northeastern Africa, generally supports overall health.
Combining these three frankincense trees allows us to take advantage of the species’ impactful properties and offers a range of everyday uses.
Frankincense oil is used by either inhaling the oil or absorbing it through the skin, usually mixed with a carrier oil, such as coconut oil or jojoba oil. It can be added to a diffuser, inhaled directly from the bottle, applied topically to the bottoms of your feet or added to your favorite skin moisturizer. You can also add it to your natural home cleanser.
Here are some ideas on how to add frankincense into your everyday routine:
1. Soothing Bath Soak
Inhaling the aroma of frankincense oil promotes a feeling of peace, relaxation and satisfaction.
Want to know how to use frankincense oil for soothing relief? Simply add a few drops of frankincense oil to a hot bath. This is an excellent way to unwind and some people even believe that the fragrance of frankincense can increase your intuition and spiritual connection.
2. Natural Household Cleaner
Frankincense oil makes for a natural home cleaner and deodorizer. It can simply be diffused at home to help create a clean-smelling atmosphere. It can also be added to a homemade home cleaner and used directly on surfaces.
3. DIY Products
Frankincense oil is a great addition to your regimen. Look for natural oral care products that contain frankincense oil, especially if you enjoy the aroma. You can also consider making your own toothpaste by mixing frankincense oil with baking soda.
4. Promote Healthy Skin
Frankincense essential oil helps to promote healthy skin and give you a beautiful glow when mixed with your favorite skin creams or oils.
Add six drops of oil to one ounce of unscented oil and apply it directly to the skin with your fingers or a clean cotton ball. You can also add a few drops of frankincense to your natural face wash or favorite moisturizer.
5. “A Breath of Fresh Air”
Frankincense essential oil may help to offer a “breath of fresh air” when diffused. You can also add a few drops to a cloth and inhale for the benefits, or simply use an oil diffuser and enjoy!
6. Promote a Sense of Peace
Applying a few drops of frankincense to the bottoms of your feet will promote a feeling of peace and relief. It can help you to unwind in the evening.
Want to learn a little more about frankincense? Here are some interesting facts on this popular plant species:
- Frankincense has been used for thousands of years, and it’s referenced in the Bible when the three wise men brought the infant Jesus gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.
- There are several species of frankincense found throughout the world. Each species has unique benefits.
- Frankincense contains a compound called alpha-pinene, which is also found in wild orange, cypress and rosemary essential oils.
Our Frankincense Essential Oil
Ancient Nutrition’s Frankincense Essential Oil features three forms of frankincense: Boswellia serrata, carterii and frereana. This makes up the “Trinity” frankincense that’s unlike any other.
For us, quality is key, which is why our oils are sourced from plants grown without the use of prohibited chemical pesticides and fertilizers, toxic human sewage sludge, biosolids or toxic solvents. Our frankincense essential oil is certified USDA Organic and non-GMO product that’s free of synthetic fragrances.
Oils That Blend Well With Frankincense Oil
Frankincense blends well with other calming essential oils, especially our USDA Certified Organic Lavender Essential Oil, which has a clean scent and helps to support feelings of relaxation.
Frankincense also blends well with our USDA Certified Organic Lemon Essential Oil, which has a fresh, invigorating scent and also works as a natural deodorizer in your home.
We recommend using frankincense aromatically and topically. Before applying it to your skin, it’s best to perform a small patch test to rule out potential allergens. A great way to start using frankincense is to rub 1-2 drops into the bottoms of your feet. Note: You should always read and follow label directions.
Dr. Josh Axe, DC, DNM, CNS, is a doctor of chiropractic, doctor of natural medicine, clinical nutritionist and author with a passion to help people get well using food and nutrition. He operates leading natural health website DrAxe.com and is co-founder of Ancient Nutrition, a health supplement company. He’s also author of the books Eat Dirt, Essential Oils: Ancient Medicine, Keto Diet, Collagen Diet and the upcoming Ancient Remedies.