The Benefits of Frankincense Essential Oil

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Researchers have set out to explore the anti-cancer potential of frankincense.
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Versatile and potent, frankincense oil has been used for thousands of years.
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Frankincense trees are native to dry regions in Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

If I was stranded on a deserted island and could choose only one essential oil to have with me, I would select frankincense, an oil that is both versatile and potent. Perhaps that’s why it has been in use for thousands of years and considered a precious gift according to Christian beliefs — the perfect present from three wise men.

Healing with Frankincense Essential Oil

While frankincense can be used for a host of health concerns, here are a few of its many amazing healing properties:

Skin, Nail and Scalp Antimicrobial: An exciting study in the journal Letters in Applied Microbiology found that not only was frankincense effective against several organisms linked to skin, nail and scalp infections, it also helped break down the biofilms that often underlie these difficult problems. Biofilms are thin, potentially health-damaging layers of microorganisms that secrete substances to help ensure their survival in or on the body. The presence of biofilms is usually a factor in infections that are difficult to eradicate. Earlier research in the same journal also found frankincense helpful against Candida albicans and Staphylococcus aureus biofilms. Frankincense essential oil is one that may be safe to apply directly to skin, nail and scalp infections; however, some experts recommend never using essential oils undiluted. If you want to try it, use caution and test the oil on a sensitive patch of skin, then wait 48 hours. Otherwise, use the oil diluted in a carrier oil — three to four drops of essential oil in a teaspoon of carrier oil.

Multipurpose Antibacterial: Frankincense is effective against many other types of bacteria, in addition to those of the skin, nail and scalp. In one study, researchers found that the essential oil showed significant antibacterial action against the three types of bacteria tested, which included E. coli, Bacillus subtilis and S. aureus. These antibiotic-resistant bacteria are linked with food poisoning and other serious health-damaging infections. In addition to directly killing the bacteria, the oil prevented the bacteria from proliferating. The oil also demonstrated antioxidant capabilities, which means it can destroy harmful free radicals linked to cellular and tissue damage.

Oral Health: Because of its antibacterial and antimicrobial qualities, frankincense is a good supporter of oral health. To use it, look for toothpastes that incorporate frankincense, or make a homemade mouthwash using high-quality essential oil.

Anti-Pain Power: Researchers set out to determine the validity of frankincense as a traditional remedy for arthritis, muscle and stomach pain. They validated its natural analgesic effects and effectiveness, and for these types of pain frankincense may be applied directly to affected areas (use caution, or dilute in carrier oil such as fractionated coconut oil for sensitive skin). Some health experts recommend using internally, but always consult a medical professional before doing so.

Mood Booster: In a study published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, a natural compound in frankincense was found to have antidepressant qualities. The compound, known as incensole acetate (IA), can regulate hormones secreted by the hypothalamus, pituitary and adrenal glands. The hypothalamus and pituitary glands are located in the brain and are involved in mood regulation, while the adrenal glands sit atop the kidneys and help address stress in the body. The researchers concluded that IA has potential as a novel treatment for depression.

Wrinkle Reducer: Numerous small-scale studies found that daily use of frankincense essential oil diluted in a carrier oil such as coconut or sunflower reduced the appearance of wrinkles and sun damage. It may also be useful to reduce stretch marks and eczema.

Using Frankincense Essential Oil

There are many frankincense essential oil products on the market, but they’re not all of equal quality. When choosing any essential oil, look for one that has been reviewed by independent third-party laboratory testing.

High-quality frankincense essential oil is one oil I sometimes recommend be used neat (undiluted); however, some experts recommend always diluting essential oils. As previously mentioned, always conduct a 48-hour skin test of frankincense essential oil diluted in the carrier oil of your choice prior to more extensive use. If you have sensitive skin, dilute three to five drops of frankincense essential oil in one teaspoon of carrier oil such as sweet almond or fractionated coconut oil (a liquid version of coconut oil).

To benefit from its ability to disinfect and freshen the air, diffuse five drops of frankincense in an essential oil diffuser (preferably not an oil burner, as heating the oil can destroy its therapeutic properties). Diffuse for up to an hour.

Frankincense is classified as a base note, meaning that when added to essential oil blends it tends to last longer than many other oils. Usually base notes should comprise between 5 and 20 percent of a blend. Frankincense adds a rich, warm, incense-like quality to essential oil blends.

For a frankincense natural beauty recipe visit:
Frankincense Antiwrikle Cream

Michelle Schoffro Cook, Ph.D., Dnm, is the international best-selling author of 60 Seconds to Slim, Be Your Own Herbalist, and The Cultured Cook. DrMichelleCook.com.


Frankincense and Cancer

Because frankincense is a well-documented anti-inflammatory, researchers have set out to explore its anti-cancer potential. Several studies investigating frankincense’s anti-cancer effects have found positive results. In one study, frankincense oil appeared to suppress bladder cancer cell viability; another found it effective against pancreatic tumors. Other research suggests components of frankincense may make it a useful adjunct for conventional cancer therapies. Although the research is promising, more studies are needed.

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