Frankincense essential oil’s botanical name is Boswellia carterii.
Frankincense oil is of a thin consistency and is usually clear and silvery. A high quality oil will have a slight green tinge. An oil with a brown or yellow tinge is more common and affordable but may not be as beneficial. The oil is typically sold in small glass bottles with a dropper attached to the lid.
Method Of Extraction
The resin of the Boswellia tree is used to make frankincense oil. Frankincense oil has a few more steps in the distraction process than other essential oils. To reach the resin inside the tree, small horizontal cuts are made in the bark. This allows the milky resin to seep through. It crystallizes into a teardrop shape, usually after a week. This process is then repeated two or three more times, allowing the best quality of resin to eventually make it to the surface. The resin is removed from the tree and allowed to dry in a cool, dark place until completely hardened. Frankincense oil is then extracted from the resin through steam distillation. In steam distillation, the pieces of resin are placed into a still. Steam is then forced over the resin and the heat of the steam releases the oil from within. The oil molecules evaporate into the steam as they leave the resin. The resulting steam that now also contains oil molecules is directed through a cooling system. Once cooled to a liquid, the water and oil are separated, leaving frankincense essential oil. It is then packaged and distributed.
Frankincense is mostly known by the public as one of the gifts given to the Messiah by the Magi in the Bible. But there are many more accounts of the oil in several historical sources. Frankincense was harvested and exported by Southern Arabia and exported to many areas throughout Europe, Africa and Asia for thousands of years. Some records show that the oil was being produced as far back as 7,000 BC. It was used during religious ceremonies by the Babylonians and Assyrians and also by the Egyptians during the embalming process and for cosmetic reasons. The Greeks and Romans also imported frankincense to use during religious ceremonies and festivals.
Part Of Tree That Is Used
When making frankincense essential oil, the resin from deep within the bark is used. Generally, the deeper the resin is in the tree, the higher quality of oil that will be produced.
The scent of frankincense oil is woody, earthy and spicy with a citrus top note. It is a very rich scent and is sweeter and fresher than the raw resin that the oil is made from.
Where Is It Produced
Most of the world’s frankincense essential oil is produced in African and Arabian regions. Some of the countries that produce the most oil include Yemen, Oman, Somalia and Ethiopia. The country known for producing the highest quality oil is Oman, which also provides the most ancient form of the oil.
What Does It Blend Well With
When coming up with your own essential oil blends, try frankincense oil with bergamot, black pepper, camphor, cinnamon, cyrpress, geranium, grapefruit, lavender, lemon, mandarin, neroli, orange, palmarosa, patchouli, pine, rose, sandalwood, vetiver or ylang ylang.
Most Popular Uses
Frankincense oil has been used to tackle a wide variety of different medical and body conditions. Here is a list of the most common ways that the oil is used.
-Digestive Disorders: Frankincense oil can stimulate the secretion of gastric juices, bile and acids. It also stimulates motion throughout the digestive tract to allow food to move more easily. The oil can also help to prevent gas in the stomach and may be just as effective as over the counter antacid tablets.
-Oral Health: Frankincense oil has antiseptic qualities that can prevent bad breath, cavities, toothaches, mouth sores and other types of oral infections. It can be used in homemade mouthwashes and toothpastes or gargled when mixed with water.
-Relax the Mind: Frankincense oil can be used as an effective sedative. The oil can be used to calm the mind and relax the body while it lessens stress and anxiety. Studies have shown that the oil has a similar effect on the brain and hormones as many prescribed anti-anxiety medications.
-Colds and Respiratory Problems: By adding frankincense oil to a diffuser or a bowl of hot water and inhaling the steam, it can help to alleviate breathing problems associated with asthma, bronchitis, colds and sinusitis. The oil may also be mixed with a carrier oil and applied directly to the chest. It can help to break up phlegm deposits, making breathing easier, and can also eliminate the cause of an infection, if present.
-Uterine Health: Frankincense oil can be used to maintain good uterine health. It encourages healthy blood flow to the region and regulates hormonal balances. It can prevent uterine cysts from developing and may be a successful treatment for the symptoms of endometriosis.
Possible Side Effects And Reactions
Frankincense oil should be used with caution on children. It should also not be used by pregnant or breastfeeding women. As with all essential oils, it should be diluted properly before application. Keep the oil away from eyes, mucus membranes and sensitive areas of the body.
While frankincense oil is considered likely safe when consumed in food, it is only classified as possibly safe when used as a medicine by taking the oil by mouth. It is important to know that it is likely unsafe to take large amounts of the undiluted oil by mouth. It can irritate the mouth, throat and stomach. It is therefore recommended to always mix the oil with food or drink if taking internally.
Individuals with bleeding disorders should also use the oil cautiously, as it may increase the risk of bleeding and bruising. While the oil may be able to help with respiratory problems, it should not be directly inhaled by anyone with asthma or bronchitis before discussing the treatment with a doctor. It is safe to use in a diffuser though around people with these conditions.