Frankincense – A Sacred Gift


Other names:  Boswellia carterii, Olibanum, Indian Frankincense, Arabic Frankincense, and Salai guggal

Frankincense is a dried resin which comes from a species of Boswellia tree that is mostly found in Ethiopia, Egypt, and parts of Saudi Arabia.  Some of these trees are so hardy that they are found growing through rock.  When the bark of the tree is damaged or cut, the tree secretes this resin known as “tears”.  Frankincense, either the tears or the pure essential oil, is most valued for its aromatic fragrance making it a common ingredient in incense, perfume, and potpourris.


Frankincense has been traded for over 5000 years.  In ancient times it was often deemed a more precious commodity than gold.  The essential oil of Frankincense has been known far back into history for its amazing healing powers and benefits in aromatherapy.  For thousands of years in the Middle East, even before it was offered as a gift to the Christ child by the Magi, Frankincense has been used to enhance the ability to communicate with the Creator.  In addition to the Holy Bible including 52 references to Frankincense, Egyptian records report the use of Frankincense in cosmetics, perfumes and as an embalming agent.  The Chinese had found it to be a useful treatment for those suffering from leprosy.

Historical Uses:

The medicinal actions and uses of Frankincense include its use as a stimulant, relaxant, expectorant, and anti-inflammatory used externally.   Frankincense has been used for tumors, particularly of the breast and lungs.  In addition to the breasts, it has been used for a variety of female concerns such as inflammation of the ovaries and pain during menstruation.  Frankincense has also been used for respiratory complaints such as asthma, shortness of breath, sinus troubles as well as laryngitis.  It has also been used to help strengthen the immune system.  It was applied as a salve and liniment for rheumatism, wounds and athletic injuries.   Currently, clinical trials in Germany have shown health benefits observed in patients affected by rheumatoid arthritis, chronic colitis, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, bronchial asthma, and other diseases.

Emotionally and mentally, Frankincense has been found to be very beneficial in relief of depression while also soothing the nerves.  It has been found to reduce stress levels and to relieve irritability.  Frankincense has also been found to be very powerful in soothing the mind.  In fact, it’s been used quite often to soothe the mind to enhance meditation.  Its sacred uses in spiritual practice are well known among many religions such as Christianity, Judaism, and Hinduism.

Common Applications:

Frankincense tears can be burned in a dish made for incense such as those made from soap stone, or in a sturdy sea shell with a layer of sand.  Once lit, the aroma that fills the air has an especially beneficial effect in balancing the emotions and mood.  The essential oil of Frankincense, a high quality grade that is commonly used in Aromatherapy, can be mixed with massage oil and massaged into the skin.  To benefit the respiratory system, Frankincense essential oil can be diffused in a nebulizing diffuser made for aromatherapy, or simmered in hot water so that the steam is able to diffuse the oil into the air.

Charlotte Test, ND, MH

You can purchase Frankincense essential oil and resin tears from


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