Frankincense oil, also called olibanum, is an essential oil that offers a number of health benefits. Frankincense oil has a number of uses and is used in a variety of ways.
Olibanum (frankincense oil) comes from the trees of the Boswellia genus, where it’s extracted from the bark and processed into a resin. Grown mainly in Oman, Yemen, Somalia and Ethiopia, Frankincense was traditionally used as incense. These days, however, the oil is more popular because it offers more health benefits.
Frankincense comes in various qualities, with the highest grade appearing almost clear, with slight green and silver tinges. This is rather uncommon to find, since the majority of frankincense sold globally is brown and yellow. When diffused, frankincense oil creates a calming and relaxing feeling, while providing a woodsy, earthy, spicy and partly fruity aroma.
Olibanum has a number of health benefits and can be used in a variety of ways, making it a very valuable and versatile essential oil.
Health Benefits of Frankincense Oil
As with most essential oils, frankincense oil has a number of health benefits. It can be diffused or applied independently, or it can be combined with other essential oils to enhance its effects. If you own an essential oil diffuser or vaporizer, it should definitely be part of your collection.
The benefits of olibanum include anti-inflammatory effects, astringent, antiseptic and disinfectant capabilities. Frankincense oil can also act as a digestive and diuretic aid when taken orally. Here are some specific conditions that frankincense oil can help:
- Arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis (RA): Because frankincense is an anti-inflammatory, it benefits people with arthritis. Research indicates it suppresses production of powerful inflammatory molecules, which helps maintain the integrity of cartilage in people with arthritis. There is also evidence that frankincense oil can be an effective pain killer for people with arthritis.
- Cold, flu and bronchitis: Inhaling frankincense oil through a diffuser or vaporizer, or even from a cloth, can break up phlegm deposits in your lungs and throat when you’re congested.
- Oral hygiene: Frankincense oil provides a number of benefits for oral health. Its antiseptic capabilities can help prevent bad breath and stave off cavities. As an anti-inflammatory is can help battle toothaches, while its disinfectant qualities allow it to be an effective topical treatment for sores around the mouth.
- Digestive benefits: When ingested, frankincense oil has been found to offer unique digestive properties that can help speed up the release of gastric juices to promote the movement of food through the intestines. Its diuretic effects also help to dispel toxins and excess nutrients that may be circulating in your system, as well.
- Anti-aging: When applied topically to your skin, frankincense oil can stimulate cell growth. Its cytophylactic properties can therefore promote the regeneration of skin cells, while keeping existing cells healthy. It might even help remove sun spots and tighten small wrinkles around the eyes and cheeks.
- Calming and relaxation: Frankincense oil can be diffused or vaporized to create a tranquil environment. Because of this, it can be effective in calming nerves to treat stress and anxiety. It is a sedative, too, so diffusing it in the evening when you’re getting ready for sleep can help clear your head and prepare your body and mind for a good sleep.
- Uterine health: Frankincense offers benefits for both pre-and post-menopausal women by playing a role in regulating the production of estrogen. It’s possible it can reduce the risk of post-menopausal tumors or cysts, while helping to regulate menstrual cycles in women yet to go through menopause.
- Skin care: As a topical ointment, frankincense oil can also provide the benefit of reducing dark spots caused from acne, sun spots and stretch marks. It may also help battle eczema and diminish the presence of scars.
How Does Frankincense Oil Work?
Essential oils, like olibanum, offer its benefits in a number of ways. Frankincense oil can be used for aromatherapy through a diffuser or vaporizer; as a topical ointment to be applied directly, or in combination with other ingredients on an affected area; it can be added to bath water for a soak; and it can even be ingested orally is small amounts.
It can be used in combination with other essential oils and remedies. Here are various ways you can use frankincense oil:
- For stress relief: For stress relief, burn olibanum in a diffuser or vaporizer; or soak in a frankincense oil-induced warm bath.
- To fight wrinkles: As a skin product to battle wrinkles or blemishes, or even to promote healing of wounds, apply olibanum as a topical cream or soak in a bath.
- For oral health benefits: Frankincense oil can be consumed in a tea and swished around the mouth to provide oral health benefits.
- To treat congestion: You can inhale the frankincense oil through a vaporizer, diffuser, or from a cloth to treat congestion.
Is Frankincense Oil Safe to Use?
For the most part, frankincense oil is very safe to use and there are no documented cases of serious adverse reactions. Of course, like anything else, it may cause reaction in some people. It’s unlikely any adverse reaction you’d experience would be anything more than experiencing a slight rash on the skin, which might indicate an allergy or some sort of sensitivity. For the vast majority of people, however, frankincense oil is completely safe.
Side Effects of Frankincense Oil
When it comes to essential oils, you really don’t need a lot of it. Therefore, when you burn it in a diffuser or vaporizer, always follow the dosage instructions. When you add it to a bath, you also don’t need much. Dilute the frankincense oil with honey and only add a couple of drops to get the benefit.
The same goes for when you’re suing it as a topical rub or a facial steam. For a rub, add a few drops to an existing moisturizer before you apply it. For a face steam, add one or two drops of oil to the hot water before leaning over with your towel.
If you have trouble with blood clotting or take blood thinners, frankincense may cause your blood to thin so you might want to avoid it. If you have such a condition, talk to your doctor prior to use.
Sources for Today’s Article:
Mercola, J., “Frankincense Oil: The King of Oils,” Dr. Mercola web site; http://articles.mercola.com/herbal-oils/frankincense-oil.aspx, last accessed January 6, 2016.
“A Wise Man’s Treatment for Arthritis: Frankincense?” Science Daily web site, August 4, 2011; http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110621121316.htm.
“Health Benefits of Frankincense Essential Oil,” Organic Facts web site; https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/essential-oils/health-benefits-of-frankincense-essential-oil.html, last accessed January 6, 2016.