Boost your immunity and combat depression with Frankincense – one of the precious ingredients in our Origin Oil Pack
Frankincense (Boswellia carteri) is considered a holy anointing oil in the Middle East and has been used in religious ceremonies for thousands of years. It stimulates the limbic part of the brain, which elevates the mind, helping to overcome stress and despair. It is used in European medicine to combat depression.
In studies conducted at Vienna and Berlin Universities, researchers found that sesquiterpenes found in essential oils like frankincense can increase oxygen levels in the brain by up to 28 percent (Nasel, 1992). Such an increase in brain oxygen may lead to a heightened level of activity in the hypothalamus and limbic systems of the brain which can have dramatic effects on not only emotions, learning and attitude but also many physical processes of the body and immune function, hormone balance and energy levels.
History of Frankincense
Frankincense is obtained from trees of the genus Boswellia (family Burseraceae) which are found in Somalia, the Hadhramaut region of Yemen, Oman, and parts of India and Pakistan. The trees are native to the Arabian Peninsula and regions of northeast Africa, though Boswellia has also been cultivated in southern China. Frankincense has been used in traditional Chinese medicine since at least 500 B.C.
Valued in ancient times for worship and as a medicine, it is still used as an incense resin, particularly in Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches.
The ceremonial incense of the Jews was compounded of four ‘sweet scents,’ of which pure Frankincense was one, pounded together in equal proportion. It is frequently mentioned in the Pentateuch. Pure Frankincense formed part of the meet offering and was also presented with the shew-bread every Sabbath day. With other spices, it was stored in a great chamber of the House of God at Jerusalem. Source
The fragments which are broken off by shaking the tree are known to as manna.
Pliny the Elder (23-79AD) wrote: “Alexander the Great, when a boy, was on one occasion loading the altars with frankincense with the greatest prodigality, upon which his tutor Leonides7 remarked to him that it would be time to worship the gods in such a lavish manner as that, when he had conquered the countries that produced the frankincense. After Alexandria had conquered Arabia, he despatched to Leonides a ship freighted with frankincense, and sent him word, requesting that he would now worship the gods without stint or limit.”
“The kohl, or black powder with which the Egyptian women paint their eyelids, is made of charred Frankincense, or other odoriferous resin mixed with Frankincense. Frankincense is also melted to make a depilatory, and it is made into a paste with other ingredients to perfume the hands. A similar practice is described by Herodotus as having been practiced by the women of Scythia and is alluded to in Judith x. 3 and 4. In cold weather, the Egyptians warm their rooms with a brazier whereon incense is burnt, Frankincense, Benzoin and Aloe wood being chiefly used for the purpose.”
Medicinal Properties of Frankincense
“The name of God be on you and myrrh and frankincense and copal resin and juniper resin”
The above words were said as a form of blessing by women visiting a mother after childbirth. This was an Arabic custom still prevalent at the beginning of the century.
In the Dhofar region, women throw frankincense on the fire and swing their child in the smoke after first rubbing the child with oil. They also smooth the soft gum over their hair to keep it in place and give it a shiny appearance. Cones of the resin are burned as candles outdoors at night to keep away wild animals and evil spirits
Frankincense has also been investigated as a possible treatment for some cancers, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, anxiety and asthma, among other conditions.
A review of PubMed reports on clinical trials using boswellic acids or resin of Boswellia serrata reveals that these substances have been studied and found highly effective in such conditions as rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, low back pain, soft tissue rheumatism, myositis, fibrositis, chronic colitis, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, bronchial asthma, and peritumoral brain edemas. Besides its pronounced anti-inflammatory properties, it has been found to have a strong immuno-stimulant activity.
Until the early 1940s a potion was prepared with pounded frankincense and dispensed as a drug against inflammation of the urethra, against phthisis (T.B.) and shock paralysis.
Hippocrates mentions it promotes menstruation, cures ulcers, burns, chilblains and eruptions. It is an expectorant and good for asthma.
Avicenna, a Persian physician and the most influential medical writer in the Middle ages wrote frankincense (Boswellia serrata) was advised for treatment of abscess, wounds and malignant tumors, skin rashes, dermatitis, nausea and vomiting, gastrointestinal inflammation, and arthritis. Several experimental studies have shown that frankincense possesses anti-inflammatory, analgesic, antimicrobial, hepatoactive, and anti-proliferative effect (Abdel-Tawab et al., 2011).
The general functions of frankincense resin and essential oil can therefore be described as immune-enhancing; antibiotic, antifungal, antiviral, and antiseptic; and wound-healing, with pronounced anti-inflammatory properties.
Boswellia Serrata resin is described as having bitter and sweet flavors, with astringent, demulcent, expectorant, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties. It is a powerful wound healer and very effective in the treatment of painful joint diseases with inflammation and reduced mobility. It improves blood supply to the affected areas, shrinks inflamed tissue, reduces pain, and enhances repair of local blood vessels damaged by proliferating inflammation. These effects are attributed to chemical compounds known as boswellic acids, which are now used in contemporary medicine as anti-arthritic and anti-inflammatory pharmacological agents. (Crow)
A Wise Man’s Cure: Frankincense and Myrrh by Jennie Cohen
Pliny the Elder, The Natural History
Avicenna’s Canon of Medicine: a review of analgesics and anti-inflammatory substances by Shahla Mahdizadeh
Frankincense and Myrrh: The Botany, Culture, and Therapeutic Uses of the World’s Two Most Important Resins by David Crow, L.Ac.