15 Uses and Benefits of Frankincense Essential Oil and Side Effects
Claire Levenberg is currently the Research & Development Manager for the iLAVA and iLAVAHEMP Brands and the Director of Science Operations for the Downtown and D2 Dispensaries.
She has been in the medical cannabis industry for 3 years now, with in-depth knowledge of Ethanol Extraction, Fractional Distillation, Butane Extraction, lab operations and requirements, and managing daily productions as well as researching new products. Her interests lie in researching new techniques, product development, and educational outreach.
Claire received her Bachelors of Science from the University of Arizona in Plant Sciences with a focus in Microbiology.
Frankincense essential oil has been dubbed “the king of essential oils”.
The versatile essential oil is used for hair care, skincare, and for health purposes, so it’s no wonder that frankincense is hailed as a king. Frankincense oil is also known as olibanum, Boswellia carterii, and Boswellia sacra.
This oil is more than just one of the gifts bestowed on the night of the birth of Jesus Christ. Frankincense has been used for hundreds of years in many religions, prayer, rituals, and ceremonies for power and anointment.
In this article, we will discuss the origins of olibanum, benefits and health tips, side effects, frankincense oil uses, and alternatives.
What Is Frankincense Essential Oil?
Frankincense essential oil is an oil made from resin that comes from the Boswellia tree. This is found in Africa and the Middle East.
Frankincense is often used in aromatherapy as it has a sweet, spicy, woody scent. It gets its name from the French phrase “franc encens”, which means “high-quality incense”.
How is it extracted?
The oil is extracted from the sap of the Boswelia tree when the bark is cut open. The resin is left to harden and then is scraped off the tree. Although it can be used dry, it’s steamed to make essential oil.
It can be used as an essential oil in a diffuser to induce relaxation due to it’s relaxing woody aroma. A few drops can be used to assist peace, harmony, and meditation.
This oil can also function as a massage oil. It can be used as a calm air spray in the bedroom to assist with sleep. Frankincense is safe for topical use, and even consumption in a capsule, medicine, and in water.
Health Benefits of Frankincense Essential Oil
May Reduce Arthritis
Frankincense is an anti-inflammatory substance, which may help to ease pain and symptoms of arthritis. Frankincense does not just ease pain but can target inflammation itself
Research has shown that frankincense has been more effective than placebos when it came to managing swelling, pain, and joint movement associated with arthritis. While other studies concluded that oil of frankincense can be beneficial for easing morning stiffness, and can even help reduce reliance on NSAIDs.
It can be used topically on inflamed muscles and joints, as well as orally.
May Improve Gut Function
Frankincense oil may help to improve gut health, digestion, and ease digestive disorders such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
One small study found that frankincense was just as effective as mesalazine, which is a drug medically prescribed to treat Crohn’s symptoms.
Another study in which participants with ulcerative colitis were given a daily dose of frankincense for six weeks found that it was as effective as pharmaceutical drugs when it came to managing the condition.
Frankincense can even help treat chronic diarrhea. After six weeks of a daily dose of Boswellia or a placebo, participants who took Boswellia had almost cured their diarrhea.
May Improve Asthma
Frankincense oil may also help to improve symptoms of and manage asthma and bronchitis.
In a 6 week study, 70% of participants with bronchi asthma who were given Boswellia over a placebo experienced fewer asthma attacks, as well as fewer instances of wheezing and shortness of breath.
A supplement made up of both frankincense and the bael fruit was found to be more effective than the placebo at easing symptoms of asthma. Those who took it had an easier time breathing.
Maintains Oral Health
Frankincense can even help maintain good oral health, due to its antibacterial nature.
The Boswellic acids can help to prevent cavity formation by killing bacteria. It can even help ward off gum disease and toothaches.
Another study on participants with plaque-induced gingivitis revealed that it was more effective than the placebo at managing the condition. As it is naturally astringent, it can help to heal mouth sores associated with poor oral health.
May Fight Certain Cancers
Frankincense essential oil may even fight against certain types of cancer. According to test-tube studies, frankincense may help fight against and repress:
Can Frankincense Shrink Tumors?
Frankincense oil can distinguish cancer cells from normal cells and can suppress the viability of cancer cells. This is based on experiences from a study about bladder transitional carcinoma. The frankincense oil activates genes that play a role in cell growth suppression and cell cycle arrest without inducing DNA fragmentation. In another study on breast cancer, researchers discovered that frankincense suppressed tumor progression.
Frankincense is a powerful anti-oxidant which is why it has anti-aging properties.
Anti-oxidants help to combat free-radicals, which are highly reactive molecules with unpaired electrons. As the free radicals move around the body, looking for an electron to pair with, it can damage DNA, which accelerates the aging process.
Also, anti-oxidants help to slow down and halt the damage caused by free radicals. This helps with the rejuvenation of the skin.
Balancing and Moisturizing
Frankincense oil has become a popular ingredient in skincare, in products such as lotion or moisturizer. Frankincense oil has moisturizing properties, which keeps the skin from drying out.
However, for DIY facial treatments, all essential oils need to be diluted with a carrier oil. Frankincense can also help to tackle discoloration and redness which helps the skin tone look balanced and even.
One of the reasons frankincense can help treat asthma and arthritis is due to its anti-inflammatory properties, which also benefit skincare. Frankincense essential oil can help to manage acne, as it soothes inflammation.
The Boswellic acids can kill acne-causing bacteria to prevent further breakouts. A combination of frankincense and myrrh essential oils have been promising skincare ingredients, and for general health, due to their antimicrobial and antibacterial properties.
Frankincense is also antiseptic. The oil has been used for centuries for cleaning, disinfectant, aromatherapy, and general health. This can help prevent infections from setting in.
Frankincense oil is a natural astringent. This means that it’s good for skin care as it can help heal skin imperfections and conditions like acne and wounds. Frankincense has been known for rejuvenating damaged skin as a healing oil. This is useful for reducing the appearance of stretch marks and scars.
In addition to being antibacterial, it helps prevent clogged pores, and spots, by reducing sebum production in individuals with oily skin.
Protects The Skin
Together with it’s antibacterial, antiseptic, and antioxidant qualities, frankincense protects the skin by helping it heal from damage, reducing inflammation, and negating the effects of free radicals.
Oils are popular in skincare as deep moisturizers which helps protect the skin from damage caused by dryness. It keeps skin cells strong, plump and maintains elasticity.
Is Frankincense Oil Safe for Dogs?
Essential oils are gaining popularity and for good reason. Essential oils have been proven to have mood-boosting effects, antibacterial properties, and can even act as an anti-inflammatory. It is no surprise that as we learn the benefits of essential oils for people, we also are learning the benefits of using them to help our pets.
Frankincense is one of the more popular essential oils for treating dogs. This powerful plant has several benefits, and when used properly can help promote overall health and well-being for your pet. While I cannot make medical claims about essential oils, the research speaks for itself .
Table of Contents
Benefits of Frankincense
Frankincense comes from hardened gum resins made from tapping Boswellia trees , which are mostly native to India . Frankincense has been studied heavily and has been found to have incredible benefits for people and animals . Several of the benefits are outlined in the sections below.
Reducing Inflammation and Pain
In a study published in the Natural Medicine Journal , researchers found that frankincense oil significantly reduced pain and improved physical functioning in osteoarthritis patients. In fact, a systematic review of data from the same study showed Boswellia extracts are clinically effective in asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, osteoarthritis, and collagenous colitis. And, when paired with turmeric , these benefits were actually enhanced .
Effect on Cancer and the Immune System
While research is still being done into the use of essential oils to treat cancer and tumors, studies are increasingly finding that essential oils, including frankincense, may be helpful in treating cancer and tumors. One study published by the US National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) found that Frankincense oil appears to distinguish cancerous from normal bladder cells and suppress cancer cell viability – which means that, while still being researched, frankincense showed great promise in treating bladder cancer.
Another study by the NCBI found that frankincense may have the potential to successfully treat breast, brain, colon, stomach, and pancreatic cancers and boost the immune system. It is important to note that essential oils to treat cancer are still being researched, and you should speak to your veterinarian or doctor before incorporating oils into your treatment plan.
Easing Digestive Discomfort
In a recent study, frankincense was found to not only reduce inflammation (which promotes a healthy gut) but also reduces small intestinal injury. For dogs suffering from allergies and discomfort relating to their food, this can be a big help.
Reducing Anxiety and Stress
Frankincense has long been used by people in religious ceremonies and to relax the mind. In fact, diffusing frankincense has been proven to activate channels in the brain relating to happiness and feelings of calm and has antidepressant properties. These same feelings are activated in a pet’s brain, which can create an overall sense of calm for your pets.
According to Natural Medicine Journal, researchers developed a study regarding pain and frankincense. The research found frankincense significantly reduced pain and improved physical function in patients with osteoarthritis . The same study also found frankincense to be medically helpful with Crohn’s Disease, asthma, depressed immune system, and colitis.
Administering Essential Oils
As when using essential oils on people, you should always dilute the oils before using them on your pet or allowing your pet to inhale them. It can also be helpful to start by using only essential oils intended for pets in specific pet products .
It is safe for your pet to ingest frankincense orally, but remember: not all oils are created equally. If the oil is extremely cheap or seems too good to be true, it probably is. Start with just a few drops added to your pet’s water or food per day. A little bit goes a long way when it comes to essential oils.
Frankincense can boost the effects of other essential oils , including CBD oil, and, as mentioned earlier, turmeric. I give my dogs EASE from CBD Dog Health every day and have seen a huge change in their inflammation, allergies, and even tumors. CBD Dog Health combines proper amounts of essential oils with full-spectrum CBD hemp oil to help you safely administer the oil to your pet for internal or topical use.
It’s important to remember, not all oils are created the same . If an essential oil is extremely inexpensive, it could be due to a lack of purity. Don’t mistake a pretty bottle for a high-quality product. Do your research prior to making a decision. We know if you’re looking into Frankincense, you’re wanting to see some type of improvement in the ailment you’re addressing. Choosing a high-quality product will provide you with the best results.