How To Use Frankincense In Aromatherapy?

A bottle of frankincense essential oil with frankincense resin crystals on a table

Used for many thousands of years, the Frankincense tree has perhaps the greatest association with spiritualpractice of any plant in the world. In the majority of the great ancient cultures,including the Egyptian, Babylonian, Persian, Hebrew, Greek and Roman civilizations, it has played a part inreligious and national life.


It has been sought after by kings and valued as highly as gold. Morerecently, the essential oil is gaining popularity with spiritual seekers and natural healers alike. What isso special about this tree that its ‘pearls’ were given as a gift at the birth of one of history’s most reveredprophets? The Frankincense tree, or Olibanum, upon first glance, may seem rather unremarkable.

It appears as agiant shrub, with many knurled branches topped with abundant slender leaves and occasionally, small white flowers.A native to northern Africa, it seems like it belongs in the desert, growing in some of the world’sharshest problems. But it’s not the tree itself, but rather its sap that has such profound lore surroundingit.

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Whenthe tree’s bark is pierced with a knife (known traditionally as a’Mingaf’), a milky-white oleoresin is exuded- thought the tree isn’t harmed. The resin forms droplets known as ‘tears’ or ‘pearls’, which harden intothe orange-brown gum known itself as Frankincense. The English name of this natural incense is derivedfrom the medieval French ‘franc’,meaning ‘pure’ or ‘free’, and from the Latin ‘incensium’, meaning ‘to smoke’. For at least 5000 years, the hardened resin has been burned in temples throughout Egypt, China andIndia; the Catholic church continues to use it today during Mass.. It’s one of the four main ingredientsin Jewish ceremonial incense, forming an important part of the Sabbath day offerings.

The smoke of Frankincense(as with other ritual incense) is thought to carry prayers to heaven upon it’s smoke. It’s also said todeepen the breath and still the mind, which makes it useful for meditation and yogic practice. Theincense may have health benefits as well, producing a highly antiseptic smoke, keeping churches and churchgoersfree from illness.

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According to ancient documents, the great Baal temple of Babylon consumed 2 and a half a lot of Frankincensea year. The Frankincense trade was of immense importance in ancient times, peaking about 2000 years ago.Caravans grew to as many as 2 to 3 thousand camels in size. Cities grew up along the trade routes, and heavytaxes and fees for protection, lodging and camel fodder raised the cost of the resin considerably, so muchso that it was appreciated as much as gold.

The wealth involved inspired Alexander the Great to plot to control theregion, though his death happened to precede the invasion. Frankincense resin is supposed to have a bounty of health properties – it was an ingredient in a rejuvenateface mask in ancient Egypt (it was also charred and used as the classic heavy eyeliner seen in much ancientEgyptian art), and at one time was”used to treat every conceivable ill to man”.


In ayurvedic medicine itis called salaiguggul,used for centuries to treat many ailments, including arthritis. Modern science has isolated the activecompounds discovered to possess anti-arthritic properties. Called boswellic acids, these components inhibit theinflammatory process, improve blood supply and prevent further cartilage loss. Modern natural medicine and aromatherapy have taken to using the essential oil of Frankincense. The main effect of the essential oil may be on the nervous system.

Regarded as an antidepressant,the aroma can both relax and revitalize, and can help in cases of nervous tension and fatigue. Frankincenseoil contains sesquiterpenes, which stimulate the limbic system, the hypothalamus, the pineal and the pituitaryglands. The oil is now being researched for it’s ability to increase human growth hormone production. Further,it is believed to strengthen the immune system, which might in-fact occur because of it’s uplifting properties.

Frankincense essential oil

It may be utilised in a fashion similar to burning of the incense in religious practice.Warming in a candle lamp or direct application to the temples and third eye will quiet the mind, deepen thebreath, and promote meditative stillness. It’s often blended with Sandalwood, Myrrh and Cedarwood for suchuses, and the single-pointed concentration it invokes is thought to allow the soul to soar. Frankincense resin is widely available at affordable costs.

Most is wildcrafted, being extracted fromtrees growing in the deserts of northeast Africa – thankfully, the resource is abundant, as the treeseasily survive harvesting of the pearls. The small chunks of resin can simply be lit by themselves ina dish or similar container, and allowed to smolder and release their smoke. Frankincense is also availablein prepared incense sticks and other incense preparations. In the form of your choosing, simply lightand allow some quiet time to experience the deep aroma.

Nota final

With the essential oil, a diffuser or warming lamp can be used to disperse the aroma throughout a space.The oil is also found in aromatherapy candles, where it’s released from the heated oil beneath the burningwick. Frankincense oil can be applied directly to the forehead (it’s non-irritating or sensitizing)where you can both capture the aroma and absorb the oil directly. Again, have some time to sit quietlyto perceive any consequences. The terrific gift of the Frankincense tree is available in a lot of ways, and has come highly recommendedfor many thousands of years. Try adding a little Frankincense to your life, and see what the puzzle is all about!

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