The tree from which frankincense resin is obtained grows in Somalia, China and Ethiopia. It is a member of the family Burseraceae. Frankincense was greatly valued in ancient times by the Chinese, the Romans, the Egyptians and the Arabs for its rich aroma and for its stimulant properties. It is to this day an important part of religious and ceremonial proceedings throughout the world and is used in the preparation of incense.
The oil is extracted from the gum resin by the process of steam distillation. It is an ingredient in a wide variety of commercially produced perfumed products. It is clear in color, with a tinge of pale yellow. Its smell is woody, sweet and warm with a strong element of pine. It blends well with many other oils. It is both soothing and uplifting when used in a burner or vaporizer. Many people use it as an aid to meditation as it can help slow down breathing and aid concentration, and it is an invaluable weapon in the war against stress.
Frankincense makes a good addition to a steam inhalation -its anti-inflammatory properties are useful in the treatment of bronchitis and laryngitis, and it will also help troublesome coughs by soothing irritated mucous membranes and assisting expectoration.
Cosmetically, frankincense is particularly valuable. Its action is astringent, antiseptic and toning. It is popular in the treatment of ageing skin.
Frankincense is a particularly safe and comforting essential oil to use.
Suitable methods of use
- Skin care
None. Non-toxic and non-irritant if used in dilution. Warning: Some therapists recommend that frankincense is avoided during early pregnancy.