Essential Oil Series: Frankincense

Frankincense is one of my favorite essential oils! It has a very soothing, “woodsy” smell to it that creates a calming effect on the body. When anxiety or stress hits me, I sometimes go for the frankincense and skip the lavender. Lavender is more sweet smelling than frankincense. In this article, we will be talking about the benefits of frankincense on one’s health. For the sake of preventing confusion, the kind of frankincense that will be discussed is Boswellia carterrii. I say confusion because there are different kinds of frankincense and they are named according to their location or which specie they belong in.

Frankincense has been reported to have natural antidepressant properties, anti-inflammatory properties and healing cellular damage in dysfunctional cells.

Disclaimer: As always, check with your healthcare provider before starting any form of natural treatment.

New research has been coming out within the past 5 years about frankincense essential oil (FEO) and how it appears to have antitumoral and immune-stimulating properties. The first research study done back May (2019) showing that FEO acted as a tumor suppressor when used in mice with melanoma. The study also showed that the frankincense oil provided liver protection and even reversed liver damage as well. This research into the science of frankincense is still in the beginning stages, however, it is showing promising results. This study can be found here.

Another study written back in 2013 further validates the oils ability to protect the liver cells (hepatocytes). It is a quick summary of the entire study, which can be found here.

A case study written back in 2018 gave a review how a patient with cancer related fatigue was unable to perform almost no activities of daily living (ADL). However, after topical application of frankincense, it “helped to take her fatigue from being barely able to lift her head to being able to do some basic activities of daily living.” While a case study is different than a research study, it still makes one want more research into the oil. Pending further research, this might be a viable solution for cancer patients with excessive fatigue impeding their ability to perform small tasks to take care of themselves. This case study can be found here.

Boswellia Sacra (or sacred frankincense) is another kind of frankincense that has been researched on as well for its ability to induce apoptosis in tumor cells and even suppress tumor aggressiveness. This study was written back in 2011 and came to the conclusion that ” Boswellia sacra … may be effective for advanced breast cancer.” The last part of the study urges more research to be done on sacred frankincense to determine the safety and efficacy (effectiveness) of the oil to treat breast cancer. Sadly, I have not been able to locate any more studies regarding sacred frankincense and cancer, at this time.

Lastly, a study was done on the effects of FEO and stress earlier this year. The study concluded “Frankincense essential oil can counter the effects of stress by effectively relieving sleep debt and maintaining antioxidant capacity without increasing oxidative stress, and, therefore, may be beneficial in the management of stress.” This study can be found here. I can personally attest to frankincense helping with stress. As previously stated earlier in the post, I sometimes go to FEO than lavender, because its so much more woodsy and less sweet smelling. I also sometimes diffuse frankincense at bedtime to help me relax and get a better night’s sleep.

Overall, frankincense (like lavender) is a very versatile oil and can be used for a number of different reasons. As previously stated in the lavender post, I am extremely picky about what brand of essential oils I use. This is because I believe in purity, quality, transparency, affordability, accessibility, safety, years of experience of the company, and educational information available about essential oils. As a healthcare professional, I have really high standards for oils and where to purchase them. If you have any questions or comments on frankincense or other essential oils, please feel free to comment below or send me a message through the “contact” portion and I will gladly answer them.

The next post in our essential oils series will be on a very “cool” oil: Peppermint

Remember, let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food. – Hippocrates

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