14 May Frankincense Essential Oil
With the increase in interest in essential oils, the names of a few keep popping up all over the place. One of those oils is Frankincense, also known as Boswellia carterii/sacra, Boswellia frereana, Boswellia papyrifera, and Boswellia serrata (depending on the specific chemotype). Sometimes it is also known by the name of Olibanum.
Frankincense, together with Myrrh was the first gum to be used as incense.
Frankincense originates from the mountain regions of the Middle East and North-Eastern Africa. To this day the trees are not cultivated and the collection of resin-from which the essential oil is steam distilled from- is only done where the trees are most abundant. The two main producers of Frankincense essential oil are Somalia and Ethiopia.
To extract the resin, deep incisions are made in the truck of the tree, and the bark is peeled off in narrow strips. Over the next few weeks, a milky colored juice slowly flows out of the cut and hardens on contact with the air.
Roman emperor, Nero is said to have burnt more Frankincense than Arabia could produce in a year at his wife Poppaea’s funeral.
This particular essential oil, as well as the resin it’s extracted from, was used extensively by ancient Egyptians, and it continues to be used in many parts of the Arab world.
Precautions: Because of the high content of α-Pinene, (+)-Limonene and/or δ-3-Carene, B. Freereana and sacra/barteri, it will tend to oxidize fairly quickly. Frankincense should always be stored in a dark, airtight container in the refrigerator. Tisserand recommends adding an antioxidant to any blends containing these chemotypes.
Although once thought to be contraindicated in the first trimester of pregnancy, more recent research has shown that not to be true.
Frankincense essential oil has numerous uses, most of which focus on dealing with conditions pertaining to the skin, respiratory system as well as emotional well being.
For instance, Frankincense is a wonderful astringent and very healing to wounds and inflamed skin as well as very beneficial for dry and mature skin. When it comes to dealing with Asthma and Bronchitis as well as Laryngitis, Pneumonia and coughs, this essential oils can be of great benefit as well. Over the years, Frankincense has also proved itself useful in aiding emotional healing and comfort as well as promoting a sense of courage, acceptance and inspiration.
So while not everything you read online about Frankincense essential oil is entirely true, it is still a wonderful oil with many benefits, and who could resist it’s woody, spicy and slightly lemony scent!
Until next time!
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