I know frankincense from my days in the Lutheran church, when the pastors would burn solid frankincense and myrrh as part of a Christmas tradition. Frankincense was given to the Baby Jesus by the Magi, and burning it would often be a part of Christmas traditions. The trouble is, I always got ferocious headaches from it and never appreciated the smell.
So when I was introduced to frankincense essential oil, I did not have high expectations or even think it would end up in my oils collection. I expected headaches from the scent and to find the smell of it to be overpowering. I found the exact opposite, which blew me away. I eventually deduced that a church’s budget is generally not grand, and that the frankincense burned when I was a child was likely imitation or some cheaper derivation of the real stuff.
Frankincense (Boswellia carteri) is considered one of the “cure-all” oils – maybe not officially by EO professionals, but definitely by those who use it regularly. It is sourced in Africa, from trees. The tree is cut (not cut down, but the bark is cut) and the tree ‘bleeds’ frankincense resin. The resin hardens as a type of band-aid for the tree and is then chiseled off carefully and collected. This resin is what goes in to making Young Living’s Frankincense EO.
Frankincense is mentioned one of the oldest known medical records, the Ebers Papyrus, which dates from the 16th century B.C. Ancient Egyptians used it and mentioned it in many of the recipes and prescriptions for healing, possessing a value greater than gold in ancient times. Worldwide, this oil is still used ceremonially and medicinally, and it can be used topically, ingested, or diffused.
The oil has a warm, almost balsam-type scent to it that I find very pleasant to rub on the back of my neck or temples, and I love smelling it on my hands after I use it. It’s said to have spiritual benefits as well – opening up our minds for a greater spiritual connection. While that likely sounds a bit weird, the science behind it is actually quite compelling. Arieh Moussaieff, an Israeli scientist, discovered the unique capabilities of incensole acetate, which is a major compound in frankincense. The studies have shown that incensole acetate, when tested on mice models of human brain injury, provides protection for the nervous system. Moussaieff later noted that the resin’s mood enhancement and anti-anxiety properties act on a previously-unknown pathway in the brain that regulates emotion, a connection with the spiritual center of the human mind.
So fascinating stuff, right? But what do you DO with it? A friend of mine has a fantastic testimony about using frankincense to heal her body and get off of THIRTEEN different prescriptions, restoring her health. It can be used to clear the mind and to overcome stress and despair. It has skin-healing benefits as well – frankincense can be used to help heal wounds, prevent scarring, and make skin more youthful-looking. It also contains sequiterpenes, which stimulate the limbic system in the brain, positively affecting the memory center in the brain, the hypothalamus, pineal, and pituitary glands.
Frankincense oil isn’t inexpensive. I was quite put off by the retail price ($91.78 for a 15ml bottle), but I received my first bottle when I signed up for a distributorship (and received 11 5ml bottles of oils altogether); frankincense in the 5ml size is in the distributor-pack of oils called Everyday Oils. I’ve been delighted with it and have used it regularly – sometimes when I’m about to drive in insane Phoenix traffic, other times when I need to focus and make sure that I’m remembering things correctly. I found it to be amazingly helpful when I did drama for the women’s retreat at church – it helped me focus before going on stage, but also calmed my butterflies and made sure I was grounded and remembered my lines well.
If you’re interested in getting some Young Living Frankincense oil, shoot me an email. If you want a small bottle and are interested in becoming a distributor (no need to sell; it’s kind of like a life-long Costco membership with discounts) and getting a set of oils to start with, including the Frankincense, I’m happy to help out with that, as well. Local customers can save 20% off of the retail price on a 15ml bottle by tacking on to my monthly order. No pressure, as always.