Updated: Jan 9
The History of Frankincense
Boswellia Serrata, generally known as Frankincense, is derived from the cloudy white sap that is secreted by the Frankincense tree. After the tree’s sap droplets are left to dry and harden into tear-shapes on the tree, they are finally harvested and formed into an essential oil.
The Boswellia tree is native to regions such as Africa and the southern Arabian Peninsula. The earliest source of Frankincense is the country of Oman, which has shipped this fragrant resin to areas like the Mediterranean, India, and China for thousands of years. Its potent aroma is woody, earthy, and spicy with a fruity nuance. For some, its scent is comparable to that of liquorice.
The history of Frankincense usage has Medieval roots and is closely linked with being burned in sacred places and religious rituals, as it was valued for its robust aroma and the white smoke it oozed when burned. It was also used in perfume, cosmetics goods and Egyptian mummification practices. Today, there are still everyday uses for Frankincense in many cultures, namely Somali, Ethiopian, Arabian, and Indian cultures. It is believed that its aroma will bring great health, cleanse the home, and purify clothing. In Ayurvedic medicine, Frankincense is referred to as “dhoop” and is used to heal wounds, relieve arthritis, balance hormones in females, and purify the air.
Other available Frankincense oils include Olibanum, which is a pricier alternative.
Frankincense in Numbers
Price The price of Frankincense is pretty good for such a well sought out oil. A 10ml bottle will only cost you £2.95, and a whole kilogram works out around £89.95! It is not the cheapest essential oil available, but in the grand scheme of things, it is excellent value for money.
Scent Frankincense has a fresh, terpeney top note and a warm, rich, sweet-balsamic undertone. This woodsy scent I enjoy a great deal, but it isn't one my favourites.
Strength Frankincense carries a potent odour, that is unique. It’s known for its calming and relaxing properties and its long history as an incense. It has a strong strength of aroma.
Uses Frankincense oil can be added to a diffuser and inhaled for its sedative, earthy fragrance that is known to enhance mood and battle stress and anxiety while improving concentration and memory. It is believed that, in spiritual practices, the scent of Frankincense strengthens both intuition and a spiritual connection. A few drops of Frankincense added to a diffuser or mixed with water to make an air freshening spray can eliminate airborne bacteria. Frankincense works as an expectorant to clear the nasal passageway, promote the relief of congestion, and encourage easy breathing.
After dilution with a carrier oil, the oil can be consumed by the skin via topical application. In a bath, a few drops of the oil can be added to reduce stress. By combining Frankincense with other essential oils and diluting the mixture, it can be used in cosmetics to make natural anti-ageing facial serums. Its astringent and cytophylactic properties help Frankincense oil to lessen the appearance of wrinkles and skin imperfections such as discolouration. It stimulates the growth of new cells; thus when used on cuts it promotes faster healing. In shampoos, its tonic property is believed to help strengthen hair roots.
This anti-septic oil makes a natural homemade cleaner and disinfectant to cleanse indoor environments, eliminate harmful bacteria therein, and to deodorise any rooms in the home. This anti-inflammatory oil is known to soothe inflammation of the skin by reducing the effects of redness, swelling, and itching. It also helps to disinfect and tighten the pores, therefore promoting the healing of cuts, wounds, and scars. It is used to stimulate the growth of new skin cells, blood flow and circulation.
Popularity Frankincense is extremely popular, mainly due to its variety and excellent health benefits. It is still widely used in cultural ceremonies, and I can't see that changing anytime soon. It is one of those oils that blends well with almost everything, Frankincense is Mr. Popular himself. It was even a gift good enough for baby Jesus, so it has to receive full marks!
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