Frankincense has been used for centuries as incense, both in the East and in the West. It is said to be one of the three gifts that were presented to the baby Jesus by the three wise men, along with gold and myrrh. In modern times frankincense is still associated with religion and spirituality; it is often burned in churches, and used as a meditation aid.
Frankincense essential oil is produced from the oleo gum resin of the Boswellia carteri tree, which is native to Somalia. Incisions are made into the bark to produce the resin, which first appears as a milky liquid before solidifying into small amber, orange or brown lumps. Frankincense has a warm, balsamic scent.
The chemical constituents found in frankincense have demonstrated anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antiseptic, astringent, expectorant, sedative, and bronchodilator effects (increases airflow to the lungs). Frankincense was traditionally used in herbal medicine for the treatment of syphilis, rheumatism, respiratory and urinary tract infections, skin diseases, digestive problems, and nervous complaints. Today the essential oil may be helpful for:
Frankincense is associated with the colour violet and the crown chakra. Violet is linked with spirituality, religion, intuition, creativity, inspiration, and mental strength. It is said to be a helpful colour for aiding meditation and psychic ability. Violet helps to calm emotional upsets, and banishes negative thoughts and emotions. An imbalance of the crown chakra may appear as depression, anxiety, self-doubt, boredom, lack of direction, memory loss, or headaches.
Frankincense features in one of my signature Christmas aromatherapy blends, where it is mixed with myrrh and sweet orange to create a relaxing and uplifting effect. This blend is perfect for helping to ease the stresses that come with the festive season, although it would be great to use at any time of the year to bring about a sense of peace and serenity.