Frankincense, this maybe sound unfamiliar for some of us. it is also known as olibanum. It is an aromatic resin which is tapped from trees of the genus Boswellia. Boswelia tree ia a small and shrubby tree. It has white flower and the bark of the tree produce a milky white resin that later will turn into orange-brown and used to produced essential oil. Frankincense has a citrus fresh, and sweet, warms, balsamic, camphoraceous, wood-smoke undertones. It surely blends well with most floral, woods, spices and other citruses scene. There are four main species of Boswellia tree which produce true frankincense and each type of resin is available in various grades.
Frankincense is tapped from the Boswellia tree by slashing the bark and allowing the tree resins to bleed out and harden just like when we tap rubber from the plant. These hardened Boswelia tree resins are called tears. The grades of frankincense are depend on the time of harvesting, and the resin is hand-sorted for quality. Different condition of soil and climate will also effected the resin quality of frankincense.
History of Frankincense
Research reported that traditional people and in ancient time use of Frankincense in some religious ritual such as driving away evil spirits from human body especially Egyptians, Greeks, French, Romans, French, Asian folklore and other rituals. In ancient time people believe that devil is the cause of many health problem and later we understand why have become manifest in curing physical illness since we understand the potential effect of frankincense.
Frankincense has been an important commodity in trading that delivered through the Arabian Peninsula and in North Africa for more than 5000 years. Egyptian has been known as people who trade a sack of frankincense from a place that called a land of Punt and it has been used in rituals of Egyptian Queen Hatshepsut who died in 1458 BCE. Then frankincense was introduced to Europe by Frankish Crusaders.
People in Arabic countries called Frankincense as olibanum, which is derived from the Arabic word al-lubān which means “that which results from milking”. Frankinscense also popular as oil of Lebanon since Lebanon was the place where the resin has sold to European traders.
Frankincense also mentioned in Greek history. A Greek historian Herodotus was familiar with Frankincense and he knew that the frankincense harvested from trees in southern Arabia. He also reports that even the gum of the trees was dangerous to harvest because of the presence of venomous snakes in the trees. He later described the method which used by the Arabians to overcome the problem. It is mentioned that they burn the gum of the styrax tree whose smoke would drive the snakes away. The resin of Boswalia tree or frankincense also mentioned by Theophrastus and by Pliny the Elder in his Naturalis Historia
Grades and Uses of Frankincense
Frankincense comes in many grades, and the quality is comes from colour, purity, aroma, and age of the frankincense. The Silver and Hojari frankincense is considered as the highest grades of frankincense. Arabic people especially Omanis also consider Silver has better grade rather than Hojari, though the quality may be different for some area which use it.
Silver is smelling best to hot dry country of Arabia but hojari has best scene in area that are relatively cold and damp climate such as Europe and North America Countries. The resin of frankincense is used to produce aromatic oil and in perfumery. In Egypt, people use the resin of frankincense as kohl and turn it into powder. Kohl is known as black eyeliner that used as make up or also known as art material for Egyptian.
Health Benefits of Frankincense
Frankincense contains volatil oil and other chemical components such as 13.1% monoterpenes (decanol, α-terpineol, and linalol; esters viz. bornyl acetate, neryl acetate, and geranyl acetate), 1% sesquiterpenes and 42.5% diterpenes. These active chemical compounds provides some health benefits to human health that has been proven or not yet proven. Frankincense is also called as amazing gift of God that known as mastermind oil. Below are the best proven health benefits of Frankincense
1. Protect liver
Study by badria et al in 2003 reported that frankincense as Boswellia carterii extract in combination with glycyrrhizin has a strong biochemical and histopathological hepatoprotective effect on rat Liver Injury. It means that the frankincense is effective to protect the liver from certain injury and free radical damage.
2. Treat herpes
An active component in frankincense that called as triterpenoids showed Anti-Herpes activity and Immunomodulatory effects according to study by Badria et al. 2003 and Botros et al. In 2003. This study proved that frankincense is effective in treating herpes and prevent the invention of herpes virus that can affect the skin and genital organs.
3. Improve immune function
A study by sharma and Singh in 1989 showed that the ingestion of a alcoholic extract of Boswellia or frankincense can improve immunity and increase the leukocytes level and also antibody production which slightly improve immune modulator response. This benefits proven and this is why people has know frankincense as best cure that can prevent some disease.
4. Treat inflammatory bowel disease
The gum resin extract from Boswellia of frankincense reported to have positive therapeutic effects in inflammatory bowel disease even the mechanism of this benefits still need to be learnt more through several research according to Krielgstein, 2001. Another clinical study reported that frankincense can treat inflammation that occur in the digestive tract (Gehardt et al., 2001).
5. Inhibit tumor growth
According to study by Huan et al in 2000, frankinsence contains an active constituents called β-boswellic acid and it has anti-tumor and antihyperlipidemic activities. This substance can inhibit the cell to proliferate and kill the remains tumor cancer which growth in the body tissues.
6. Reduce symptoms of arthritis
Boswellia tree sap or frankincense has also been observed can inhibit human leukocyte elastase that can cause the symptom of arthritis. This benefits is delivered by components in frankincense that has anti-arthritis and anti-inflammation properties. A study conducted by badria et al in 2004 also showed that after one month of treatment with frankincense oil there was a significant reduction of pain on the muscle and joint active movement, passive movement, tenderness, nocturnal pain and a significant improvement of pain free walking time in arthritis patient.
7. Lower blood pressure
Frankincense has non acid part that belong to the gum and it has releiever and sedative function and in high dose can lower the blood pressure especially in treatment of hypertension patient. High blood pressure is one of the leading cause of heart disease that known as number one killer in the world.
8. Relieves pain
Frankincense oil can significantly reduce and relieve pain since it has anti-inflammatory properties. It can relieve pain and make you feel more confortable.
9. Prevent diabetes
Boswellia gum or frankincense has been used for the treatment of diabetes since it has anti-hypergicemic effect that can maintain normal blood sugar level within the blood according to study that reported by Adrian in 1998.
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10. Prevent cardiovascular disease
By lowering the blood pressure and maintain healthy blood vessel, frankincense has been proven can reduce the risk of heart disease by almost 20%. Its really a good news to people who loves to use this frankincense oil as natural remedy for their health problem.
11. Treat skin disorder
Study by Adrian in 1998 also mentioned that frankincense active components can slightly treat skin disorder such as eczema and fungal infection on skin.
12. Treat bronchial asthma
Badria et. al, 2002 and Gupta et al, 1998 reported that frankincense can be used to treat bronchial asthma in some people. According to the study, during the 6 week of treatment, the subjects took frankincense regularly and after 6 months it show significant effect. Subjects with bronchial asthma that take boswelic acid or frankincense treatment have fewer asthmatic effects compared to them who don’t take the treatment.
13. Treat Hepatitis C
A study that conducted in Egypt showed that HCV infected patient who took frankincense daily supplement treatment for 18 months has significant improvement of reducing this disease. Frankincense is also effective to prevent the hepatitis virus infection to the body
14. Delay aging on skin
Some anti aging product including frankincense as their ingredients since it has been proven can promotes collagen production and rejuvenating new skin cell that may aids in young and firm skin.
15. Cure cancer
A study by martin watt in 2014 reported that toluene compounds in frankincense has benefit in preventing cancer cell growth and infected the tissue in the body.
By rubbing the frankincense oil on the hand, head, neck and other body area, frankincense is belived can cure following health problem even still there is no scientific proof :
- Clearing Blend
- Support recovery after birth
- Improve clarity while breathing
- Relieve mouth sore
- Treat depression
- Fasten wound healing
- Remove scar
- Treat cold and flu
- Prevent alzheimer
- Relieve parkinson disease
- Promote good mood
- Relieve anxiety
- Soothes nerve
- Moisturize dry skin
- Treat rash
- Relieve restless syndrome
- Moisturize dry hair
- Relieve injured bones
- Treat blood disease fever
- Treat neurological disorder
- Treat dysentery
- Treat cirrhosis
- Enhance Vision
- Treat insect bites
- Relieve bell’s palsy
- Relieve persistent sense of loss
Tips to Use Frankincense
There is no side effect reported after usage of frankincense supplementation. It can be applied directly to wound and skin to get the benefits. According to some health site which discussed about the frankincense, pregnant women should avoid to use this oil and supplementation. Despite the side effects, frankincense is a pearl of desert that has many potential benefits. But to get the benefits of frankincense follow these following tips :
- Purchase only product or oil that contains 100% oil in the store or if you purchase any cream or skin care product contains frankincense ingredients make sure the brand is trusted
- Dilute the oil into another types of oil before use it since the effect maybe strong, make the formula 50-50 by mixing the oil with coconut oil or lavender oil.
- The dilution oil can be directly applied to area which has wound or consider as dry and get infected. For drops of oil can be enough to palms of hand.
- To moisturize hair, just mix some drops of frankincense in your shampoo or conditioner and left it to the hair for some minuets then rinse it with water.
- Store the oil in normal cool temperature and in dark bottle to maintain its quality
- Frankincense oil can be stored for more than a year if its kept well.
- Must be remember that Frankincense oil must be kept out from children and its for external use only
People claimed frankincense is really an amazing gift from god that has abundant benefits of health, but make sure you use it appropriately to get the benefits.