Here in the middle of Arabia we have an abundance of exotic, mysterious aromas. One of the most interesting aromas of all, well known in the West as well as the East, is Frankincense. People all over the world have heard of frankincense. In the West it is used in churches, especially the more traditional ones, partly as a remembrance of the original history of when the wise men brought the gifts of frankincense and myrrh to the baby Jesus. In the East, particularly Arabia, frankincense is widely used as incense. Although it frankincense used to be very expensive, sometimes more than the price of gold, nowadays most types are frankincense are so reasonably priced that almost anyone can afford it. One of the great things about frankincense is that it comes in so many different forms as well. You can get it in its original form, which is like little crunchy bubbles (which is dried resin), or in the form of an essential oil.
The scientific name for frankincense is Boswellia certerii. Another name for frankincense is Olibanum. It is the gum resin that is gotten from the plant that is steam distilled in order to get frankincense essential oil. This plant is mostly from the dry, arid regions of Africa and Arabia, although it is found in China, India, and Somalia as well.
Since ancient times, frankincense has been used for a variety of reasons throughout the ages. Many times frankincense has been used for religious purposes and that is still true even today. Anyone who has ever been to a midnight mass at Christmastime will know the wafting aroma of frankincense. Also, presently here in Arabia, frankincense is used for a variety of religious purposes, particularly to ward off evil spirits (jinn), although it is folklore alone that inspires people to do that, as from an Islamic point of view there is nothing mentioned. It is often used by the Sufi mystics for their ceremonies and rites as well. The ancient Egyptians of the times of the Pharaohs also used frankincense in their preserving concoctions, and also their religious ceremonies, and in fact, it was from the burned charred remains of the frankincense that the ancient Egyptians made their kohl (eyeliner) that we have all been fascinated by for ages, and indeed, frankincense is one of the most preserving oils ever discovered. In China it is even used for leprosy and tuberculosis.
But, the best thing about frankincense is the essential oil, which can be used in so many medicinal treatments. Frankincense is particularly useful in beauty treatments, especially for aging skin. If you suffer from aging, wrinkly skin, then this is the oil for you. It is also great for scarring, stretch marks, and ulcers. It also has good effects on acne.
Frankincense is also great for respiratory problems like bronchitis, asthma, pleurisy, colds, and coughing. For this purpose you can inhale the steam of the frankincense oil or you can rub some of the blended oil (pure frankincense in a base oil, like olive oil) on your chest or throat.
If you are suffering from stress or anxiety you can benefit from frankincense either as an oil or through burning the incense as resin bubbles. It is soothing and calming and great for helping to reduce the every day problems.
For women who are suffering from the complications of menopause, like bleeding, you can use frankincense for reducing that problem. It will help to balance the hormones at that time. In addition to that, frankincense is great for a variety of other female complaints, and is a tonic for the uterus, in general.
For aches and pains frankincense will help with rheumatism and arthritis, along with other causes. One of the reasons that frankincense works so well is that it is very detoxifying. For that reason it is also great for the immune system, helping to strengthen it.
Frankincense is also great for those suffering from digestive upsets and other digestive problems. It has been known to help with diarrhea too. It is a good diuretic too, as well as being good for cystitis, and other urinary problems.
So, if you ever wondered about that stuff that was mentioned in the ancient biblical (and other) scriptures, now you know! Frankincense is one of those all important herb/oils that you just don’t want to do without!