It’s quite obvious why gold was given as a gift by the Three Wise Men in the nativity story – but what is so important about frankincense?
As it turns out, frankincense oil is a lot more than just a last-minute present!
Known around the world as the King of Oils, frankincense is a health-boosting essential oil that has been used by humans for approximately 5,000 years.
In this article, we take a look at what all the fuss is about.
What is frankincense oil?
Also known as olibanum, frankincense comes from the resin of the papery Boswellia tree, which is native to dry mountainous regions in India, Northern Africa, and parts of the Middle East.
In natural medicine, frankincense oil can be traced back to at least 1,500 BC and has been used since then to treat a range of inflammatory conditions. It is a particularly sacred ingredient in the traditional Hindu medical practice of Ayurveda.
This ancient oil has a rich, woody, earthy aroma, which is why it’s a popular fragrance for incense and is a key part of religious and cultural ceremonies.
What are the benefits of frankincense oil?
#1 – It can help reduce feelings of stress and anxiety
Frankincense oil is traditionally used to bring about feelings of calm and relief.
This was touched upon in a 2020 aromatherapy review, where two studies found that frankincense oil could decrease both the pain and anxiety felt by pregnant women in labour (perhaps explaining why it was chosen as a gift in the biblical story!).
While more studies are needed, centuries of use and anecdotal evidence suggests that frankincense can be very effective at combatting stress and anxiety.
#2 – It can soothe joint and muscle pain
Another benefit of frankincense oil is that it has anti-inflammatory properties, which can help ease pain in muscles and joints.
The Boswellic acids in frankincense are known to block inflammation-causing enzymes that can result in pain and swelling, while potentially reducing cartilage damage in arthritis. Science supports the use of frankincense through several studies, and the Arthritis Foundation even recommends frankincense as a treatment for arthritis.
Whether you suffer from this condition, or general aches and pains due to exercise-related inflammation, you can harness the power of frankincense oil by using our clinically-tested Relief Balm. This all-natural balm combines frankincense with a handful of similarly powerful ingredients for a unique and effective remedy.
#3 – It can help treat asthma
Wheezing and shortness of breath are some of the symptoms of asthma, which affects around 5.4 million people in the UK. Some evidence has emerged that frankincense could help prevent and treat this condition.
In another study of people with asthma, 70% of participants said they experienced improvements with their symptoms after receiving 300mg of frankincense per day for a month and a half.
This is thought to be down to the ability of frankincense to prevent leukotriene production, which causes the constriction of bronchial muscles in asthma sufferers.
While further research is warranted, the evidence is encouraging!
#4 – It may help treat cancer
Sadly, cancer is a disease that needs no introduction.
However, some promising studies have found that the Boswellic acids in frankincense oil may have antitumor properties, and frankincense has been linked as a potential treatment to bladder, ovarian, breast, and skin cancers.
More research and clinical trials are certainly required, although it is encouraging that frankincense oil could be used in the fight against cancer in the future.
How to use frankincense oil
Frankincense is a versatile substance that can be applied, inhaled, diffused, and taken orally as a supplement. At WholyMe, we use frankincense oil in two of our best-selling products.
To try the anti-inflammatory properties of frankincense yourself, we recommend taking a soak in a hot bath with a few handfuls of our Relief Salts. These salts contain frankincense oil as well as other soothing ingredients like eucalyptus and arnica oil.
After your bath, apply some of our popular Relief Balm to areas affected by inflammation. This innovative balm also includes other beneficial ingredients such as arnica, lavender, juniper and eucalyptus to form an effective part of your post-exercise recovery routine.
As you can see, frankincense truly is the gift that keeps on giving. Those Wise Men were clearly onto something!