Frankincense, (Boswellia thurifera) also known as Olibanum, is a small desert shrub with thorny branches, white or pale pink flowers and grows in mountainous, dry conditions. The harvesting of frankincense is quite laborious, the best quality frankincense is taken from the third harvest of the tree. The gum resin is obtained by making small incisions into the bark. All parts of the plant especially the bark contain resin. The name Olibanum comes from the Arab word “al Luban” which means milk, referring to the milky sap, which leaks from the incision. After three months, the hardened resin is scraped off the trunk of the tree and sorted into different qualities, the resin to be distilled for essential oil is still sticky inside, containing a higher concentration of oil. This sap/resin is then steam distilled to obtain the essential oil of frankincense.
In ancient times, every part of the tree was used. The bark could be infused to make a cleansing tea, and powdered bark was stored as a “ready to prepare” ointment or paste, made by adding water, for dressing a wound or burn. Frankincense bark was also used as an antiseptic wash to clean dirty wounds and infections of the skin. Frankincense is a healing emollient for dry skin and is very effective in soothing dry coughs or congestion, due to its moistening and balsamic properties.
Burning Frankincense as an incense has been a sacred practice used for centuries in religious ceremonies and for meditation because of its grounding and sedative properties. It is well known for calming the nerves, and is very useful for states of nervousness and tension, easing shortness of breath especially in response to anxiety.
Religious history tells the story of the Three Wise Men bringing gold, frankincense and myrrh as a gift to baby Jesus. At one time, frankincense was actually more valuable than gold. Frankincense, being an ancient and traditional scent is also known for healing past wounds and traumas with its rich, clean and balsamic fragrance.
Some of the ways I love to utilize Frankincense is by applying it to the soles of my client’s feet during a treatment. I have found this to be quite effective to help ground people if they are nervous or anxious during a massage.
To make a Frankincense salve for the body:
Prep your 100ml glass jar with 25 drops of frankincense.
Melt 10 grams /10ml of grated bees wax into ¼ C. Jojoba oil in a double boiler.
Pour the melted liquid into a 100ml glass jar over the Frankincense (no need to stir)
Allow your salve to cool and solidify before dipping in! (within the hour)
This simple and lovely salve is an all-purpose healing ointment and is useful for
minor skin irritations, as a meditation anointment on the third eye, and to soothe a dry cough when applied directly to the chest. It can also be used as a moisturizer for dry skin.
For more information on Essential Oils and Aromatherapy go to: www.fromnaturetonurture.com
School for Aromatic Studies
Pacific Institute of Aromatherapy
Shamanic Yoga Institute
Science and Art of Herbology
Organic Essential Oils
Paradise Valley, BC