Frankincense Essential Oil

Latin name Boswellia carterii / B. carteri / B. sacra / B. thurifera Family species Burseraceae

frankincenseFrankincense is also referred to as Olibanum and is familiar to many thanks to the popularity of incense as well as its association with religion and religious ceremonies.

According to Dr. Vivian Lunny in Aromatherapy (Complementary Health), Frankincense is “very beneficial for the treatment of asthma, bronchitis.”

“Used in perfumery, including as a fixative, it [frankincense essential oil] has a rejuvenating reputation in face creams for dry or mature skins. Frankincense (also called Olibanum) is used for asthma and other respiratory problems, and during meditation or prayer to calm and deepen breathing and ease stress and tension.” – Lesley Bremness in Crabtree & Evelyn Fragrant Herbal: Enhancing Your Life with Aromatic Herbs and Essential Oils

Oil Selection Guide

Color – Pale yellow to pale amber green
Viscosity – Watery to slightly viscous
Scent – Warm, sweet, rich, spicy, fresh terpeney top note, balsamy undertone
Perfume Aroma – Base / middle note

Oil Source Information

Plant Type – Small Tree / Shrub
Part Used – Resin
Countries of Origin – Somalia, Oman, Ethiopia, Saudi Arabia, China
Extraction Method – Steam distillation

Known Chemical Constituents

Alpha pinene, beta pinene, olibanol, limonene, thujone, phellandrene, terpinene, octanal, incensole, octyl acetate

Applications and Uses

Frankincense is used in perfumery and aromatherapy, and in the production of soaps, cosmetics, and pharmaceutical products.

Frankincense blends well with

(The citrus oils are especially complementary with Frankincense.)

Recipes and Ideas

Precautions / Contraindications

See Essential Oils Safety and Usage.

References and Resources

See Aromatherapy References and Resources page.

Other Links of Interest

Discover Magazine: Smell Your Way to Happiness

“A team of Israeli and U.S. scientists recently isolated a compound from Boswellia tree resin (best known as frank­incense) and injected it into mice.

The chemical soothed mice that were placed in anxiety-inducing situations—such as having to tread water for prolonged periods. “It seems to have similar effects as an antidepressant and antianxiety drug,” says Arieh Moussaieff, a pharmacologist from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, who led the study.”

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