The Medicine Woman – Aromatherapy – Frankincense Essential Oil – Immune, reproductive systems, Anti-aging, Antiseptic

Twenty years ago I ran a health food shop and diet advisory centre here in Ireland and we sold essential oils for aromatherapy. I thought that I should learn more about it and took a course on the subject. It is not something that I have covered here on the blog, and I am looking forward to refreshing my memory from my course notes. and introducing you to this relaxing therapy at the same time.

What is Aromatherapy

Aromatherapy uses essential oils which have been extracted from specific sweet smelling plants for therapeutic massage. They are blended with specialised carrier oils to ensure that they are used in a diluted form and are easily absorbed by the skin. The oils can also be used to add these therapeutic aromas to our environment as well with the use of burners.

This week one of the most exotic and ancient essential oils that is also one of my favourites which is also used in the skincare industry. If you see Boswellia on the label it contains Frankincense.

Frankincense from Somalia and Oman is extracted from the resin.

  • Scent: Incense, warm, spicy, with a hint of citrus.
  • Usage: Inhalation, Bath, Skin Care, Massage
  • Note: Middle, Base
  • Mood: Calming
  • Safety: None indicated.

The brief history of Frankincense.

Originally this essential oil would have been known as olibanum in Hebrew and al-luban (that which results from milking) in Arabic. It is obtained from the resin (known as the tears) of the Boswellia genus of trees (sapindales), particularly the Bosewellia sacra and more recently the Indian B. thurifera.

It was only when the Frankish Crusaders reintroduced the oil to Europe that it became known by the French name derived from Francencens (high quality incense).

There is evidence that Frankincense was traded as a valuable commodity in Arabia over 5000 years ago with paintings depicting sacks of the resin on the walls of the tomb of the Egyptian Queen Hatshepsut. Clearly something she wanted to take with her. The resin was traded mainly from Southern Arabia at the time and was exported as far as China.

It was mentioned in Ancient Greece and Herodotus mentioned that it was dangerous to extract due to the venomous snakes who also enjoyed being in close proximity to the boswellia trees.

Frankincense was a consecrated incense and has numerous mentions in the Hebrew Bible, Talmud and used in the Ketoret (burnt incense offering ceremonies), blended to a secret recipe. The essence is also mentioned in the New Testament and was offered together with gold and myrrh to the infant Jesus. It is known as a symbol of not just holiness but righteousness and symbolic of the sacrifice as in the burnt offerings in the Ketoret.

There are four main species of boswellia that produce the true, high quality frankincense and the resin comes in various grades that depends on the time of harvesting. It is then hand sorted for quality

The resin from the boswellia genus of trees is used extensively in the pharmaceutical industry particularly in anti-inflammatories and traditionally has been used for skin complaints. For use in the perfumery and skincare industry, the essential oil is extracted by steam distillation.

Although there are no indications of danger in using frankincense topically, I do recommend a skin test at least 24 hours before using.

Health benefits of Frankincense essential oils.

As an antiseptic it may be used on wounds to prevent infection and stop bleeding and the smoke from a diffuser can also help eliminate germs in the immediate vicinity.

It is an astringent which is why it is used in facial skincare. Used diluted in a base cream or lotion it may help prevent acne or to clear the spots effectively. It helps to constrict the skin smoothing out wrinkles. As an inhalent that helps maintain a healthy hormonal balance it may prevent acne associated with monthly periods.

It also is used in body lotions for stretch marks and cellulite with the bonus of making you smell very good. If rubbed into the lower abdomen it may also help with cramps and other PMS symptoms, and is particularly useful during the menopause. Because it is calming.. a regular massage using the oil, in combination with others can alleviate mood swings and stress.

When inhaled the oil can regulate hormone production helping PMS symptoms and also maintaining a healthy reproductive system, boost the immune system, improve digestion, improve inflammatory related health issues, help stop diarrhea and may help internal wound healing. It may also promote urination and water retention eliminating toxins from the body, reducing blood pressure and helping to maintain a healthy weight.

It can be used in homemade toothpaste along with baking soda and peppermint oil to help prevent cavities, improve gum health and you can use in water as a mouthwash. From time to time I will put a drop on my toothbrush and use instead of toothpaste and also after brushing, wash the brush head thoroughly in very hot water and then rub in a drop of frankincense as an antiseptic cleaner.

Some of the many other essential oils that Frankincense blends well with. When combined with their health benefits, you have a powerful arsenal in your natural medicine cabinet.

Geranium from Egypt, Madagascar, China is made from the whole plant.

  • Scent: Floral
  • Usage: Skin Care, Massage, Baths
  • Note: Middle
  • Mood: Harmonising
  • Safety: None Indicated.

Mandarin is made from the peel of the fruit and comes from Brazil, Algeria and Argentina.

  • Scent: Citrus
  • Usage: Bath, massage, skin care
  • Note: Top
  • Mood: Soothing
  • Safety: Avoid exposure to sunlight.

Neroli is made from the flowers and comes from Morocco, Tunisia and France.

  • Scent: Floral
  • Usage: Skin care, massage, baths
  • Note: Top
  • Mood: Calming
  • Safety: None indicated

Patchouli is made from the leaves and comes from India, Malaysia and Indonesia.

  • Scent: Musky
  • Usage: Burners, massage, baths
  • Note: Base
  • Mood: Calming
  • Safetly: None indicated.

Rose Otto is made from the flowers and comes from Bulgaria and Turkey.

  • Scent: Floral
  • Usage: massage, skin care and baths.
  • Note: Middle/Top
  • Mood: Balancing
  • Safety: None indicated.

Sandalwood is made from the wood of the tree and comes from India.

  • Scent: Woody
  • Usage: Massage, inhalation, skin care, baths.
  • Note: Base
  • Mood: Balancing
  • Safety: None indicated.

Ylang Ylang is made from the flowers and comes from Madagascar.

  • Scent: Floral
  • Usage: massage, baths, skin care
  • Note: Middle
  • Mood: Seductive
  • Safety: None indicated.

Just a couple of notes.

This is not a full list of essential oils and you can discover the full range at any specialist shop or website. You will also find that they have carrier oils and also a range of accessories for blending and keeping your finished preparation fresh.

Secondly it is not advisable to take essential oils internally especially in their concentrated form. However, I have used peppermint oil … just one drop to a large glass of water for IBS. Do ask an expert before experimenting.

©Sally Cronin 2018

Additional information:

Thank you for joining me today and I hope you have found interesting… thanks Sally




28 thoughts on “The Medicine Woman – Aromatherapy – Frankincense Essential Oil – Immune, reproductive systems, Anti-aging, Antiseptic

  1. Brilliant article Sally, Loved the Herodotus mention.I also read somewhere the Essenes used it to Whiten their religious robes by rubbing in its ash to the fabric… which links back to it being one the gifts fort the infant Jesus. This is a really thought provoking series of articles. Pxxx

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh I loved this Sal. Great to learn about some of the origins of these oils. I wasn’t aware that frankincense has so many healing properties either. I love the smell of Neroli and Yling Ylang. ❤ xx

    Liked by 1 person

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