Fabulous Frankincense

By Emma Suttie, D.Ac, AP

Frankincense has a history that reaches back thousands of years and has a wide variety of uses including religious practices, beautification (the ancient Egyptians charred and ground it into a powder to use for eyeliner), aromatherapy and health. Frankincense comes from Boswellia trees which grow in Africa and much of the Middle East including Yemen, Oman, Somalia and Ethiopia. The sap is extracted from the bark of the Boswellia tree then left to harden into a resin which is then scraped off. The resin can be used for a variety of purposes and is steam-distilled to produce a fragrant essential oil.

Frankincense is known as the king of oils because it benefits all the systems in the body, including the digestive, respiratory, nervous, and excretory systems. It aids the absorption of nutrients and strengthens the immune system. Frankincense promotes healthy cell regeneration and keeps existing cells and tissues healthy which gives it almost unlimited uses as medicine for a huge variety of ailments.


Frankincense has antiseptic, astringent, anti-inflammatory, disinfectant, digestive, diuretic, and expectorant properties.


Frankincense is excellent for calming after a long day, adding a few drops to a hot bath will aid with stress and leave you feeling relaxed and rejuvenated and help you have a good nights sleep.

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Frankincense helps speed up digestion, resolves gas, constipation, and IBS. Add 1-2 drops of oil in a tablespoon of honey (make sure oil is %100 pure and not an aromatic or scented oil).

Women's Health

Frankincense regulates estrogen production in women and reduces the risk of tumor and cyst formation in the uterus post-menopause, as well as regulates the menstrual cycle of postmenopausal women and helps with menstrual pain and bloating.

Skin Conditions

Frankincense is an astringent, and helps protect skin cells, reduces acne, reduces pore size, heals blemishes, prevents wrinkles, and lifts and tightens skin naturally. Use topically anywhere skin is loose (6 drops to one-ounce carrier oil on the skin). Frankincense also strengthens gums and hair roots, stops bleeding from wounds on the skin, speeds up healing of cuts, acne, insect bites, and boils.

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Household Cleanser

Frankincense is also a powerful antiseptic and will eliminate bacteria and viruses from inside your house. The resin is commonly burned as incense to disinfect an area. You can use an essential oil diffuser to disinfect any room in the house.

Oral Hygiene

Frankincense prevents tooth decay, cavities, bad breath, as well as oral infections. You can add a few drops of Frankincense oil to toothpaste to help improve oral health.


Research has shown that frankincense reduces inflammation, particularly helping to inhibit the breakdown of cartilage that causes arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Pain Killer

You can use frankincense oil directly on the skin or with a carrier oil such as coconut or jojoba for pain relief due to its blood moving as well as anti-inflammatory properties.

Colds & Respiratory Health

Frankincense breaks up phlegm in the respiratory tract and in the lungs, relieves congestion and helps resolve bronchitis. Add a few drops of the essential oil to a diffuser or vaporizer to clear the respiratory tract, it will also deodorize and disinfect your home of germs, bacteria, and viruses.

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Frankincense in Chinese Medicine

In Chinese medicine, Frankincense is the herb Ru Xiang. The resin is the part that is used and it belongs to the group of herbs that move stagnation and invigorate blood. Frankincense is warm, aromatic, acrid and very moving and the channels or meridians that it affects are the heart, liver, and spleen.

Small amounts of raw frankincense taken internally are used to stimulate the stomach and promote digestion, but in larger amounts, it can be irritating to the stomach so the raw form of frankincense is usually used topically or for small dosage forms like pills and capsules.

Ru Xiang is commonly used for pain, specifically form women's issues like painful periods, or no periods (due to blood stagnation), and pain due to any digestive problem, especially due to blockage or stagnation as moving blood is one of the herbs strongest actions. Ru Xiang is also used for pain in traumatic injuries, as well as skin conditions like carbuncles, sores, and swellings.

Ru Xiang powder is used externally to reduce swelling and pain and is extremely effective in healing skin conditions as it speeds the healing process and boosts the immune system. Ru Xiang is also used for pain and swelling of the gums, mouth, and throat. It is commonly used with many other herbs for its pain inhibiting, anti-inflammatory and healing and regeneration properties.

Frankincense is powerful with a multitude of healing properties. You can use the oil topically - directly on the skin, or put a few drops in a carrier oil such as coconut, jojoba, almond, avocado, clary sage, rosemary, citrus or basil for pain or inflammation. You can add a few drops to an essential oil diffuser or vaporizer, or take small quantities internally to promote health. There is a lot of research being conducted presently about frankincense and its effectiveness against cancer. Just be sure that if you are taking it internally, that you are using a 100% pure oil that is labeled for internal use and not an aromatic or scented oil. It is a wonderful oil to keep around the house for its many uses and medicinal properties, and that is why, in my opinion, it is pretty fabulous. ;)

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Fabulous Frankincense :: Chinese Medicine Living