Frankincense - Boswellia carteri

The Chinese used the gum in the treatment of leprosy and tuberculosis...

Frankincense has a fresh, spicy top note and warm, woody sweet-balsamic undertone.

Nature: soothing, uplifting, warming

Also known as Olibanum, frankincense is used in skin care to help rejuvenate aging skin and to soothe and heal inflamed skin.

Ideal as an inhalant to calm the mind and slow down breathing for use as a meditation aid.

Principal Actions: Soothing and rejuvenating to the skin; respiratory infections - the vapors open the sinus and breathing passages; uterine tonic.

Practical Uses

Methods of use: application, aroma lamp, bath, diffusor, hot compress, inhalation, massage, mist spray, steam inhalation, vaporize

Skin Care with Frankincense

Frankincense is useful for general skin tone and condition. It has rejuvenating properties for dry, mature complexions, wrinkles and scars. Added to a base cream or lotion, it soothes acne, inflamed skin, bruises and burns.

To improve skin tone: Mix 4 drops frankincense, 2 drops rose otto, and 4 drops neroli into 20ml/4 tsp carrier oil and massage into the face nightly.

To heal cuts and grazes: Mix 4 drops frankincense, 2 drops myrrh and 4 drops lavender into 20ml/4 tsp carrier oil and apply to the wound.

To heal infected skin: Use a hot compress with 4 drops frankincense and 2 drops tea tree.

Respiratory System

Frankincense is also used as an expectorant to help relieve respiratory ailments such as bronchitis, catarrh, coughs and laryngitis.

To help clear catarrh: In a steam inhalation, add 1 drop frankincense, 2 drops peppermint and 1 drop eucalyptus to 500ml hot water. Alternate oils that are effective for catarrh include: cedarwood, ginger, hyssop, lavender, lemon, lime, myrrh, black pepper, Scotch pine, tea tree, thyme.

Genito-urinary and Endocrine Systems

Frankincense is used in the treatment of urinary tract infections ie. cystitis, painful menstruation and uterine bleeding outside menstruation.

For heavy periods: frankincense can be combined with the following oils in a massage blend or added to the bath – chamomile (Roman & German), clary sage, cypress, geranium, juniper, Spanish sage, rose (cabbage & damask), yarrow.

Immune System

Frankincense has antiseptic and antibacterial properties and can be used in aroma lamps, diffusors or in a mist spray during cold and flu season.

Nervous System

The spicy and woodsy scent of Frankincense has a soothing and balancing effect on the emotions. Frankincense aids in concentration and raises the spirits; it is one of the most powerful aids for deepening meditation and increasing awareness of the spiritual world. The calming effect of frankincense can be used for anxiety, PMS, nervous tension and stress-related disorders.

To raise low self-esteem: vaporize 3 drops frankincense and 3 drops cardamon.

Safety Data: Non-toxic, non-irritating, non-sensitizing; safe for all skin types. Avoid during 1st trimester of pregnancy as this oil is an emmenagogue (stimulates menstruation).

Frankincense in Aromatherapy

Botanical Name: Boswellia carteri

Note: Base - 100

Parts Used: oleo gum resin

Source: Steam distillation of the oleo gum resin exudes of the small tree (or shrub) native to north-east Africa. Some sources are extracted from the tree resin in Somalia.

Description and Odor Effect: a colorless to pale yellow liquid with warm, balsamic fragrance, subtly lemony, and sometimes with a note of camphor. The odor improves greatly as the oil ages.

Blends well with: basil, citrus oils, cypress, lavender, patchouli, pine, sandalwood, neroli, juniper berry, myrrh.

Applications: application, aroma lamp, bath, diffusor, hot compress, inhalation, massage, mist spray, steam inhalation, vaporize

Therapeutic Properties: abortifacient, analgesic, antibacterial, antidepressant, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antiseptic, antispasmodic, antitussive, astringent, balsamic, carminative, cephalic, cicatrizant, cytophylactic, digestive, diuretic, emmenagogue, emollient, expectorant, fixative, nervine, pectoral, purgative, rejuvenator (skin), revitalizing, sedative, stimulant (cells, immune system), tonic, tonifying (skin), uplifting, vulnerary, warming

Safety Data: Non-toxic, non-irritating, non-sensitizing; safe for all skin types. Avoid during 1st trimester of pregnancy as this oil is an emmenagogue (stimulates menstruation).

Chemical Composition

Chemical Composition:

Boswellia Carteri Res. Dist. [frankincense, olibanum] Burseraceae
Representative constituents
Hydrocarbons
monoterpenes (40%) a-pinene 21%, a-thujene 24%, limonene 8%, sabinene 6%, camphene, ß-myrcene, a-terpinene 3.5%, ß-pinene, ?-terpinene, a-terpinolene, a- and ß-phellandrene
sesquiterpenes a-gurjunene, a-guaiene, copaene, caryophyllene
aromatic  p-cymene 6%
Alcohols
monoterpenols borneol, terpinen-4-ol, trans-spinocarveol, linalool 2%
sesquiterpenols  farnesol
other octanol 12%
Ketones
monoterpenone verbenone
Esters
other octyl acetate 60%
Oxides diterpenoid incensole 3%

Frankincense – Quick Reference

Skin: blemishes, dry and mature complexions, scars, wounds, wrinkles

Respiratory: asthma, bronchitis, catarrh, coughs, laryngitis

Genito-urinary: cystitis, dysmenorrhoea (painful menstruation), leucorrhoea, menorrhagia (excessive menstruation)

Immune: colds, influenza

Nervous: anxiety, nervous tension and stress-related conditions

Keyword: Meditative

Frankincense Magic: when burned, frankincense releases powerful vibrations which not only uplift those of the area, but also drive out all evil and negativity.

Frankincense Harmony

Add these essential oils to 20 ml / 4 teaspoons carrier oil

To rejuvenate mature skin:

  • 4 drops Frankincense
  • 4 drops Neroli
  • 2 drops Rose Otto
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Home Essentials

  • One drop of lemon essential oil on a soft cloth will polish copper with gentle buffing.
  • When washing out the fridge, freezer or oven, add 1 drop of bergamont, grapefruit, lemon, lime, orange or mandarin essential oil to the final rinse water.
  • Essential oils of Atlas cedarwood, cypress, frankincense, myrrh and vetiver all make wonderful firewood oils. Drop approximately 2-3 drops of oil or blend of your choice on a dried log and allow time for the oil to soak in before putting the log on the fire.
  • Flies and moths dislike lavender oil. Sprinkle it on the outside of your window frames.

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Body Essentials

  • Overindulge last night? Essential oils of carrot seed, cedarwood, fennel, grapefruit, juniper berry, lavender and lemon help soften the effects of a hangover. Make your own blend from these oils and use a total of 6-8 drops in a bath.
  • 6 – 8 drops of eucalyptus oil in the bath cools the body in summer and protects it in winter.
  • Add 1 drop geranium oil to your facial moisturizer to bring out a radiant glow in your skin.
  • Place 1 or 2 drops of rosemary on your hair brush before brushing to promote growth and thickness.

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Creating a Balanced Blend

For a balanced massage blend, combine the essential oil drops in these proportions of essential oil "notes":

  • 3 drops Base Note
  • 7 drops Middle Note
  • 5 drops Top Note

For a total of 15 drops of essential oils per 30ml (1 oz) of carrier oil.


Top notes are the first impression of the blend; short-lived, yet brilliant. Top notes are sharp, penetrating, first to evaporate, extreme, and either hot or cold. Top notes provide the "ahhhh" in a blend.


Middle notes give body to blends - the developing phase with breadth and variety. Middle notes are warm, round, soft and mellow. Middle notes often provide the bulk, 50% to 80%, of the blend.


Base Notes are the final, lasting message of the blend; they deepen your blend and draw it into the skin, giving it roots and permanence. Base notes are deep, intense, rich and sensual. Base notes should be used sparingly, about 5%, so as not to overpower the blend.


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