11 Health Benefits of Frankincense Essential Oil

by Meenakshi Nagdeve last updated - Medically reviewed by Scott Johnson (AMP, CEEOS, CCMA, CPC)

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The health benefits of frankincense essential oil can be attributed to its properties as an antiseptic, disinfectant, astringent, carminative, cicatrizant, cytophylactic, digestive, diuretic, emmenagogue, expectorant, sedative, tonic, uterine, and a vulnerary substance.

Apart from being used as a cosmetic and a fragrance, frankincense oil has many medicinal uses and health benefits such as reducing stress, boosting immunity, improving skin health, and promoting memory.

What Is Frankincense Oil?

Frankincense oil is extracted from the gum or resin of frankincense or olibanum trees, of the genus Boswellia carteri. Common species used to extract essential oil include Boswellia carterii, B. frereana, and B. sacra. The main components of this essential oil (depending on the species and chemotype) are alpha-pinene, octanol, alpha-thujene, octyl acetate, incensole, and incensole acetate. Frankincense has been a popular ingredient in cosmetics and incense burners for centuries. It has even been found in the remains of ancient Egyptian and Anglo-Saxon civilizations. Furthermore, it is closely associated with religious traditions and rites, particularly the Christian tradition.

Frankincense Essential Oil Health Benefits

Let us look at the most powerful healing benefits of Frankincense oil.

Antimicrobial Properties

Frankincense oil is effective as an antiseptic, and even the fumes or smoke obtained from burning it has antiseptic and disinfectant qualities that eliminate the germs as the smoke filters them out. According to a 2012 study frankincense oil has antimicrobial properties and may help protect against pathogens.  It can be applied to wounds to protect them from tetanus and becoming septic. It is equally good for internal wounds and protects them from developing infections.

Watch Video: 15 Amazing Benefits Of Frankincense Essential Oil

15 Amazing Benefits And Uses Of Frankincense Essential Oil | Organic Facts

Improves Oral Health

Frankincense oil is best known for fighting harmful microorganisms. These properties work well for maintaining dental health as well. While it finds wide dental uses in several cultures where it is hailed for its protective properties, a double-blind randomized clinical trial has found it to be especially useful against gingivitis. The study deems this to be a safe and cheaper medicine that can be used in aid of conventional treatment.

Astringent Property

Frankincense oil is experiencing growing popularity in the world of clean, alternative beauty. While its antimicrobial properties prove useful on the path to clear skin, frankincense oil also works well as an astringent. Moreover, it works at deeper levels for troubled skin thus providing more sustainable results and works especially well for oily skin types. You can make your serum or oil blend at home or can opt for several readily available products in the market.

It can help eliminate sun spots, remove micro-wrinkles around the eyes and cheeks, and generally tone and tighten skin all over your body, while simultaneously raiding cell regeneration.

Regulates Menstruation

Frankincense essential oil reduces obstructed and delayed menstruation and delays the advent of menopause. It also helps with other symptoms associated with menstruation and premenstrual syndromes (PMS), such as pain in the abdominal region, nausea, headache, fatigue, and mood swings.

Reduces Scars

This is one of the most interesting properties of frankincense oil. When applied topically or inhaled, it can help the scars and marks of boils, acne, and pox on the skin fade at a much faster rate. This also includes the fading of stretch marks and surgery scars, making it quite useful for pregnant women and new mothers.

A bottle of frankincense oil with frankincense resin crystals

Frankincense essential oil is a great perfume. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Aids Digestion

Fed up with those antacids? You should try frankincense oil instead. This oil has digestive properties without any side effects, and it facilitates digestion the way most medicines should, unlike common antacids which only suppress the symptoms. This oil speeds up the secretion of digestive juices (gastric juices, bile, and acids) in the stomach and facilitates the movement of food through the intestines by stimulating peristaltic motion. This means an all-around improvement in the digestion of food.

Anticancer Properties

According to a 2016 research frankincense has antitumor effects and promotes apoptosis in tumor cells. Research by a team at the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation says that frankincense oil may be used as an alternative therapy for bladder cancer. Another 2014 study conducted by researchers from the USA suggests pro-apoptotic effects against human bladder cells.

Furthermore, a 2015 study showed that the use of frankincense oil may be effective against breast cancer. However, more research and clinical trials are required to find its effectiveness and safety against different types of cancer.

Reduces Respiratory Issues

It soothes the cough and eliminates phlegm deposited in the respiratory tracts and the lungs. Frankincense essential oil also provides relief from bronchitis and congestion of nasal tract, larynx, pharynx, bronchi, and lungs. Its antidepressant and anti-inflammatory properties also help relax the breathing passages, which can reduce the dangers of asthma attacks, and its antiseptic qualities give it the reputation of being an immune system booster! It also eases body pain, headaches, toothaches, and balances the rise in body temperature commonly associated with colds.

Health benefits of frankincense essential oil infographic

Frankincense oil is extracted from the gum or resin of frankincense or olibanum trees, of the genus Boswellia carteri.

Relieves Stress

Frankincense forms an important part of several rituals in some cultures. It is meant to purify and repel negativity. Interestingly, similar effects are to be observed in frankincense oil. The results of a 2019 animal study found that the oil can easily help lower stress in rats by reducing sleep debt as well as maintaining antioxidant capacity. It was used topically in sleep-deprived rats with jojoba oil as a carrier.

Keeps Uterus Healthy

Frankincense oil is also very good for uterine health. Since it regulates the production of the estrogen hormone, it reduces the chances of post-menopause tumor or cyst formation in the uterus, also known as uterine cancer. It also keeps the uterus healthy by regulating proper menstrual cycles. It regulates gynecologic conditions or stressors that can lead to complicated dysfunctions in certain women.

Speeds up Healing

Simply apply a diluted solution of this oil on wounds, or use it after blending with skin cream, and your wounds will heal faster and will also be protected from infections. This oil is equally beneficial in healing internal wounds, cuts, and ulcers.

Other Benefits

Frankincense oil relieves pain associated with rheumatism and arthritis. It helps to heal boils, infected wounds, acne, circulatory problems, insomnia, and various types of inflammation as well.

Word of Caution: There are no known adverse side effects. That being said, frankincense essential oil should not be used during pregnancy and lactation or with medications without physician approval.

Blending: Frankincense oil blends well with other oils such as lime, lemon, orange, and other citrus oils as well as benzoin, bergamot, lavender, myrrh, pine, and sandalwood oil. This makes it a popular element of various aromatherapy combinations.

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About the Author

Meenakshi Nagdeve, Co-Founder, Organic Facts is a health and wellness enthusiast and is responsible for managing it. She has completed the Nutrition And Healthy Living Cornell Certificate Program, Cornell University, US. She holds a Post Graduate Diploma in Management from IIM Bangalore and B. Tech in Metallurgical Engineering and Materials Science from IIT Bombay. Prior to this, she worked for a few years in IT and Financial services. An ardent follower of naturopathy, she believes in healing with foods. In her free time, she loves to travel and taste different types of teas.

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