15 Proven Health Benefits of Frankincense 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, fighting cancer, 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.

Boosts Immune System

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, without any side effects. It is equally good for internal wounds and protects them from developing infections. Further, due to the anti-inflammatory effects of Boswellic acid found in frankincense oil, it has been traditionally used as a natural remedy in India. The early clinical trials suggest positive effects however larger studies are required to confirm the same.

Watch Video: 15 Amazing Benefits Of Frankincense Essential Oil

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

Improves Oral Health

The same antiseptic qualities also make frankincense oil a useful preventive measure against oral health issues, like bad breath, toothaches, cavities, mouth sores, and other infections. Look for natural oral care products that include frankincense oil if you enjoy the flavor or aroma, and want to include a strong antiseptic in your health regimen. You can even create your all-natural toothpaste with frankincense oil and baking soda or mouthwash with water and peppermint oil.

Astringent Property

The astringent property of Frankincense oil has many benefits. It strengthens the gums, hair roots, tones and lifts skin, contracts muscles, intestines, and blood vessels, and thereby gives protection from premature loss of teeth and hair. This astringent quality also reduces the appearance of wrinkles and combats the loss of firmness of intestines, abdominal muscles, and limbs associated with age (source: International Journal of Nutrition, Pharmacology, Neurological Diseases 2012). Above all, frankincense acts as a coagulant, helping to stop bleeding from wounds and cuts. This astringent property also helps relieve diarrhea.

Regulates Menstruation

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

Prevents Gas Buildup

Frankincense oil eliminates gas and prevents it from building up in the body. This removal of excess gas from the intestines also gives relief from associated problems like stomach aches, pain in the abdominal region and chest, abnormal amounts of sweating, uneasiness, indigestion, and many other related conditions.

Reduces Scars

This is an interesting property of frankincense oil, and since skincare and anti-aging are hot topics these days, this essential oil has become even more important! When applied topically or inhaled, it can make 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, surgery marks, and fat cracks associated with pregnancy and delivery.

A bottle of frankincense oil with frankincense resin crystals

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

Promotes Digestion

Suffering from indigestion due to that turkey last night? A patient with chronic indigestion and acidity? 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 cell death or apoptosis. Frankincense oil may help reduce the risk of cancer. The oil can be used topically to reduce the spreading of skin cancer and breast cancer. Research led by Mark Barton Frank of the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation Microarray Research Facility says that frankincense oil may be used as an alternative therapy for bladder cancer. A 2014 study conducted by researchers from the USA suggests pro-apoptotic effects against human bladder cells. 

Another 2015 study by Suhail MM, et al. showed that the use of frankincense oil may be effective against breast cancer. However, more research and clinical trials are required to find if this oil is effective and consistent in treating different types of cancer.

Delays Aging

As a cytophylactic, frankincense oil promotes the regeneration of healthy cells and also keeps existing cells and tissues healthy. When you combine this aspect of frankincense oil with its powerful astringent capabilities, you have a potent anti-aging quality that frankincense oil is often used for. It can help you eliminate sun spots, remove micro-wrinkles around the eyes and cheeks, and generally tone and tighten skin all over your body, while simultaneously replacing old or dying cells with new and healthy ones!

Acts as Tonic

Overall, frankincense essential oil tones and boosts health and is, therefore, considered a tonic. It benefits all the systems operating in the body, including the respiratory, digestive, nervous, and excretory systems, while also increasing strength by aiding the absorption of nutrients into the body. Furthermore, frankincense oil strengthens the immune system and keeps you strong.

Stimulates Urination

If you think that Lasix (furosemide) and its variants are the only drugs that can help you release water from the body through urination, you are incorrect. Those pharmaceutical options may be instantaneous, but not very safe. Frankincense essential oil is a natural and safe alternative. It promotes urination and helps you lose that extra water weight, as well as fats, sodium, uric acid, and various other toxins from the body, with the added advantage of lowering blood pressure. The best part about this is that frankincense essential oil is completely safe and has no adverse side effects.

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 oil is very effective as a sedative because it induces a feeling of mental peace, relaxation, satisfaction, and spirituality. It also awakens insight, makes you more introspective, and lowers anxiety, anger, and stress, especially in men, says a study published in the Journal of Men’s Health. When you are feeling anxious or if you anticipate some sort of stressful episode, add some frankincense oil to a diffuser or a vaporizer. It promotes deep breathing and relaxation, which can open your breathing passages and reduce blood pressure, moving your mental state back to calmness.

Keeps Uterus Healthy

A study by Dr. Jane Buckle, ex-faculty at the University of Minnesota and author of Clinical Aromatherapy in Nursing, throws light on the importance of essential oils for sexual health. 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. In terms of the pre-menopausal period, it keeps a woman’s uterus healthy by regulating proper menstrual cycles. It also treats or 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, gingival, 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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