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Facts and History of Frankincense
Frankincense comes from Boswellia trees that mainly grow in Somalia, Yemen, Oman and parts of India and Pakistan.
The name, ‘frankincense’ originates from the French, ‘franc encens‘ which translates as ‘high quality incense.’
When Boswellia trees are slashed, frankincense resin flows from the bark and is left to harden. Then, the farmers scrape of the sap which can be used as it is, crushed into a powder or steamed to produce oil.
It was used in ancient cultures in religious ceremonies and burials, in perfumes, for dental care, as insect repellents, as well as for medical purposes. The resin was chewed like gum to treat digestive ailments. The Iranian physician, Avicenna, recommended it for a variety of illnesses, in China, it was used as both an internal and external remedy and the Roman author, Pliny the Elder (who wrote the world’s first encyclopedia of natural history) believed it was an antidote to hemlock poisoning.
The Ancient Egyptians used frankincense as an ingredient of eyeliner.
Frankincense was considered more valuable than gold. In fact, the Greek writer, Herodotus, in the 5th century BCE, wrote that Boswellia trees were ‘guarded by winged serpents of small size and various colours.’
Even now, Somali, Ethiopian, Arabian and Indian cultures believe that its fragrance will bring good health, cleanse the home and purify clothing.
5 Science-based Benefits of Frankincense.
Unfortunately, there isn’t a lot of research but what there is shows that frankincense:-
1. May reduce your arthritis. In 2018, research revealed that it was more effective than a placebo at reducing osteoarthritis pain and increasing mobility. Participants in another study took a rather strange amount of 169.33 mg of Boswellia extract, twice daily, for 120 days. Results showed that it reduced inflammation, joint pain and stiffness in mild to moderate knee osteoarthritis.
2. May improve your gut function. In 2017, a study indicated that frankincense mixed with other herbal medicines reduced abdominal pain, bloating and even associated depression and anxiety in IBS sufferers.
3. Improves your asthma symptoms. A piece of research of asthma sufferers, during a 4-week period, who took 500 mg of Boswellia extract, as well as their normal asthma treatment were able to take fewer puffs of their inhalers.
4. Maintains your oral health. A study showed that frankincense extract was effective against a bacteria that causes aggressive gum disease.
5. May have anticancer properties. Test-tube studies propose that it may fight breast, prostate, pancreatic, skin and colon cancer cells. The use of frankincense may also help to reduce the side effects of cancer. Again, in only 1 study, the accumulation of fluid in the brain was reduced in people who were being treated for brain tumours when they took 4,500 mg of boswellic acid extract and it also lowered their medication doses.
How to Use Frankincense.
It can be applied to your skin if diluted in a carrier oil or a few drops can be added to your body lotions and moisturisers.
You can inhale it by sprinkling a few drops on a cloth.
You can burn it in incense sticks or add it to other oils in diffusers.
Finally, it can be taken in tablet or capsule form.
Do you use frankincense? If so, let me know in the comments how you use it.
Sources: soletoscana.com, britannica.com, famousscientists.org, plewsgardendesign.co.uk, newdirectionsaromatics.com, healthline.com, webmd.com, hollandand barratt.com, medicalnewstoday.com