Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Essential Oil in Focus: Frankincense

I have let the Essential Oil of the Week posts lapse recently so from now on they will be called Essential Oil in Focus and I will post new ones as and when I have written them.

In the limelight this week is a relaxing base note essential oil as I have only covered top and middle notes so far.

Botanical name: Boswellia Carteri

Aroma type: Resinous

Note: Base

Frankincense, also known as Olibanum, has been widely used in religious ceremonies and rituals for thousands of years in many areas of the world including India, Egypt, China and by the Catholic church here in the West. It was also burnt as an incense to 'drive out evil spirits'.

It was a very costly substance in the Ancient World which made it favourable as an item of offering. It was one of the gifts given to the baby Jesus.

The properties of Frankincense essential oil include anti-catarrhal, carminative, digestive, diuretic, emmenagogue (promotes or increases menstruation), antidepressant, antiseptic, astringent, cicatrisant (promotes the healing of a wound), immuno-stimulant, anti-inflammatory, sedative, and uterine.

It is also a very effective expectorant and I often find when I use this oil, it makes me cough a little even if I haven’t got a cold or cough. To help with respiratory problems and colds, place 4 drops of the oil in to a bowl of boiling water - lean over the bowl, covering your head with a towel and inhale the steam for five to ten minutes.

Frankincense can help with a wide range of medical conditions including stress, tiredness, cuts, emotional problems, coughs, ulcers, wounds, headaches, asthma, anxiety, depression, bronchitis, colds, laryngitis, PMS, cystitis, panic attacks, flu, heavy periods, menstrual problems, catarrh, insomnia, irritability, hyperventilation, postnatal depression, fibrositis, haemorrhoids, poor muscle tone, dilated capillaries, and abscesses. It is also thought to boost confidence.

It is also very good for rheumatism, arthritis, and general aches and pains. In the olden days, people suffering from rheumatism were advised to suspend their painful joints in the smoke of frankincense. They would also sit on a chair with holes in over the burning incense bathing their entire body in the smoke.

In Ancient Egypt, Frankincense was used in rejuvenating face masks, cosmetics and perfumes. Today, it is still being used by Aromatherapists to help treat skin conditions such as blemishes, acne, stretch marks, psoriasis, scar tissue, and wrinkles. It is suitable for all skin types, especially dry and mature skin.

Frankincense soothes and calms the mind, slowing down and deepening breathing which makes it excellent for use in meditation. It is also one of the reasons I like using it in my Reiki sessions. I place a drop on the palms of my hands and the aroma can be enjoyed by the client when I am working around their head area at the beginning of the treatment. I think it also comforts the client and helps them to reach a state of relaxation quicker.

It blends particularly well with citrus oils, and many other oils such as basil, cypress, lavender, and geranium.

Frankincense is non-toxic and non-irritant and can be used safely by most people.

While writing this post, I thought wouldn’t it be great if the aroma of frankincense could be accompanied with the post somehow and slowly diffuse into the air around the computer as you read this – a kind of scratch ‘n’ sniff post! Frankincense has such a lovely fragrance so it’s no wonder that it is one of the most popular incenses available.

A very spiritual and calming oil - it is a true favourite of mine.

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1 comment:

  1. Frankincense Oil - Frankincense Pure Essential Oil, popular since ancient times, is a natural comforting and elevating oil. Frankincense Essential Oils anti-septic and astringent properties make it useful for the skin.