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Frankincense - Natural remedy of the month

  January 2010



FrankincenseIt was only over last month’s Christmas period that I realized that frankincense was a lot more than just a gift from one of the Three Wise Men and a substance commonly used as incense. One report said that frankincense is now being officially investigated to assist in the treatment of some cancers.

Certainly, many people claim a variety of health benefits from the essential oils of frankincense.

Frankincense is a resin or dried tree sap that comes from trees (boswellia caraterii). It is mainly produced in the southern Arabian peninsula, and especially in Oman, Yemen and also across in Somalia.

Generally it is used as a sweet smelling incense and it is also used in aromatherapy. Most of the health benefits come for the essential oil which has a number of identified useful components such as alpha pinene, actanol, bornyl acetate, linalool, octyl acetate, incensole and incensyl acetate.

If like me you don’t recognise any of those names, basically its properties are said to act as an anti-septic, a disinfectant, an astringent, a carminative, a diuretic, a tonic and a sedative. You should not use frankincense oil on its own on the skin, but mixed with “carriers” it is said to have a number of beneficial effects.

Reports say that:

  • As an anti-septic and disinfectant: the fume or smoke obtained on burning frankincense has anti septic and disinfectant qualities and eliminates germs. The oil can be applied on wounds without any harm or side effect to protect them from tetanus and turning septic.
  • As an astringent: frankincense oil strengthens gums, hair roots, tones and lifts skin, contracts muscles, intestines and blood vessels. It can also help slow the flow of blood from wounds and cuts. This astringent property also helps cure certain types of diarrhoea.
  • As a carminative: frankincense oil helps to dissipate gasses in the intestines to give relief from associated problems such as stomach aches and indigestion. It is said to help speed up the secretion of digestive juices (gastic juices, bile and acids) in the stomach.
  • As a diuretic: many alternative health specialists say frankincense can promote urination and help lose extra water and also lower blood pressure.
  • As a tonic and a sedative: using frankincense as an incense is said to be very calming, inducing a feeling of mental peace, relaxation and reducing anxiety and stress which all helps to improve overall health.

Increasingly there are a number of commercial products coming on the market that include frankincense to give benefit, and thanks to increasing interest, production rather than price is going up. You can find frankincense products in health stores and many mainline pharmacists and also increasingly in mainstream supermarkets.

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