Frankincense Essential Oil Traditional Uses and Recipes

Frankincense Essential Oil
Frankincense Essential Oil made from Resin

Frankincense essential oil (Boswellia carterii) is produced from the resin or gum of the tree that is excreted from its bark. It begins as a milky white liquid and once it becomes solid, its color transforms to an orange or amber color. You may have already noticed the picture on the left. I think it is a beautiful color and reminds me of citrine. Steam distillation is the process used to make this essential oil. The tree grows up to approximately 12 feet tall and the diameter of its trunk is 3 to 4 feet.

I love it’s smell and find it very calming and relaxing and it also helps me with congestion. I find its scent to be very woodsy and resinous with some pine and a hint of citrus. It reminds me of being among the trees on a somewhat damp day due to its rich aroma. Frankincense has a long and full history. The Egyptians made use of Frankincense in their makeup and their embalming process. The Greeks and Romans made use of it as incense during their religious ceremonies. Even in Traditional Chinese Medicine it is useful for promoting the movement of chi.

Frankincense is a very safe oil that all can use. If the essential oil becomes oxidized it may cause some skin sensitization according to Tisserand so store it in a dark cool place along with all your other oils.

Frankincense essential oil tends to be high in pinene (a and b) and limonene giving it great anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. It is also has antioxidant, cicatrisant (skin healing), immunostimulant, and tonic properties.

Traditional Uses of Frankincense Essential Oil

Frankincense is wonderful oil and many essential oil starter kits include it. It is calming to the mind and is very helpful for managing our many emotions and moods. A very supportive oil for reflection, focus and stillness which is not surprising due to its use in religious ceremonies. For respiratory concerns it has been used and found to be effective for ongoing problems including asthma, it seems to relax the lungs and supports the immune system.

Tension headaches, joint pain and tight neck muscles are easily helped because it is a great pain reliever and very anti-inflammatory. Used extensively in skin care because it seems to not only protect the skin it is also beneficial for assisting dry and aging skin. With its great cicatrisant properties Frankincense works well for cell regeneration as well as any other type of skin healing needs, including scars. I love Frankincense essential oil as much as I do Lavender and carry a roll on of the two in my purse!

Currently there is a lot of information throughout the web about Frankincense Essential Oil and its benefits for Cancer.  The research studies are interesting and do show in vitro results using Frankincense Oil that was effective against cancer cells. I did however, find this article and thought I would share it since you may want to read another’s view on it such as Tisserand’s.

Using Frankincense

Frankincense has many uses. You can use it in a diffuser, a room spray, on your skin, in a steam for your face or lungs. You can also mix it in a lotion or carrier oil to help with pain. I like to use Frankincense to keep me calm and love to mix it with Bergamot and Lavender Essential Oil. You can make this calming yet slightly bright blend by mixing the following. Use a 15ml roll on bottle: base of organic jojoba oil, 5 drops of Frankincense Essential Oil, 2 drops of Lavender Essential Oil and 2 drops of Bergamot.

For skin care I love to make a toner or facial mist using Frankincense and Rose Hydrosol. It is such a great combination! I start with a 4 oz spray bottle and mix equal parts of Rose and Frankincense Hydrosol. For myself, I usually add 1 -2  teaspoons of aloe vera gel for extra moisture and 1-2 teaspoons of witch hazel to act as an astringent.  If you want you can add a drop or two of your favorite facial essential oil to the toner.

For the respiratory system or congestion, I love to mix Frankincense Essential Oil with Eucalyptus or Cedarwood Essential Oil using the dab and drop method and apply to the bottom of my feet or on my chest. I take a dab of oil or lotion and add a drop of Frankincense and Eucalyptus  Globus or Cedarwood to the oil or lotion and rub into the bottoms of my feet or chest.

You can purchase Frankincense Essential or various essential oils via Nature’s Sunshine. If you are interested in learning more about using essential oils, Aromahead Institute has a free course.

Remember to follow suggested safety practices when using essential oils.


Battaglia, Salvatore. The Complete Guide to Aromatherapy. Brisbane: International Centre of Holistic Aromatherapy, 2003. Print.
“Essential Oils, Body Butters, Carriers, Hydrosols.” Aromatherapy Pure, Organic Essential Oils | Aromatics International. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Nov 2016. <>.
Pressimone, Jennifer. Holistic Aromatherapy Comprehensive Guide, JennScents, Inc: 2015. Print.