Frankincense is a resin that is derived from the Boswellia. Frankincense oil had been sought after for over 5000 years for its benefits. It was found in King Tut’s tomb, and it is mentioned in the story of Christ’s birth as a gift from one of the wise men who came to see the newborn king. For most of us in Western culture frankincense is relatively unknown, but today scientists are discovering many of the benefits that this substance provides, leading us to understand why it was once valued as much as gold.
Not only is frankincense used for a variety of skin problems such as wrinkles, wounds, scars, dry skin, and relief for sore muscles, but there have also been a number of recent university studies showing the medicinal benefits of frankincense for issues such as arthritis, anxiety and even cancer.
Frankincense has been used in many cultures as an incense, because it was said to produce a state of calmness. In 2008 scientists and Hebrew University of Jerusalem have found that there might actually be something to this, concluding that frankincense does in fact relieve symptoms of depression and anxiety. The study, published issue of FASEB Journal, discovered that the positive effects were due to an element in Wholesale Essential Oils called incensole acetate. Gerald Weissman of the FASEB Journal remarked, “The discovery of how incensole acetate, purified from frankincense, works on specific targets in the brain should also help us understand diseases of the nervous system.”
This discovery of frankincense as a natural remedy for anxiety and depression is very promising, but scientists are finding that it may have even more benefits than anyone realized. Veterinary Medicine found that frankincense helped to reduce the size of skin cancer lesions on horses. John Roberts, director of the college’s Center for Comparative Oncology applied the frankincense topically and found that the treatment eliminated small cancer cells and greatly reduced larger tumors. Robertson noted, “….this ancient medicine may have significant modern uses for chemotherapy of non-resectable malignancies.”
Another study performed at the University of Oklahoma released data on the effects of frankincense on bladder cancer cells. It revealed that frankincense can not only differentiate between normal bladder cells and cancer cells, but that it could also help inhibit cancer cell viability. The study stated, “Micro-array and bioinformatics analysis proposed multiple pathways that can be activated by frankincense oil to induce bladder cancer cell death.”1
The variability of the benefits of frankincense oil is astounding. Not only is it being shown to have potential with reducing cancer cells, but another study shows that frankincense extract from a particular variety of the Boswellia tree called Serrata, can relieve symptoms of osteoarthritis.2 Davis noted that their team was concentrating on a particular ingredient in frankincense called AKBA which has been shown to have strong anti-inflammatory properties. The UC Davis team was testing this form of frankincense because it has been proven to be highly effective without any of the adverse side effects other treatments possessed. Their research included a double-blind study with placebo controls and was performed on seventy patients. The team was hopeful after processing the results of their tests and commented that frankincense “was shown to have no major adverse effects in our osteoarthritis patients. It is safe for human consumption and even for long-term use.”
Frankincense oil is a great substance to have on the shelf for a variety of health issues. It is a very useful ingredient for homemade skin care products as well as a stand alone treatment for numerous skin issues, arthritis, and cancer. No wonder it has long been considered a gift suitable for wise men and kings!