Essential Oil Spotlight – Frankincense

Steeped in history as well as in benefits, frankincense essential oil ranks high on my list of must-haves in any Essential Oil collection.  I use it every day as part of my morning routine and can literally feel an emotional connection to the oil every time I use it.  Maybe because I grew up in a staunch Catholic family where the strong woody and citrus-y smell would grace our nostrils every time we entered the cathedral Sunday morning.

In any case, I’m not alone in making the emotional connection.  In fact, Frankincense Oil use in religious ceremonies has been recorded as far back as records have been kept.  It’s no stretch of the imagination to surmise that billions of souls throughout the ages have experienced the wonderful benefits of Frankincense.

Today we’ll dive into just where Frankincense Oil is sourced, it benefits and some of the wonderful way we recommend enjoying this most miraculous of all oils.

How is Frankincense Made?

Derived from a specific species of the the Olibanum Tree variety, the actual shrub-looking genre that produces frankincense (Boswellia Sacra) is really not much to look it.  Native to some of the harshest desert environments in Northern Africa, its gnarled wooded branches produce thin leaves which grow opposite each other on a singular plane.  Topping out at 20 feet, like many desert trees, it doesn’t grow very tall and once a year in the spring the tree produces unremarkable white or yellow colored flowers for pollination.  But it’s not the flowers or leaves that produce Frankincense:  this magic is actually contained within the tree’s sap!

To extract the sap, the Boswellia Sacra tree is pierced with a very specific knife called a “Mingaf” made specifically for the job, which – if done correctly – produces milky-white pitch that is set to dry out in the sun once collected.  The result is the raisin-sized, yellow to orange gum droplet that Frankincense is known for.

Health Benefits

There’s little mystery as to why Frankincense has been associated with spirituality and religion for millennia.  As an aromatic, the smoke or mist’s scent tends to induce an immediate feeling of calm, yet focused relaxation that’s perfect for concentration during prayer.

In addition to its natural calming properties, Frankincense has been used to great effect in a wide range of applications thanks to its proven astringent, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties.


Frankincense is a potent astringent, which is a fancy way of saying it helps protect your skin by tightening wrinkles and pores.  This, in turn helps protect your skin from hiding places where bacteria, chemicals and dirt can ruin your beautiful complexion.  It also been known to reduce acne scars, stretch marks and eczema blemishes promoting healing while preventing further skin deterioration.

In combination with other astringents like Rose Oil, Sandalwood, Helichrysum and Myrrh, Frankincense essentials can help to naturally slow down the process of aging skin.  Use wherever you have saggy or wrinkled skin like under your eyes, neck or forehead.


As a proven antiseptic, Frankincense can be used in various ways to eliminate bacteria and viruses from your body or living space.

Cleaner / Deodorizer

I enjoy misting the essential oil using a diffuser to deodorize and disinfect any room or surface in your household.  When diffused, frankincense oil blended with citrus oils and water can help eliminate bacteria and viruses from your home, leaving only a clean fresh smell behind.


Also, thanks to its germ-killing properties, frankincense is a great substitute to that chemical-laden toothpaste you may normally use helping to prevent dental issues like infections, tooth decay, cavities and bad breath.


Frankincense has long been used for conditions associated with inflammation or pain.  One of its active ingredients, Boswellic Acid has been shown in preliminary laboratory test to reduce chronic inflammation like arthritis, sinusitis and asthma.  Moreoever α-pinene has shown promise as an anti-inflammatory.


Great for headaches at night, Frankincense Oil works by relaxing the blood vessels for lower blood pressure and tension.  It’s a great nightly alternative to my go-to headache oil, Peppermint, since peppermint can keep me wide awake for hours after use.

Congestion and Asthma

As an anti-inflammatory it’s also great to use to clear up congested nasal passages to make breathing easier for those with allergies.  I like add a few drops of frankincense, peppermint, bergamot, eucalyptus, melaleuca (tea tree oil), oregano, and rosemary to a cloth and take some deep breathes to calm down my sinuses.  I’ve added this combination to a steaming bowl of water for great effect as well.  This combination also works well to relieve the muscle contractions associated with Asthma.

Joint Pain / Muscle Fatigue

For healing joint, muscle or arthritis discomfort mix a blend of frankincense essential oil, lemongrass, white fir and cypress in fractionated coconut oil and apply directly to the problem area.  This powerful combination of anti-inflammatory oils and antispasmodics (for nerves) can help reduce swelling, pain and nerve discomfort for a quicker healing process.

Theraputic Grade Essential Oils

Just like anything in life – quality does matters.  That’s why we recommend buying oils from a reputable company like the company my family trusts doTERRA.  Their oils go through extensive 3rd party testing to receive a Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade (CPTG) approval prior to selling.  If you’re buying online:  be wary:  there’s a TON of hucksters looking to make a buck by diluting or worse:  substituting one oil for another just to make a quick profit.  If you see a deal on Amazon or elsewhere that’s just too good to be true, well – it probably is.

Choose an established provider and be sure to ask if your oils are Therapeutic grade – cooking grade oils just won’t cut it!

Megan Word

Green Gal Guru

A self-described "Green Gal", Megan is a full-time mommy and passionate blogger in the natural health and green living space. She has been actively preaching to friends and family for years about simple ways to live free of synthetic chemicals, and in harmony with our one and only planet earth.

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