July Focus - Frankincense
Updated: Nov 28, 2020
My immediate thought that surfaces when wanting to write about Frankincense Boswellia carterii essential oil is it's ability to heal and balance. Not just physically, but also emotionally. There are essential oils that I will add to a blend just for its effect on the physical body or just the mental/emotional qualities. Frankincense addresses both for me - it is a real giver and healer.
I surprised myself when I decided to add it to a summer focus because I tend to rely on it more during the winter. But, with summer being a time of stress on the skin and sometimes a stress on our schedule, I felt it fitting. (Anyone else have EVERY weekend in July already booked solid? Thought so. I love summer!)
This essential oil is well known and well used, however there are some very big concerns both with sustainability and big claims that the essential oil cures cancer. Really, this could be a full live class just about Frankincense! Let's dive in!
Frankincense trees grow in arid desert and may sometimes grow from rocks! It grows wild in the Arabian peninsula and Somali land. It is obviously hardy, stands tall in the face of hardship, and grows where other plants cannot. (Important to think about when you are using this essential oil for emotional and mental aspects as this oil and resin offers strength) In one of my favorite books, Power of the Seed by Susan Parker, she mentions plants that thrive in harsh landscapes must provide their own protection by adjusting to the environment whether by its chemical make up or appearance. This tree needs protection from the sun, dry conditions, and is celebrated the most as it ages. So, when I think of using this oil I think of healing from sunburn, finding my footing, and the ability of this essential oil to assist with mature skin. Interesting, yes?
Frankincense resin is used in religious ceremonial incense, in body care (toothpaste, lotions, deodorant), in embalming (historical), and to hydro distill into essential oils. The resin is made by scoring the bark of the tree until the sap (gum) comes out, then the sap is dried in the sun until it is hard (resin). The trees are not ready to be scored until 10-25 years old. They can be scored twice a year for a few years, then they require rest for a couple years because the tree can become too damaged, resulting in lower quality resin. (Please note here that I have read various differing time tables on the above.) As you can see there may be a challenge on treating the trees in a sustainable manner if those that produce the resin don't adhere to practices that support the tree in the long run.
I've read so many articles or heard claims by various chiropractors, doctors, MLM representatives, and others that Frankincense can fight cancer. Possible. I think this is a really heavy topic that could be discussed from so many angles. But, I want to write a couple things here for you:
*Boswellic acid has promising results in studies for fighting cancer cells in a petri dish
*Boswellic acid is present in the resin form
*Frankincense essential oil does not contain boswellic acid
*To keep this a quick read I will not go too far into details. As the resin is distilled the molecular weight of the boswellic acid doesn't allow it to be present in the essential oil.
Please know that Frankincense essential oil can be a support for anyone - kids, elders, healthy people or people fighting disease. Those that are telling you this essential oil fights cancer may be putting too high of a responsibility on one single oil that doesn't contain proven cancer fighting properties. But, I will not dispute the amazing properties it has and will continue to turn to Frankincense essential oil for skin healing, easing muscle tension, and general feelings of support and strength. And when someone is sick, they may feel all of these and Frankincense can be a true aromatic ally.
The essential oil has a thin consistency with an aroma that is woody, with hints of earth and lemon. It is a base/middle note and blends well with a wide variety of essential oils from bright citrus aromas to herbaceous aromas to earthy base notes.
I find that I love Frankincense in a few blends that I use regularly. I adore my headache gel, sunburn gel, calming roll on, and Mighty Massage Stick. I'll be sharing those recipes with you in the coming weeks. And, I just made a new batch of the Mighty Massage Stick! They are for sale here.
For now, why not place a couple drops of Frankincense and Lemon in your diffuser. Take a couple deep breaths and let me know what you think. Have a great week!
Best to you!