Updated: Jul 9, 2021
Frankincense Essential Oil is literally revered. Find out, why .
This article will briefly discuss :
(C) Top 5 Powerful health benefits of Frankincense Essential Oil especially on cancer (evidence based)
(A) What is Frankincense
Frankincense, an aromatic gum resin from the genus of Boswellia trees, is named after the French expression ‘franc encens’ meaning 'high-quality incense'.
Boswellia are dry, desert or mountainous trees from the most trying climates in Africa, Arabia and India that rise up to a height of 8 feet with multiple gnarled trunks.
Frankincense essential oil is extracted out of the milky resin from incisions on the trunk, that is dried and steam/hydro-distilled.
Frankincense Essential oil's woody, spicy aroma laced with hues of lemon and pine, is one of those special essences mentioned in the Holy books of the Talmud, the Koran and the Bible.
Frankincense’s curative abilities were relied upon heavily in ancient medicine evident in the Ebers Papyrus (1500 BC) Indian Ayurveda, Traditional Chinese medicine as well as early/medieval Christian era writings by herbalists like Hippocrates, Galen, Dioscorides, Pliny, Avicenna and others. Know it all about the history of aromatherapy here.
(B) How to use Frankincense Essential Oil , Top 6 Blends
Frankincense essential oil in particular has a mix of monoterpenes such as alpha-pinene, limonene, alpha-thujene, and beta-pinene which lend it its many therapeutic benefits. Here are some ways to get the best out of this essential oil :
1. Disinfect + Deodorise with Frankincese Essential Oil
Add 40 drops of a blend of Frankincense, Tea tree, Lemon and Myrrh Essential Oils and 25% grain alchohol (to keep away microbial growth) and top off the rest of the 500ml spray bottle with water.
Spritz this aromatic spray in the washroom, carpet, furniture, or kitchen.
Studies (1) have shown how Frankincense and Myrrh Essential Oil have a devastating effect on airborne bacteria and fungus.
2. Rejuvenate your skin with Frankincense Essential Oil
Frankincese Essential Oil is famous for its anti-aging as well as scar/ stretch mark/ wart removing abilities. It was integral to cosmetics in ancient China.
Blend Frankincense, Rose, Myrrh, Lavender and Sandalwood with a good quality carrier oil. Read about the skin/hair benefits of over 21 carrier oils like Argan, Jojoba, Coconut and Sweet Almond oil and massage it onto the skin regularly as a skin rejuvenating serum or mix the Essential Oils with bentonite clay and cider vinegar and use weekly/ fortnightly as a revitalizing face pack.
3. Boost immunity with Frankincense Essential Oil
Diffuse anyone of the following two blends regularly for better cellular health through lower oxidative stress and for building up the immune system Cinnamon, Frankincense and Ginger essential oils OR
Cinnamon, Frankincense, Tea tree, and Lemon essential oils.
4. Dispel the flu with this Frankincense essential oil blend:
Diffuse or inhale a blend of Frankincense, Eucalyptus and Peppermint Essential oils to tackle common cold/ flu.
5. Perk up your energy with Frankincense Essential Oil
Either of these blends can pump you up when you are feeling drained.
Frankincense balances out the rush of energy that Citrus Essential Oils like Grapefruit /Bitter Orange and Spicy essential oils like Cinnamon can introduce
6. Destress, Relax, Get sleep with Frankincense Essential Oil
The first blend can help get rid of tension and stress or can be an aid for meditation too with its utterly relaxing combination of Bergamot and Frankincense Essential oils
The second blend with a combination of Frankincense, Lavender & Vetiver essential oils can help promote sound sleep.
Diffuse, inhale or massage at the bottoms of the feet.
(C) Top 5 Evidence -Based Powerful Benefits of Frankincense Essential Oil:
1. Frankincense essential oil as a natural anti-microbial treatment for skin, hair and nails.
Frankincense essential oil is famed for its strong anti-bacterial and anti-microbial properties.
In a study (1) about 9 different essential oils were assessed for their potency to against micro-organisms related to skin, scalp and nail infections mainly :
· Propionibacterium acnes (acne causing bacteria)
· Malassezia spp. (skin pigmentation/discolouring, atopic eczema)
· Candida albicans (fungal/yeast infection)
· Trichophyton spp. (athlete’s foot, ringworm, jock itch etc)
Frankincense essential oil was concluded to have the most superior anti-microbial effect.
It was also found to inhibit Staphylococcus epidermidis biofilm (a human bacteria that can adhere to surfaces and cause wound infections, boils, sinus infections etc) – commonly spread via medical devices.
2. Frankincense Essential oil as a Natural Air purifying agent
The tradition of burning of frankincense and myrrh can be traced back to around 2800 BC. A study (2) was undertaken to evaluate the wisdom that this practise could have.
Chemical analysis on the air quality using sophisticated devices was done, after the incense was burnt. It was found that the burnt fumes had predominantly alpha pinene (a chemical constituent of Frankincense) and that the microbial count reduced by up to 80% for fungi and up to 91% % for bacteria.
3. Frankincense essential oil as a aid to fight to combat cancer
Numerous studies have been done to evaluate natural products that can induce cytotoxicity (ability to kill cancer cells) with minimum side effects.
Frankincense essential oil has come out positively on all fronts viz :
· Melanoma (a type of skin cancer):
A study (3) conducted on the effects of Frankincense essential oil showed a marked reduction in the cell viability of melanoma with significant hepatoprotection (liver protection - which is mostly injured during melanoma drug treatments)
· Breast Cancer:
Another study (4) conducted on a mouse model showed that application of Frankincense essential oil was effective in inhibiting tumour growth and inducing tumour cell apoptosis (death of these cells)
One more study (5) echoed these results also adding that Frankincense essential oil application significantly inhibited proinflammatory cytokines.
· Myeloma cancer (accumulation of cancerous plasma cells)
Another study (6) found that the bioactive compounds in Frankincense and myrrh take together could inhibit proliferation of multiple myeloma cells.
· Glioblastoma (brain/spine tumour )
One more study (7) found that 3-O-acetyl-11-keto-β-boswellic acid (AKBA) the major constituent of Frankincense essential oil could inhibit the migration, invasion, and colony formation of U251 and U87-MG human glioblastoma cell lines.
Many other Studies enumerate how Frankincense essential oils constituents are effective at inhibiting cancer cells in case of Cervical Cancer (8), Lung Cancer (9) and Prostrate cancer (10) and various other kinds of cancer.
4. Frankincense essential oil as an anti-inflammatory agent
A study (11) involving clinical trials showed Frankincense and its phytochemicals efficacy at osteoarthritis, multiple sclerosis, asthma, psoriasis and erythematous eczema, plaque-induced gingivitis and pain.
5. Frankincense and Myrrh essential oils as a powerful duo- combination.
The synergistic effect of these two resins together increases their pharmacodynamics including their anti-inflammatory, anticancer, analgesic, antibacterial, and blood-activating effects. (12)
In addition, a Frankincense–Myrrh compound also has a significant penetration-promoting effect.
Ancient medicine recognized this long back.
Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and Ayurvedic medicine that focus on body’s self-healing abilities, rely up on pairing Frankincense and Myrrh together as remedies for chronic diseases (12)
In TCM, this Frankincense- Myrrh combo is a famous remedy for promoting blood circulation and removing blood stasis. Check out their potent drugs
· Xihuang Pill, a famous anticancer prescription known as the “first drug” of TCM, can effectively treat breast cancer, gastric cancer and liver cancer. (13)
· Xiaojin Pills, the preferred Chinese patented medicine for the treatment of breast hyperplasia, can significantly improve breast diseases (14)
· Huoluo Xiaoling Dan also has a good therapeutic effect on chronic diseases, such as arthritis (15)
The variants of Frankincense Essential Oil are Boswellia carterii variety (Boswellia sacra/Olibanum) from Somalia/Oman is the most highly rated. Boswellia frereana and Boswellia thurifera (northern Somalia), Boswellia papyrifera (Ethiopia and Sudan) and Boswellia serrata (Indian used in Ayurveda) are other variants of Frankincense.
With so many benefits, Frankincense Essential oil has been rightly called the 'King of Essential Oils'
References for scientific studies on Frankincense Essential Oil
1. Synergistic antimicrobial activity of Boswellia serrata Roxb. ex Colebr. (Burseraceae) essential oil with various azoles against pathogens associated with skin, scalp and nail infections
2. Frankincense and myrrh essential oils and burn incense fume against micro-inhabitants of sacral ambients. Wisdom of the ancients?
Milica Ljaljević Grbić 1, Nikola Unković 2, Ivica Dimkić 3, Peđa Janaćković 4, Milan Gavrilović 5, Olja Stanojević 6, Miloš Stupar 7, Ljubodrag Vujisić 8, Aleksa Jelikić 9, Slaviša Stanković 10, Jelena Vukojević 1
3. Correction: Frankincense essential oil suppresses melanoma cancer through down regulation of Bcl-2/Bax cascade signaling and ameliorates heptotoxicity via phase I and II drug metabolizing enzymes
Faruck L Hakkim # 1 2, Hamid A Bakshi # 3 4 5, Shabia Khan 4, Mohamed M Nasef 3, Rabia Farzand 6, Smitha Sam 7, Luay Rashan 1, Mohammed S Al-Baloshi 8, Sidgi Syed Anwar Abdo Hasson 8, Ali Al Jabri 8, Paul A McCarron 5, Murtaza M Tambuwala 5
4. Frankincense, pine needle and geranium essential oils suppress tumor progression through the regulation of the AMPK/mTOR pathway in breast cancer
5. Comparative Investigation of Frankincense Nutraceuticals: Correlation of Boswellic and Lupeolic Acid Contents with Cytokine Release Inhibition and Toxicity against Triple-Negative Breast Cancer Cells
6. Frankincense and myrrh and their bioactive compounds ameliorate the multiple myeloma through regulation of metabolome profiling and JAK/STAT signaling pathway based on U266 cells
7. 3-O-acetyl-11-keto-β-boswellic acid exerts anti-tumor effects in glioblastoma by arresting cell cycle at G2/M phase
8. Cytotoxicity and apoptosis enhancement in breast and cervical cancer cells upon coadministration of mitomycin C and essential oils in nanoemulsion formulations
9. Acetyl-11-Keto-β-Boswellic Acid Exerts the Anti-Cancer Effects via Cell Cycle Arrest, Apoptosis Induction and Autophagy Suppression in Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer Cells
10. Acetyl-11-keto-β-boswellic acid suppresses docetaxel-resistant prostate cancer cells in vitro and in vivo by blocking Akt and Stat3 signaling, thus suppressing chemoresistant stem cell-like properties
11. Anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer activities of frankincense: Targets, treatments and toxicities
12. Seeing the Unseen of the Combination of Two Natural Resins, Frankincense and Myrrh: Changes in Chemical Constituents and Pharmacological Activities
13. Review on the Applications and Molecular Mechanisms of Xihuang Pill in Tumor Treatment.
Guo Q, Lin J, Liu R, Gao Y, He S, Xu X, Hua B, Li C, Hou W, Zheng H, Bao Y
14. Screening for the anti-inflammation quality markers of Xiaojin Pills based on HPLC-MS/MS method, COX-2 inhibition test and protein interaction network
15.Suppression of ongoing experimental arthritis by a chinese herbal formula (huo-luo-xiao-ling dan) involves changes in antigen-induced immunological and biochemical mediators of inflammation
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