Benefits of Frankincense Oil and How To Use Frankincense Essential Oil (2024)


  • History of Frankincense Oil
  • Benefits of Frankincense Oil
  • Extracting Frankincense Oil
  • Uses of Frankincense Oil
  • Frankincense Oil Varieties
  • Contraindications for Frankincense Oil


  • Frankincense essential oil is obtained from the dried and distilled resin of the Frankincense tree, which is native to specific regions of Africa and the Middle East.

  • Frankincense oil gets its name from the term “franc encens,” which means “high-quality incense” in French. Considered to be a “pure incense,” it was the most desirable of all the other types of incense.

  • Its potent aroma can be described as woody, earthy, and spicy with a fruity nuance. Used in aromatherapy, its sedative and comforting fragrance is believed to strengthen and invigorate the respiratory system.

  • Frankincense essential oil contains properties that reduce feelings of anxiety, stimulate the immune system, and diminish signs of aging, among other demonstrated activities. It can be used cosmetically, medicinally, and for eliminating surface and airborne bacteria.

  • Pregnant women and individuals with bleeding disorders are warned that Frankincense is an emmenagogue that has blood thinning effects, which may increase their risk of irregular bleeding.


Boswellia carterii, commonly known as Frankincense, is derived from the milky white sapthatis secreted by the Frankincense tree. After the tree’s sap droplets are allowed to dry and harden into tear-shapes on the tree over the course of a few days, they are finally scraped off to be made into an essential oil.

The Boswellia tree is native to regions such as Africa and the southern Arabian Peninsula. The earliest and best-known source of Frankincense is the country of Oman, which has shipped this fragrant resin to regions like the Mediterranean, India, and China for thousands of years. The name of the tree comes from the term “franc encens,” which is French for “high-quality incense.” “Franc” is known to mean “pure” while “encens” comes from a word that means “to burn.” It was thus considered a “pure incense” and the most desirable of all the other types of incense. Its potent aroma can be described as woody, earthy, and spicy with a fruity nuance. For some, its scent is comparable to that of licorice.

The history of Frankincense usage has Medieval roots and is closely linked with being burned in sacred places and religious rituals, as it was valued for its powerful aroma and the white smoke it exuded when burned. It was also used in perfume, cosmetics such as eyeliner, salves, and Egyptian mummification methods. Today, there are still daily uses for Frankincense in many cultures, namely Somali, Ethiopian, Arabian, and Indian cultures. It is believed that its fragrance will bring good health, cleanse the home, and purify clothing. In Ayurvedic medicine, Frankincense is referred to as “dhoop” and is used to heal wounds, relieve arthritis, balance hormones in females, and to purify the air.


The main chemical constituents of the essential oil are Limonene, Pinene, Borneol, Farnesol, Phellandrene, Myrcene, and other constituents. Limonene demonstrates antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-fungal properties. It is believed to reduce feelings of anxiety and to stimulate the immune system. Pinene is known to strengthen and invigorate the respiratory system and is reported to have diuretic properties based on empirical evidence. Borneol contributes tonic, anesthetic, sedative and anti-spasmodic properties to this oil. Farnesol is the component that allows this oil to reduce the user’s signs of aging by smoothing the look of wrinkles and increasing skin’s elasticity.

Used topically and cosmetically, its astringent and cytophylactic qualities help Frankincense oil to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and skin imperfections such as discoloration. It stimulates the growth of new cells, thus when used on cuts it promotes faster healing.

Used in aromatherapy, Frankincense works as an expectorant to clear the nasal passageway, promote the relief of congestion, and encourage easy breathing. It's sweet, woody aroma is sedative and enhances mood by diminishing feelings of stress and anxiety while improving concentration and memory.

Used medicinally, this anti-inflammatory oil is known to soothe inflamed skin by reducing the sensations of redness, swelling, and itching. It helps to disinfect and tighten the pores, thereby promoting the speedy healing of cuts, wounds, and scars. It is used to relieve flatulence, stimulate the growth of new skin cells, and stimulate blood flow and circulation among other competencies.

As illustrated, Frankincense essential oil is reputed to have many therapeutic properties. The following highlights its many benefits and the kinds of activity it is believed to show:

Astringent, cytophylactic.

Carminative, expectorant, sedative.

Antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, astringent, carminative, cicatrisant, cytophylactic, diuretic, emmenagogue, expectorant, tonic.


Frankincense oil is obtained from the resin of the Boswellia carterii or Boswellia sacara tree and can thrive in a dry, rocky, desert environment requiring negligible amounts of soil. Harvesting Frankincense resin involves farmers making incisions in the tree bark until it exudes its secreted milky fluid, which it expels in the form of small “tears.” The droplets are allowed to dry on the tree for ten days, after which time they are scraped off and given another period of time to completely harden. At this dried stage, the resin looks like tiny, rough, uneven, translucent rocks.

The quality of the Frankincense tree resin depends on the climate, environmental conditions, and the harvesting period. The resin quality can be determined by its size and color – the larger and lighter the resin, the higher the quality. Although the West most often sees the golden or amber resin, the purest, most expensive resin ranges in color from clear to white or silvery with a hint of light green.

To achieve the highest quality resin, the tree is “wounded” three times. Cutting it any more than this might damage the tree, which requires a period of rest and regeneration.


At the distillery, the raw Frankincense resin “crystals” are crushed into powder and placed in an oil bath. After it undergoes steam distillation or CO2 extraction, it produces a pleasantly aromatic essential oil with a scent that has been described as earthy or woody.

As with all other essential oils, Frankincense essential oil will retain stability and have a prolonged shelf life if stored in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight with the cap tightly closed.


Frankincense essential oil can be added to a diffuser or vaporizer and inhaled for its sedative, earthy fragrance that is known to enhance the mood and combat stress and anxiety. It is believed that, in spiritual practices, the scent of Frankincense strengthens both intuition and a spiritual connection. A few drops of Frankincense added to a diffuser or mixed with water to make an air freshening spray can eliminate airborne bacteria. Sprayed in a bedroom at night, it can help achieve a state of relaxation and readiness for sleep.

After dilution with an unscented carrier oil, the oil can be absorbed into the skin via topical application. In a relaxing bath, a few drops of the oil can be added to relieve stress. By blending Frankincense with other essential oils and diluting the mixture, it can be used in cosmetics to make natural homemade anti-aging facial serums. In shampoos, its tonic property is believed to help strengthen hair roots.

This anti-septic oil makes a natural homemade cleaner and disinfectant to cleanse indoor environments, eliminate harmful bacteria therein, and to deodorize any rooms in the home. When mixed with baking soda and Lemon essential oil, it creates a scrubbing substance that is useful for removing grease and for leaving the area unsoiled and aromatic. To use it with a dishcloth, it can be blended with water and Thyme essential oil to wipe down surfaces like countertops.


Frankincense Traditional

Boswellia carterii

Found in:
  • Southern Arabian Peninsula (United Arab Emirates, Oman, Yemen)
  • East Africa (Ethiopia, Somalia, Sudan)
Believed to:
  • reduce signs of aging
  • repair and regenerate skin cells, and thereby reduce the appearance of aging and scarring
  • enhance concentration and relaxation
  • encourage a sense of calm
  • relieve anxiety
  • have an anti-microbial activity for skin and surfaces
  • enhance spiritual experiences
  • stimulate, protect, and maintain the health of the immune system
  • stimulate the growth of new cells
Frankincense India

Boswellia serrata

Found in:
  • India
Believed to:
  • deodorize and purify the air by eliminating harmful bacteria
  • relieve the discomfort of inflammation such as redness, itching, and swelling
  • enhance concentration and spiritual experiences
  • soothe physical and emotional discomforts ranging from headaches to anxiety


As per NAHA guidelines, New Directions Aromatics (NDA) does not recommend the ingestion of essential oils. Though it is rare to experience severe side effects from using Frankincense essential oil, the following are possible symptoms of negative side effects: rashes and/or gastrointestinal distress, such as stomach pain, hyperacidity, and nausea. Those with bleeding disorders or those on anti-coagulant medications are warned that Frankincense has blood thinning effects that may increase their risk of irregular bleeding.

As is the case with all essential oils, it is imperative to consult a medical practitioner before using Frankincense essential oil for therapeutic purposes. Pregnant women are stronglyadvised against using Frankincense essential oil, due to its emmenagogue properties, which may induce menstruation that can be hazardous for the fetus. Pregnant and nursing women who insist on using it are advised to first seek the medical guidance of a physician. The oil should always be stored in an area that is inaccessible to children.

Benefits of Frankincense Oil and How To Use Frankincense Essential Oil (1)

IMPORTANT: All New Directions Aromatics (NDA) products are for external use only unless otherwise indicated. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease, and it should not be used by anyone who is pregnant or under the care of a medical practitioner. Please refer to our policies for further details, and our disclaimer below.

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Benefits of Frankincense Oil and How To Use Frankincense Essential Oil (2024)


Benefits of Frankincense Oil and How To Use Frankincense Essential Oil? ›

Frankincense is a hardened gum-like material (resin) that comes from the trunk of the Boswellia

Frankincense, also known as olibanum (/oʊˈlɪbənəm/), is an aromatic resin used in incense and perfumes, obtained from trees of the genus Boswellia in the family Burseraceae. The word is from Old French franc encens ('high-quality incense'). › wiki › Frankincense
tree. People use its oil on the skin and in aromatherapy. Frankincense oil seems to kill some types of bacteria and fungi (yeasts). It is commonly used as a fragrance in soaps, lotions, and perfumes.

Can frankincense oil be applied directly to the skin? ›

Before applying it to your skin, you should always dilute Frankincense essential oil with an unscented carrier oil. This will help to reduce the risk of irritation and other side effects. There are many carrier oils that you can use, depending on your individual needs and preferences.

What is the best carrier oil to mix with frankincense? ›

The carrier oils that can be used for frankincense are fractionated coconut oil, jojoba oil, olive oil, and sweet almond oil. Some additional carrier oils that can be used are avocado oil, macadamia nut oil, grapeseed oil, apricot kernel oil, extra virgin olive oil, and avocado oil.

How to use frankincense oil for joint pain? ›

  1. Adults and children 12 years of age and older: apply 10-30 drops into palm or hand and massage into affected areas.
  2. massage oil in hand to coat painful areas.
  3. can be used up to 4 times daily.
  4. children under 12 years of age: consult a physician.

What happens if you don't dilute frankincense oil? ›

By applying essential oils undiluted on the skin over time, your body can begin to trigger an immune response which can lead to sensitization. When you dilute your essential oils, you decrease the likelihood of this happening.

Should frankincense oil be diluted? ›

Dilute with a carrier oil and use in a beauty regimen to reduce signs of aging. Diffuse in your home during the day for a calming effect, or before bedtime for a restful night's sleep. Dilute with shea butter to help fade new and old scars.

How do you dilute frankincense oil for topical use? ›

Most essential oil dilution rates should be 3% or less for topical use (as an example, 3 drops of essential oil to 97 drops of carrier oil). This dilution rate would be considered safe and effective for most aromatherapy applications.

Can I mix frankincense with my face moisturizer? ›

Frankincense Oil for Face and Skin

One method is to add frankincense to unscented skin care products, such as lotions, face creams, or moisturizers. The basic rule of thumb is to add 6 drops of frankincense per ounce of product. If you're adding frankincense to a face cream, add fewer drops.

Can you use frankincense oil without a carrier? ›

Expectorant, vulnerary, sedative; frankincense can be applied 'neat' to the point, without a carrier oil. Frankincense lifts the spirit, thus it is good for meditation, and treating mental distraction or the feeling of being overwhelmed.

How many drops of frankincense oil with carrier oil? ›

Carrier Oil (Almond Sweet, Borage, Evening Primrose or Wheat Germ suggested)4 tsp (20 mL / 0.7 oz.)
Frankincense Essential Oil (Egyptian)5 drops
Neroli Essential Oil3 drops
Rose Otto Essential Oil2 drops

What are three things frankincense is used for? ›

Frankincense essential oil contains properties that reduce feelings of anxiety, stimulate the immune system, and diminish signs of aging, among other demonstrated activities. It can be used cosmetically, medicinally, and for eliminating surface and airborne bacteria.

What is the ratio to dilute frankincense oil? ›

Adults: Usually, a 2-3% dilution is suitable, about 12-18 drops of essential oil per ounce of carrier oil. Children (5-10), Frail Elderly, Sensitive Skin: A lower dilution of 1% or less (6 drops per ounce) is suggested for these demographics. Facial or Sensitive Areas: Use a 0.5-1% dilution (3-6 drops per ounce).

What is the best way to apply frankincense oil? ›

Dilute your frankincense oil in an unscented carrier oil, like olive or almond. Then, apply the oil to areas of your skin that are dry, irritated, or itchy to rejuvenate them. When applied to the navel in particular, frankincense oil is said to promote relaxation and tranquility.

What is the best oil for arthritis pain? ›

They may help with arthritis because they have anti-inflammatory and anti-pain properties. Six of the more common types are eucalyptus, ginger, curcumin, copaiba, orange, and lavender. Using the oils is simple, whether you massage them into the skin or inhale them (known as aromatherapy).

What is the strongest essential oil for pain? ›

Which Essential Oils Are Best For Pain? One of Mother nature's most powerful painkillers, peppermint oil is frequently used for alleviating pain [1]. Closely related to peppermint, wintergreen oil boasts similar properties due to its methyl salicylate component.

What happens when you put frankincense on the bottom of your feet? ›

If you are feeling like the pressures of life are weighing down your mood, apply Frankincense to the bottom of your feet. The soothing sensation and aroma will promote feelings of relaxation and a balanced mood.

Can you put frankincense in water and drink it? ›

Add a drop in water (a single drop is usually enough) to drink. Use it in toothpaste, to rinse your gums, or gargle it straight up. Frankincense helps with oral hygiene because it's antiseptic (that's why people also apply it to sores like you do lemon balm).

What do you blend frankincense oil with? ›

Frankincense essential oil blends well with a variety of other essential oils. Try combining it with lavender, orange, grapefruit, sandalwood, cedarwood, neroli, lemon, geranium, rose, ylang ylang or clary sage oils.

How many drops of frankincense do you use? ›

The basic rule of thumb is to add 6 drops of frankincense per ounce of product. If you're adding frankincense to a face cream, add fewer drops. You can also make your own skin care products using the recipes below.

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