Frankincense Essential Oil has been used for thousands of years. It’s prized for its therapeutic and healing properties as part of the practice of aromatherapy. The tree resin that the essential oil is derived from, was considered a precious resource for thousands of years. Now, research is backing up many of the healing properties Frankincense was considered to have.
Here at Zea, the team considers Frankincense to be one of the most popular essential oils there is. This oil, which is both ancient and spiritual, allows us to feel calm, grounded and present. So, it’s no wonder that it’s used in massage therapy, meditation and healing therapies.
Our Frankincense essential oil is sustainably and ethically sourced from Somalia. Over the past couple of years, Frankincense has become one of our best-selling essential oils, utilised by many to help create balance - physically, emotionally and spiritually.
While we definitely consider Frankincense to be a very special essential oil, you can still use it daily to experience all its benefits. Keep reading to learn more about how Frankincense could elevate your everyday life with our list of 8 uses and benefits of Frankincense essential oil below.
About Frankincense Oil
Frankincense is not technically an oil, but a resin derived from the Boswellia tree - that can be found growing in dry regions, including Africa, India and the Middle East. The name Frankincense is derived from two different words, franc (a French word for free) and incensum (Latin meaning to smoke).1 The resin was traditionally burned as incense (hence ‘incense’ in the name). It could be found burning wherever religious and spiritual ceremonies took place.
In fact, Frankincense has played a significant role in the religious and domestic lives of many civilisations and has always been an important fragrance in aromatic incense. Most people know Frankincense due to its famous reference in the Bible when it was given as a gift to baby Jesus.2
Using steam distillation, Frankincense resin can be transformed into an essential oil - the form we are most familiar with nowadays. The essential oil form makes Frankincense convenient to use every day - it can easily be added to diffusers, room sprays, massage oils, aromatherapy rollers, baths, perfumes and more.
The scent of Frankincense is one that is spicy and sweet balsamic-like. Thanks to its distinct aroma, it has been added to perfumes and cosmetics all over the world for centuries.
Essential Oil Facts
Botanical Name: Boswellia carterii
Common Name(s): Frankincense, Boswellia
Extraction method: Steam distillation of resin
Strength of Aroma: Mild-Medium
Aromatic Scent: Sweet, spicy, balsamic, woody
Typical Chemical Composition: a-thujene (trace - 10%), a-pinene (30-60%), sabinene (trace - 8%), b-pinene (trace - 14%), b-myrcene (trace - 10%), limonene (2-15%), viridiflorol (trace - 10%)
Safety Information: Frankincense oil is considered non-toxic, non-irritant and non-sensitising.1
However, it’s not just its scent that has ensured Frankincense has remained one of the most utilised and sought after essential oils in the world. Let's take a look at its unique properties and varied uses in the aromatherapy world:
8 Uses of Frankincense Oil
1) Respiratory Complaints
Frankincense is one of the most valuable oils to use for respiratory complaints. Its antiseptic properties are the basis of its traditional use in bronchial mucus buildup and bronchitis.3
Thanks to its supportive effects on the mucous membranes, Frankincense is also helpful in alleviating the symptoms of sinusitis, coughs, colds, laryngitis and asthma.3,4
Due to the anti-stress effects of Frankincense, it may be of particular benefit for those with asthma triggered by stress.
Steam inhalation is an effective method to clear the airways. Add a few drops of Frankincense to a bowl of hot, but not boiling, water. Cover your head with a towel and spend a few minutes breathing in the essential oil and steam.
2) Anti-Inflammatory Pain Relief
Frankincense has been thoroughly researched for its anti-inflammatory pain-relieving benefits and is great to use anywhere that you are experiencing pain - from joint and muscle pain, to back pain or injury.
Traditionally, Frankincense was also used to alleviate pain and swelling of inflammatory conditions. It was thought to do this through improving circulation to the area.
Frankincense and Myrrh are traditionally combined together as a dynamic duo for cleaning wounds and providing pain relief.5
For those who suffer from muscle tightness due to stress or asthma, it’s beneficial to use a Frankincense essential oil with a massage oil. Frankincense is paired perfectly with Kunzea in a massage oil because of its benefits in soothing muscular aches and pains.
Massaging the back throughout the thoracic spine may help to release tension through this area associated with chest constriction while also helping to relax the mind.
The anti-inflammatory properties of Frankincense make it a great addition to massage into sore, tense muscles caused by conditions such as fibromyalgia and joint pain.5
For more ideas on relieving pain naturally, check out our guide - A to Z: Natural Treatments for Staying Pain-Free.
3) Boost Immunity
A number of compounds found in Frankincense from the Boswellia carterii species have been shown to stimulate the immune system.6
Frankincense is particularly helpful if the immune system has been low due to increased stress.7
Add a couple of drops of Frankincense to your diffuser either on its own or blended with other essential oils to help strengthen the immune system and fight infection.8
4) Skin Irritations and Wounds
The antiseptic quality of Frankincense oil makes it one of our highest recommendations for preventing infections in wounds, ulcers and other skin conditions.2
Combining the antiseptic powers of Frankincense with other antiseptic superheroes such as Coastal Tea Tree essential oil can not only reduce the likelihood of skin infection but also calm irritation.
Actually, Frankincense is one of the few essential oils that is considered appropriate for all skin types, including sensitive skin. Due to its famous anti-inflammatory benefits, it can be used to bring down redness and inflammation of the skin.6
Dilute a couple of drops of Frankincense in a carrier oil first, then apply to any affected areas in the body and massage gently into the skin.
5) Prevent Wrinkles and Ageing Skin
What most skincare companies won’t tell you is that there are, of course, many factors regarding skin ageing and wrinkles. When it comes to maintaining the health, youthfulness and integrity of your skin, it’s important to stay hydrated, eat a whole food diet and work to reduce your stress levels if they are high. Other considerations include genetics, smoking, sun exposure and your previous skincare routine.
However, no matter what the current condition of your skin, Frankincense can still be extremely beneficial. In fact, we’d go so far as to say that for mature skin types, Frankincense is an absolute must!
In a 2000 study, 4% Frankincense in a base of Evening Primrose Oil was applied to just one side of the face of 12 women every night for 30 consecutive nights. The side to which the Frankincense in Evening Primrose Oil was applied was shown to have significantly fewer wrinkles.8
Frankincense oil diluted into a carrier oil or body lotion is also wonderful to apply to arms and legs that have been overexposed to the sun to restore hydration and integrity while also reducing inflammation and premature ageing.9
We also recommend popping 2 drops of the oil into your daily moisturiser and applying it to your face as normal.
The reason we love this is that it really helps to soothe wrinkles and rejuvenate tired-looking skin. It also has astringent properties so it works to tonify the skin as well.
6) Calm and Soothe the Mind
Frankincense is calming and soothing to the mind, helping to ground you during times of intense stress or when it’s all feeling like too much.
This is definitely the essential oil you want to reach for if you experience mild anxiety or low moods.
Spiritually, Frankincense is considered an excellent oil to disperse fear and fortify the spirit, helping to bring stability and warmth during times of vulnerability.
Add Frankincense essential oil to your bath or massage oil when you are finding it difficult to relax or are feeling preoccupied. Alternatively, rub Frankincense on the soles of your feet as a form of self-massage or reflexology treatment. It helps to pull the energy down and away from the brain to allow for a greater sense of peace and tranquillity.
7) Yoga and Meditation
Why not honour the thousands of years of spiritual and religious use of Frankincense, by utilising it in your spiritual wellbeing practices, such as yoga and meditation?
Find your favourite quiet place in your home, add a few drops of Frankincense to your yoga mat or diffuser and take deep yogic belly breaths and allow the properties of the oil to nourish your mind, body and spirit.
8) Palliative Care
Frankincense essential oil can be very helpful in palliative care when people are confronted with their mortality.2
It is common during this time for people to look inwards and visit their innermost thoughts and beliefs in an attempt to work out what is happening.
It is thought that Frankincense can provide spiritual support at such times, bringing comfort and peace in the form of deep relaxation, allowing people to focus on their spirituality rather than their impermanence.10
Blending with Frankincense Essential Oil
The Essence of Frankincense
Frankincense is a warming, healing and gentle essential oil that is perfect for daily self-care. It will allow you to explore your innermost thoughts and feelings in a safe environment while helping to ground your energy and calm your thoughts.
Use Frankincense as part of your daily self-care ritual for supporting the mind and the body.
Pop a couple of drops in your diffuser and close your eyes. Allow the magic of the oil to help slow down the breath and take you on a journey of positive and confident exploration without judgement.
About the Author - Michelle Brass ND
With over 25 years of experience in the natural health industry, Michelle has dedicated her life to helping others embrace the therapeutic benefits of nature. Throughout her time as a health practitioner, she has used and recommended countless traditional and conventional treatments to her clients - as she believes an integrative approach to health and wellness is very important. Michelle is passionate about using and promoting essential oils and, in particular, Kunzea Oil, as she has seen them help thousands of people over the years. She knows that using essential oils in your daily life can help bring balance to the mind, body and soul. She is constantly trialling and testing new products with her loyal clients.
To learn more about Michelle, go to her full bio page.
All content by Australian Kunzea Pty Ltd, including, text, images, audio, or other formats, were created for informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. To read our full medical disclaimer, click here.
- Lawless J. The Encyclopedia of Essential Oils: The Complete Guide to the Use of Aromatic Oils in Aromatherapy, Herbalism, Health and Well-Being. HarperCollins Publishers; 2002.
- Battaglia S. The Complete Guide To Aromatherapy. 3rd ed. Black Pepper Creative Pty Ltd; 2018.
- Rashan L, et al. International Journal of Nutrition, Pharmacology, Neurological Diseases; 2019;9(2) pp53-71.
- De Vincentiis G, et al. European Review for Medical and Pharmacological Sciences; 2015;19: pp3757-3762.
- Medical News Today: Health Benefits of Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh; https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323861 Written 24 December 2018, accessed 17 December 2021.
- Hamidpour R, et al. Frankincense (乳香 Rǔ Xiāng; Boswellia Species): From the Selection of Traditional Applications to the Novel Phytotherapy for the Prevention and Treatment of Serious Diseases. J Tradit Complement Med 2013;3(4): pp221-226. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3924999/
- Mojay G. Aromatherapy for Healing the Spirit: Restoring Emotional and Mental Balance with Essential Oils. Healing Arts Press; 2000.
- Buckle J. Clinical Aromatherapy: Essential Oils in Healthcare. 3rd ed. Churchill Livingstone; 2015.
- Dodt C K. The Essential Oils Book. Storey Publishing; 1996.
- Price S, Price L. Aromatherapy for health professionals 4th Ed. Churchill Livingstone. Edinburgh; 2012.