Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Frankincense - The Exotic Essential Oil

Frankincense (INCI: Boswellia Carteri or Boswellia serrata) is mysteriously rich and exotic. Also known as Olibanum, frankincense boasts a rich and long history of various uses – from medicinal and religious to cosmetic. The ancient Egyptians ground the charred resin into a powder they called kohl and used it as – you guessed it – eyeliner!
Native to dry, harsh climates such as Somalia and Ethiopia, the essential oil process begins by making incisions in the bark of the tree, causing 'tears' of resin to form. The hardened resin is then collected and steam-distilled to produce the essential oil.

The Golden Drops
For skin care, frankincense is especially recommended for dry, sensitive, and mature skin as it helps to 'rejuvinate skin tone'. The smell is wonderfully deep, rich, sweet and warm with a fresh, turpentine top. This rich scent makes working with it as a perfume component both rewarding and pleasurable. The skin-toning properties it can contribute are, of course, heartily welcome, but to my knowledge, there is no documented material on frankincense in regards to skin care.

Frankincense Resin
Anti-inflammatory, antisceptic, calming and revitalizing
I can't tell you (yet) if frankincense lives up to all of these claims, as it is one of the newer essential oils to my collection (3 years). I know there is ongoing study of it's possible healing properties in connection with chronic inflammatory diseases (such as arthritis) and so far, nothing definitive from the scientific community has crossed my path except the usual 'warrants further study' statements. I did an arthritis oil for a friend a while back with frankincense as one of the ingredients and she said it seemed to have a positive effect.

I do intend to continue working with frankincense. My experience so far: in conjunction with the other active ingredients I am using specifically for skin-firming, frankincense is showing promise.

Additional Properties for Frankincense
- Useful in treating colds, bronchitis and asthma (haven't tried this)
- Good for coughs and sore throats (haven't tried this)
- As an aid to meditation as it 'deepens the breathing' (haven't tried this)

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