Scents can have a powerful influence on your well-being. Aromatherapy, which uses concentrated essences of various botanicals, allows you to harness the olfactory power of plants for healing on many levels. Essential oils carry biologically active volatile compounds in a highly-concentrated form that can provide therapeutic benefits in very small amounts, as previously noted. Here Olivia Cook, NaturalNews.com, reflects on frankincense, one of the most powerful medicines from nature:
“Frankincense has been used as a natural remedy by various cultures for thousands of years. Ancient Egyptians used frankincense as an insect repellant, a perfume and a salve, while ancient Greeks and Romans used it as a remedy for various conditions. Natural healers in ancient China also used frankincense extensively.
Named after the French phrase “franc encens,” which means high-quality incense, frankincense has been used across many religions in prayers, rituals and ceremonies because of its sweet, spicy, woody scent. Practitioners of Ayurvedic medicine use frankincense to calm the mind and ease anxious feelings and restlessness. (Related: Frankincense: Nature’s psychoactive antidepressant.)
Frankincense oil is extracted from the sap of five Boswellia tree species that can be found in Africa and the Middle East – Boswellia sacra, B. papyrifera, B. cartierii, B. frereana and B. serrata. The resin from these trees is left to harden upon exposure to air and is scraped off the tree after two weeks and stored for another 12 weeks so that it hardens further. Frankincense can be used dry and burned on hot coals as incense. It can also be steamed to make essential oil.
The main chemical constituents of frankincense essential oil are limonene, pinene, borneol, farnesol, phellandrene and myrcene.
Limonene demonstrates antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal properties. Pinene is known to strengthen and invigorate the respiratory system. Borneol contributes tonic, anesthetic, sedative and anti-spasmodic properties to this oil. Farnesol is the component that allows frankincense oil to reduce signs of aging by smoothing the look of wrinkles and increasing the skin’s elasticity.
Dubbed as the “king of essential oils,” frankincense oil continues to be popular today among practitioners in aromatherapy and naturopathy – two forms of alternative medicine that apply the components of essential oils to treat different medical conditions. They are also used to improve hair and skin health and overall well-being when applied topically or through inhalation.
When applied to the skin, the boswellic acid in frankincense oil get absorbed. When inhaled through the nose or mouth, frankincense oil is put in diffusers so you can feel the effect much faster than topical application. Frankincense oil can also be ingested but only under the guidance of a trained practitioner in natural medicine.
Health benefits of frankincense
Supports a healthy musculoskeletal system
Frankincense is an anti-inflammatory substance, which may help ease the pain and symptoms of arthritis.”
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