Frankincense (also known as olibanum) has been an important commodity in trading, medicine and rituals of many ancient cultures for more than 5000 years. It is believed that the Babylonians and Assyrians burned it during religious ceremonies. The ancient Egyptians bought entire boatloads of the resin from the Phoenicians, using it in incense, insect repellent, perfume and salves for wounds and sores. It was also a key ingredient in the embalming process. Interestingly, the heavy kohl eyeliner ancient Egyptian women wore was made from charred frankincense that had been ground into a powder.
What many of these ancient cultures knew, and what we are beginning to learn now is of the many incredible healing benefits of Frankincense.
Frankincense freshens the mind, boosting cerebral circulation and promoting clear, balanced thinking. Chewing Frankincense gum can improve the strength and quality of the voice. It promotes truth-telling and speaking from the heart.
Frankincense has a long history of use as a powerful antiseptic and will rejuvenate the oral cavity, leaving your gums, teeth, and throat fresh and clean after chewing. It can be incredibly healing for inflammatory and/or bacterial oral conditions such as mouth ulcers and gingivitis. Chewing Frankincense is stimulating and healing to the digestive processes as well. It clears stagnation and ushers out excess gas, relieving the pain of colic. Whilst the taste of the resin can take a while to get used to, once you do you will never look back! Soaking frankincense resin in a small amount of peppermint oil or coating it in honey can also help while you are getting used to the taste.
Frankincense is often marketed by its botanical name “Boswellia” as a medicine for arthritis, rheumatism and joint pain. The resin can be taken internally or put into a salve for topical relief. It is a superb anti-inflammatory and circulatory stimulant. It can also help to balance the menstrual cycle and relieve painful cramping. Inhalation of the steam has been known to help break up congestion and fight off bronchial infections of various kinds. Topically, Frankincense is used as an eyewash and an ingredient in healing salves for wounds, bruises, abrasions, and for beautification of the skin.
Frankincense’s history of use in the Middle East and Africa is long and sacred. It is native to the Somali coast and areas of the Arabian Peninsula and is obtained by making cuts into the tree bark of Boswellia trees and collecting the resin that seeps out. It takes anywhere from 2 weeks to 3 months for the resin to harden into the “tears” we can burn, eat, steep for tea, and…chew!