About the Frankincense Plant
Frankincense (also known as olibanum) comes from the Boswellia sacra tree. The hardy tree is slashed or cut to produce a clear resin, which is harvested once hard. The Boswellia sacra tree is native to parts of Africa and the Middle East and is unusual in its ability to grow in harsh and inhospitable environments. Frankincense can also be sourced from other varieties of the Boswellia genus; however, the sacra is the main source.
The name Frankincense derives from frank-encens, meaning high-quality or pure incense. The trees can produce different coloured sap; the lighter the sap, the more 'pure' and valuable it is. The purest oil is generally found in Somalia and Oman.
The use of frankincense oil and resin dates back thousands of years to medieval times. Lovers of Christmas carols and biblical tales will recognise frankincense as one of the gifts offered by the three wise men, or Three Kings.
How Frankincense Oil is Made
Frankincense essential oil is a by-product of the frankincense resin. Distillers crush the hardened gum into powder before it is steam distilled, and the oil extracted for use in skincare, aromatherapy and perfume.
Why You Should Use Frankincense Oil
Frankincense oil contains several compounds that can boost skin health and aid skin repair. Limonene has antibacterial, antifungal and antioxidant properties. These abilities make frankincense a useful tool in keeping skin healthy and glowing. As it is antibacterial, a few drops will help to keep acne-causing bacteria at bay. It also can have an anti-inflammatory effect, which helps to ease redness and irritation associated with acne and breakouts.
Frankincense also contains the compound farnesol and is astringent, meaning it tightens skin and can help to reduce to appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. It has cytophylactic properties which stimulate new cell growth and regeneration.
How to Use Frankincense Oil
Frankincense oil is pure essential oil, so it's best to mix it with a carrier oil before applying directly to the skin. Try a few drops in your regular moisturiser for a natural skincare boost, or to your shampoo - it may help to strengthen your roots. Why not try ManukaRx Blemish Oil - the combination of frankincense with mānuka, lavender and jojoba oil helps to lessen signs of acne and works to prevents future breakouts.