Frankincense has a number of uses. It is used to make perfumes as well as in aromatherapy. In addition, it is often incorporated in skincare products. Frankincense also yields an essential oil, which is obtained by means of steam distilling the dry resin. The aroma of frankincense smoke is partially attributed to products formed during pyrolysis or the decomposition of the resin. Frankincense, also referred to as Boswellia, encloses an extract having potent anti-inflammatory attributes. People in India have used this extract over centuries to alleviate inflammations related to specific forms of arthritis. It is important to note that Boswellia is a herb which possesses anti-inflammatory qualities, but does not result in stomach irritation caused by several conventional NSAID's (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs). This herb has several incredible effects, which are also beneficial for various other inflammatory conditions. It is particularly useful for treating chronic lower back or lumber pain. In addition, frankincense also helps in repairing blood vessels injured due to inflammation. Frankincense essential oil has various uses, including its use in manufacture of incenses, perfumes, soaps, cosmetics as well as in the form of an additive and fragrance. It has been found that essential oil obtained from Boswellia works to renew aging skin, acts as a mild balancer for fatty or oily skin, prevent formation of wrinkles and probably also erases some of the existing wrinkles. Numerous Christian churches, for instance, the Eastern Orthodox Church, Catholic Church and Oriental Orthodox Church, use frankincense during religious rituals. The gospel of Mathew 2:11 states that the gifts from the three wise men 'from the East' presented to baby Jesus included frankincense, myrrh and gold. People belonging to several faiths, including Christian, Islamic and Judaic as well as others, have been using a blend of frankincense and different oils to rub or sprinkle on infants, anoint initiates as well as people who are entering a new phase in their spiritual lives. On the other hand, as Christianity spread in the 4th century A.D., the market for frankincense witnessed a significant depression. Moreover, the caravan route through the 'Empty Quarter' or Rub' al Khali in the Arabian Peninsula became even more difficult as the area faced desertification. Trade in frankincense virtually shrunk after A.D. 300 following a rise in raids by the nomadic Parthians in what is now north-eastern Iran. It is worth mentioning here that frankincense or the resin produced by trees belonging to the genus Boswellia is edible and has been utilized in preparing traditional remedies in Africa as well as Asia. These medications were recommended to promote digestion and improve the health of the skin. If you wish to use frankincense internally, you need to ensure that the substance is not only translucent, but also does not contain any brown or black contaminations. Ideally frankincense meant for internal consumption should have a pale yellowish hue with a hint of almost negligible green. Although frankincense is comparatively stickier than chewing gum, it is usually chewed in the same manner as you use chewing gum. In Ayurveda Boswellia serrata or frankincense is generally called 'dhoop.' People in India have been using this substance over centuries to treat arthritis, foster healing of wounds, and reinforce the female hormone system as well as to purify the air. In Ayurveda, using frankincense is known as 'dhoopan.' People in India, Arabia, and East African regions believe that if you burn frankincense in your house every day, it helps to usher in good health and prosperity. Boswellia carteri (B. Carteri): The extract of the resin obtained from this Boswellia species contains incensole acetate and triterpene acids, which show very strong actions that may possibly possess the aptitude to stimulate cytotoxicity specific to tumour cells. These activities are more distinguished in the case of different types of cancer cells. In addition, these chemical compounds present in Boswellia carteri extract also demonstrate positive influences on the immune system. Findings of studies published in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, a peer review journal, show that the essential oil of frankincense (Boswellia carteri) has the potential of emerging as an alternative agent to treat bladder cancer.
Chemical analysis of frankincense essential oil has shown that its main chemical constituents include actanol, a-pinene, bornyl acetate, octyl acetate, incensyl acetate and incensole.
Frankincense does not have a fixed standard dosage, as it is subject to a number of issues, including the age, health as well as many other conditions. In fact, sufficient scientific information regarding determination of an exact dose range for the boswellia herb or frankincense is not available at present. You ought to always remember that natural products are not essentially safe all the times and the dosage of such products may be very important. At the same time, you should ensure that you are strictly following the directions applicable and printed on the product labels. In addition, you should always check with your physician, pharmacist or any healthcare professional prior to using these natural products.
Although it is generally safe to use the boswellia herb, especially when you are following the directions strictly, its use may result in some side effects like nausea, diarrhea or skin rash. However, such side effects occur seldom. The boswellia herb should never be used for women during pregnancy and nursing mothers. Even young children and people suffering from serious problems related to the liver or kidneys should not use this herb. It is advisable that people with sensitive skin should use this herb cautiously, as it may cause skin irritations.
Boswellia or frankincense is available in various forms, including tablet, capsule as well as creams. However, it has been found that the oral form of this herb is more effective. In addition, this herb is also available in the form of an extract. While buying the extract you should check the label of the product for its boswellin content. You may also buy boswellin in cream form, which is used to alleviate pain associated with arthritis.
Frankincense is collected by tapping the trunk of trees belonging to the genus Boswellia. The gum-like aromatic resin may also be collected by making incisions on the bark. After tapping or making the incisions, the sap is allowed to flow and solidify on the tree trunk. The resin is left in the open air and subsequently collected when it hardens.