Frankincense essential oil comes from steam distilling a resin found in the Boswellia carterii tree. Frankincense essential oil has a LONG history of use throughout the world. Its story in history books often starts in the middle east, where the trees that the oil comes from are native.
In the Middle East, Frankincense is considered a holy oil, and often used during religious ceremonies to enhance spiritual awareness and communications. The bible refers to Frankincense oil 52 separate times! Today the uses for Frankincense are countless, and only increasing as people experience the benefits of having this oil in their wellness kits.
Frankincense consist of monoterpenes, alpha pinenes, d-limonine, and sequiterpines (just to name a few constituents), all of which have incredible properties for maximizing health and spirituality. Keep in mind, essential oils are not medicine. One use may have noticeable effects, but more often you will need to incorporate them into your lifestyle to maximize the benefits you receive from them.
In this post, we will talk all about Frankincense essential oil:
- How Frankincense resin is harvested (with video)
- How long to expect a bottle of Frankincense essential oil to last
- The different types of Frankincense, and what makes them different
- How, When, and Why to use Frankincense essential oil
- Ideal essential oils to blend with Frankincense
- Our favorite DIY recipes featuring Frankincense essential oil
- How to find high quality, unadulterated Frankincense essential oil (with video)
How is Frankincense Essential Oil Harvested?
How Long Does Frankincense Essential Oil Last?
Frankincense essential oil typically has a shelf life of 2 years if the bottle is opened.
Frankincense, like many essential oils, begins oxidizing once exposed to oxygen. It may also break down when exposed to heat.
For best results, make sure the frankincense you purchase is stored in a dark amber bottle, and that bottle is stored in a cool, dry, and dark place. This will extend the life of your oil as long as possible. If you’re not planning on using it, keep it sealed.
I’ve had frankincense bottles for a few years unopened and they were still good to use. The longest I’ve personally had an open bottle of frankincense essential oil was 6 months. There is no real point of having it if you’re not using it.
In fact… frankincense essential oil has been found in tombs with Ancient Egyptian mummies… and was still in excellent condition! (probably because the tombs are sealed in an airtight manner)
Each 15ml bottle of frankincense essential oil contains approximately 250 drops of oil. If you use just one drop a day, you’ll use up your bottle in approximately 8 months and 1 week. If you use 5 drops a week, you’ll use up your bottle in just under 12 months.
Different Types of Frankincense Essential Oil
The most popular frankincense variety sold is Frankincense Carterii. It has a smooth aroma perfect for relaxing and spiritual connection. Frankincense Carterii is high in alpha-pinene and other monoterpenes, making it great for immune support.
Frankincense Carterii has many skin benefits, able to reduce the appearance of mature skin and scars by repairing skin cells. The respiratory system can also benefit from Frankincense, as it helps remedy illnesses and aids in breathing. The aroma of Frankincense Carterii is what most people are familiar with, and it’s commonly used in making natural incense and resin-burning. It has a deep, rich, grounding aroma which touts the ability to quiet the mind, support focus and encourage tranquility.
Frankincense Frereana is typically grown at a higher altitude in Somalia than other varieties, giving this oil more unique constituents. This variety of Frankincense is high in pinene, thujene and cymene, which provides excellent support for inflammation and healing properties.
Frankincense Sacra is native to Oman, and one of the most coveted varieties of Frankincense in the Middle East. Out of all four Frankincense varietals available anywhere on the market, Frankincense Sacra has the highest amount of alpha-pinene, which makes it ideal for certain health needs.
When paired with oils high in limonene, such as Lemon and other citruses, Frankincense Sacra has been found to be specifically healing to bodies fighting infections. Containing high amounts of alpha-pinene also gives Frankincense Sacra the ability to help sooth inflammation.
Its aroma is pungent and strong, with a deep, earthy Frankincense aroma with woodsy overtones. This variety is a must-have if you’re using frankincense for healing purposes.
Frankincense Serrata is the oldest documented Frankincense, and may be the Frankincense variety that is mentioned in the Bible and Ayurvedic medicine. Frankincense Serrata is high in natural constituents that provide powerful healing abilities:
- alpha thujene,
You may want to choose Frankincense Serrata when you’re in need of a deodorizer or air purifier. This oil is also commonly used for meditation and as anointing oil. The Frankincense resin from which it is produced is soft, sticky and rich in oil.
Frankincense Serrata tends to yield a higher amount of essential oil compared to other varieties, which often causes it to be slightly less expensive than our other Frankincense varieties. Its aroma is sweeter and more delicate than other frankincense varieties.
How do you use Frankincense Essential Oil?
There are several ways to use essential oils safely and effectively. I do have a separate post about essential oils and medication contraindications you’re welcome to check out if you’re worried about interactions.
To use Frankincense Essential Oil aromatically, you’ll be breathing in in one of several ways:
- Diffuse frankincense (with or without other oils) in a nebulizing diffuser, ultrasonic diffuser, or reed diffuser.
- Add frankincense (with or without other oils) to diffusing jewelry. You may use any porous stone, leather, felt, or cord as a wearable diffuser.
- Drip a few drops of frankincense into an oil inhaler and keep it with you, opening it to sniff periodically.
- Sniff the oil straight from the bottle
- Apply frankincense in your hands, and bring your hands up to your face to breathe it in.
- Add a couple drops to the collar of your shirt or to your bed’s pillow case to breathe in
To use frankincense topically (on your skin), please dilute it. There are rare circumstances when frankincense may be use neat (without dilution), but I highly recommend against it.
I always suggest diluting at least 1 drop of frankincense essential oil to one drop of your favorite carrier oil at the minimum. For children, I recommend 1 drop of frankincense essential oil per ml of carrier oil. This is easiest to achieve by using a roller bottle and adding 1 drop per ml (usually a 10ml), and fill it the rest of the way with your favorite carrier oil.
A carrier oil is any cold-pressed seed-based oil. My favorites include: sweet almond, fractionated coconut, grapeseed, and jojoba oils.
The benefits to applying your essential oils topically on your skin,
When you massage your skin (or receive a massage) your body increases blood flow to that area, which in effect gives that area of your body more access to the oils that have absorbed into your blood stream. This provides the cells in that area with more support from the oils, helping them work in that area faster.
This is a really controversial topic in the essential oil world. Many people will freak out over ingesting… others will swear by it after experiencing some wonderful benefits.
DO NOT INGEST ESSENTIAL OILS STRAIGHT FROM THE BOTTLE
When it comes to ingesting, please always dilute… and NOT in water. Oil and water do not mix, and may damage your mucus membranes in your body. While many people swear by it, mixing in only water is not the safe way to do so.
To dilute an essential oil properly for ingestion, add it to some oil (like olive or avocado) or honey first before adding it to any water or encapsulating it to take as a supplement.
Supplements that include frankincense essential oil include:
There are supplements available that are infused safely with essential oils that may be worth considering and investing in. I do personally take a few and have had excellent results with it in my health recovery journey.
Which method is best?
I don’t feel there is a best way. Just using essential oils will help benefit you, your physical wellness, your mental wellness, and your spiritual wellness.
Go with what you’re comfortable with, and start slow. Give your body time to adjust. Some people have a larger presence of harmful chemicals built up in their bodies… this may result in light headedness when using essential oils as they help your body purge those chemicals. Starting slow is always beneficial.
If you’re not comfortable with ingesting, don’t. If you aren’t sure whether you should diffuse, then apply topically for a while and work your way up to it later if you choose to. If you aren’t sure about putting them on your skin, then start out with diffusing a couple drops for 10 minutes at a time until you feel comfortable doing more.
There is no right or wrong… go with what you’re comfortable with… and follow your intuition.
Why should you use Frankincense Essential Oil?
Frankincense is unlike any other essential oil, with its ability to support every system in the body, plus providing spiritual benefits as well.
Frankincense enhances your meditation, bringing you higher spiritual awareness, regardless of your religious or spiritual beliefs. Frankincense helps you feel a deeper spiritual connection, which makes you feel more gracious and compassionate. This increases your positive relationships and helps inspire people around you, which only increases how positive and happy you feel.
- Drop a drop of Frankincense on the crown chakra (at the very top center of your head) to enhance your yoga or deep meditation sessions.
- Diffuse to enhance your senses and spirituality connection
- Apply to the center of your forehead (Third Eye Chakra) to deepen your spiritual connection, prayer, or meditation.
My favorite use for spiritual connectivity is to drip a drop of Frankincense on the center top of my head. It never fails to give me a wave of giggly chills that feel like the universe is hugging me.
Frankincense supports your skin by reducing wrinkles, brightening your skin, and reducing spots, making you feel more confident and beautiful. Feeling beautiful and confident help you become more productive and happier, which in turn creates a whole new level of happiness and positivity. When you look good, you feel better and act more confidently.
- This toner is easy to make, and my favorite to spray on my skin every day.
- You can also make this face cream (its incredible) created by my mentor, Kate from RealFoodRN. Definitely check it out to give your skin a special treat.
- Reduce the size of warts and skin tags by dripping frankincense essential oils on a q-tip and rubbing it over the wart or skin tag
- Frankincense has anti-aging properties that help tighten skin and reduce blemishes.
** DO NOT put any essential oil into your eyes.
Frankincense has many benefits for your eyes, when used properly.
- Reduce dark circles
Mix ¼ cup of rose water (rich in vitamin c), 6 drops of frankincense oil and 2 drops of roman chamomile oil. Cut a circular cotton round in half, and soak both halves in the rosewater mixture.
Rest each of round half under each eye, while lying down for at least 15 minutes.
- Help Tired Eyes
Create and use essential oil ice packs when your eyes are tired, sore, or irritated. Add 6 drops of frankincense oil into ¼ cup of water. Freeze the mixture until solid. Once frozen, wrap up your ice pack in a thick towel and rest it over your eyes, while you’re lying down with your eyes closed.
- Strengthen Eyelashes
In a clean empty mascara bottle (you can use your own old mascara bottle or buy one here), pour in 2 drops of frankincense oil and 1 drop of lavender oil. Fill the rest of the tube with castor oil. Mix thoroughly and apply this serum on clean eye lashes every night before bed.
Frankicense is fantastic to help reduce stress, calm nerves, or just help you relax and unwind from a long day, making you feel rejuvenated, and removing that extra weight on your shoulders associated with long, stressful days.
- Add a few drops to some epsom salts for a relaxing bath
- Diffuse while relaxing or before going to bed
- Dilute frankincense in your favorite carrier oil, and massage tired muscles
Purify the air
Frankincense is has an appealing, woodsy, balsamic aroma that can help purify the air along with providing a natural, uplifting scent. It helps make your home smell wonderful while giving you peace of mind that you’re not contributing to toxic overload in your home since you won’t need any room air fresheners that could contain toxic ingredients.
Frankincense is great at helping you relax, which helps you fall asleep. It also supports your respiratory system, so you can breathe easier, which helps you sleep longer with higher quality of sleep.
Frankincense also helps you feel better by specifically offering support to your:
- immune system
- nervous system
- cardiovascular system
- digestive system
Frankincense is one of those oils that is easy to use everyday. Its grounding, uplifting, and pleasant aroma has so many uses and can easily be blended with other oils for targeted support, or just simply enjoyment.
Blending Frankincense Essential Oil
There are many essential oils that blend well with Frankincense. But which essential oils go with Frankincense?
Frankincense essential oil blends well with all essential oils. Quite literally.. I have yet to find an essential oil that doesn’t blend well with Frankincense.
Frankincense is typically referred to as a “bass note” with its rich, deep, balsamic aroma with an incense-like overtone.
Where to find QUALITY Frankincense Essential Oil
After spending several years comparing essential oil brands to see which would work best for our family, we settled on purchasing our oils through Young Living because they felt the best to use.
I love how they set a higher industry standard for farming and distilling essential oils than what the rest of the industry practices. Their Seed to Seal guarantee is unmatched, and shows their dedication to a farm-to-table type of approach. They do not use any synthetic or harmful chemicals in any process, including the farming, and own many of their own farms. The farms they don’t own, they have representatives closely supervise to ensure the proper farming practices are always used. Each batch is tested through each phase of farming, distilling, and bottling, and any batch not meeting their high standards is used as pest control or mixed with compost. They distill at low temperatures for longer time periods, unlike anyone else in the industry, to ensure more constituents are unlocked.
When going through the healing phase of my chronic health journey, Young Living oils worked the best on my body while needing to use less than the several competing brands I tried. Frankincense was a hug part of that, and I’m truly grateful for it.
If you’re not yet a member with Young Living, please consider investing in yourself. You won’t regret it. Frankincense is one of the 12 oils provided in their Premium Starter Kit, which contains each of the most popular oils you’ll need for maximizing you journey getting started with quality essential oils.
How much does Frankincense Essential Oil Cost?
Frankincense is not the most expensive essential oil on the market, but it isn’t cheap. Typically, you’re looking at spending $75+ per 15ml, depending on where you find it. We spend about $75 for a 15ml.
Why does it cost so much?
Frankincense essential oil comes from a tree in the Middle East. There are very few places allowed to farm it, and harvesting the resin used to make Frankincense Essential Oil is an intricate skill few people have. There are a very limited number of trees that need to be treated a certain way in order to produce the resin.
To collect the resin, the farmer must cut the tree in a specific manner that can only be done a limited number of times per branch within a set amount of time. This is not something that can be automated… the entire process must be done by hand, which costs money.
In fact, Frankincense historically has always been worth more than gold.
The better question is… why are some frankincense essential oils so cheap?
The answer to that… many companies dilute (often down to 5% essential oil) or completely synthesize the entire product. I highly recommend you take a look at my article about how to find quality essential oils where I write in detail about common shady practices and explain the nonexistent regulations for essential oils.
Can you find Frankincense Essential Oil for cheaper?
Yes, but it may not actually be Frankincense. It could be completely synthetic (causing more damage to your body)… it could be a completely different oil that may or may not be chemically altered… or it could be diluted with a variety of solvents (that may or may not be safe for your body) so you’re really only getting a small percentage of Frankincense essential oil.
There are four other ways to acquire Frankincense without breaking your bank if this oil is outside of your price range. Young Living sells the Frankincense Vitality (which is frankincense in a bottle labeled for consumption) in a 5ml bottle for only $31. Or Young Living has a few additional options where you can get it for free:
- Essential Rewards: allows you to purchase $50+ each month in oils and oil-infused products to earn points that you can cash in to use as product credit, allowing you to purchase Frankincense at no cost to you.
- Qualifying Purchase: some months (especially in November or December), when you make a qualifying purchase, Young Living may send a free 15ml bottle to you with your order. Check our Current Promotions page for more info about which orders qualify for which freebies.
- Join us as an affiliate business builder. When you take advantage of Young Living’s wholesale membership and spend $50+ each month, you become eligible for Young Living’s business opportunity that allows you to earn a supplemental income that you can use to help you afford purchasing the oils you need and want in your life.
Is there a good substitute for Frankincense Essential Oil?
Yes, Frankincense is often too expensive for many people. Is it a fantastic oil? Yes. And I truly do believe it has value in every home. However, having gone through a season of homelessness and unemployment, I totally understand the need for a more cost-effective frankincense essential oil substitute.
- Helichrysum – has similar benefits
- Elemi – considered the “poor man’s frankincense” containing a very similar structure
- Black Spruce – considered the “Frankincense of North America,” containing very similar constituents and benefits.
How do YOU use Frankincense Essential Oil?
I would love to hear about it in the comments below!
Looking for more information about how essential oils can help you live your highest quality of life? Be sure to sign up for my FREE online introduction to essential oils class, to learn the basics.
Other posts you may enjoy:
- How To Find Quality Essential Oils
- Using Essential Oils Safely
- More articles including Frankincense Essential Oil
- Diffusing Essential Oils Safely
- Can Diffusing Make You Feel Light-Headed?
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