Complete Frankincense Essential Oil Guide + FAQs

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Frankincense essential oil comes from steam distilling a resin found in Boswellia trees. 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 that has a rich history of being 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.

Table Of Contents
  1. How is Frankincense Essential Oil Harvested?
  2. Key Constituents In Frankincense Essential Oil & Their Benefits
  3. How Long Does Frankincense Essential Oil Last?
  4. Different Boswellia Species Used for Frankincense Essential Oil
  5. How Do You Use Frankincense Essential Oil?
  6. Member-Favorite Ways To Use Frankincense Essential Oil
  7. Essential Oils That Blend Well With Frankincense Essential Oil
  8. Frequently Asked Questions about Frankincense Essential Oil
  9. Where to find QUALITY Frankincense Essential Oil
  10. How do YOU use Frankincense Essential Oil?
  11. Other posts you may enjoy:

How is Frankincense Essential Oil Harvested?

Frankincense is harvested from the frankincense trees, a protected variety of trees that can only be harvested in a very specific way, in accordance with traditions dating back to ancient times. 

The frankincense gum resin is collected by hand using a scraping tool, several times in the same space. The resin is what is distilled to create the oil. Frankincense resin may also be used in dietary supplements, steeped in water for frankincense tea, or used to aromatically fill a space with a resin burner.

Key Constituents In Frankincense Essential Oil & Their Benefits

The chemical composition of the oil consists of mostly monoterpenes, alpha pinenes, d-limonene, and sesquiterpenes, 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.

Monoterpenes, Alpha Pinenes, d-Limonene, and Sesquiterpenes all have some phenomenal health benefits you won’t want to miss knowing about.

How Long Does Frankincense Essential Oil Last?

Frankincense essential oil typically has a shelf life of 2 years after the bottle is opened, and is stored properly.

Frankincense, like all 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 for as long as possible. If you’re not planning on using it, keep it sealed until you are ready to use it.

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, using it frequently in skincare recipes, diffuser blends, and by itself.

Each 15 ml 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 Boswellia Species Used for Frankincense Essential Oil

There are four different species of boswellia (frankincense trees) that the oil is created from including Carterii, Frereana, Sacra, and Serrata varieties. While they have many similarities, there are also a few notable differences.

Boswellia Carterii Frankincense Essential Oil

The most popular frankincense variety sold is Boswellia 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 encourages tranquility.

Boswellia Frereana Frankincense Essential Oil

Boswellia Frereana is a type of frankincense 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.

Boswellia Sacra Frankincense Essential Oil

Boswellia Sacra is a type of frankincense 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, Boswellia 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, Boswellia Sacra has been found to be specifically healing to bodies fighting infections. Containing high amounts of alpha-pinene also gives Boswellia Sacra the ability to help soothe 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 Frankincense Essential Oil

Boswellia Serrata, also known as Indian Frankincense, is the oldest documented Frankincense and could be the same Frankincense variety that is mentioned in the Bible and Ayurvedic medicine. Boswellia Serrata is high in natural constituents that provide powerful healing abilities: alpha thujene, alpha-pinene, and d-limonene.

You may want to choose Frankincense Serrata Essential Oil when you’re in need of a deodorizer or air purifier. This oil is also commonly used during prayer 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.

What do you use frankincense essential oil for? Here are some tips, tricks, and info all about Frank

How Do You Use Frankincense Essential Oil?

There are several ways to use essential oils safely and effectively. While frankincense does have a rich history of medicinal uses, it has not been approved or reviewed by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) for any health condition, so we will not be reviewing them here. If you have a medical condition, you’ll want to check out my article about essential oils and medication contraindications.

Aromatic Ways To Use Frankincense Oil

To use Frankincense Essential Oil aromatically, you’ll be breathing in in one of several ways:

Diffuse frankincense oil (with or without other oils) in a nebulizing diffuser, ultrasonic diffuser, or reed diffuser.

Add frankincense oil (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 oil into an oil inhaler and keep it with you, opening it to sniff periodically.

Sniff the oil straight from the bottle

Drip frankincense oil in your hands, and bring your hands up to your face to breathe it in.

Add a couple drops of frainkincense oil to the collar of your shirt or to your bed’s pillow case to breathe in

Add 2-3 drops of frankincense oil to your favorite diffusing jewelry to wear on you throughout the day

Topical Ways To Use Frankincense Essential Oil

To use frankincense topically (on your skin), please dilute it. There are rare circumstances when frankincense may be used neat (without dilution), and many people swear by it but I highly recommend against it. I’m personally a huge advocate for using essential oils safely. Not only will you save money helping your oil last longer, but you’ll avoid any potential sensitization problems.

I always suggest diluting at least 1 drop of frankincense essential oil to one drop of your favorite carrier oil at the minimum (50%), but usually coach my clients to use 1 drop of essential oil per 1ml of carrier oil as a general rule. 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, filling the rest of the way with your favorite carrier oil.

A carrier oil can be any cold-pressed, seed-based oil (ideally organic and unrefined). This includes most cooking oil, like coconut oil, avocado oil, and olive oils. Personally, we LOVE using sweet almond oil, grapeseed oil, and the V6 Carrier oil (made by Young Living). This is the best way to dilute your essential oils for topical use.

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 been absorbed into your bloodstream. This provides the cells in that area with more support from the oils, helping them work in that area faster.

Ingestion Ways To Use Frankincense Essential Oil

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 oils, please always dilute… and NOT in water. Oil and water do not mix and may damage the 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 along with some carrier or cooking oil to take as a supplement.

>> Learn more about ingesting essential oils safely >>

Ingesting Frankincense As A Supplement

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 personal wellness journey. Longevity (antioxidant support), ImmuPower (immune support), and Cortestop (stress support) are my favorite pre-made supplements that contain frankincense.

Which method for using frankincense essential oil 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. What is “best” really depends on your lifestyle, personal needs, and comfort level.

Go with what you’re comfortable with, and start slow. Give your body time to adjust. Some people (unknowingly) have a larger presence of harmful chemicals built up in their bodies… this may result in lightheadedness 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 force it. You’re not missing out.

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 of 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. Or find a quality coach who understands anatomy, physiology, and how essential oils interact with our bodies.

Member-Favorite Ways To 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. Below are our member’s and customer’s favorite ways to using frankincense essential oils.

Using Frankincense Oil On Your Skin

Frankincense is a great oil to use in your skincare routine. It supports your skin by reducing wrinkles, brightening your skin, and reducing spots, making you feel more confident and beautiful. Feeling beautiful and confident helps 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.

Make your own skin toner. So many skincare toners contain alcohols and other harmful additives that do not serve to provide you with a healthy way of nourishing your skin. When you DIY your own skin toner, you know what you’re using is quality, nontoxic, and customized for exactly what your skin needs. Plus, using frankincense in that skin toner recipe gives you a healthy dose of anti-aging properties that help tighten skin and reduce blemishes.

You can also use it to make simple natural products, like 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.

Using Frankincense Around Your Eyes

** DO NOT put any essential oil into your eyes. **

Frankincense has many benefits for your eyes, when used properly, may reduce dark circles around your eyes with this DIY cotton round recipe, help tired eyes with frankincense ice packs (recipe with the cotton round link), and may strengthen eyelashes.

To strengthen your eyelashes: In a clean empty mascara bottle (you can use your own old mascara bottle or buy an empty one), 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 eyelashes every night before bed.

Reduce Stress Using Frankincense Oi

Frankincense is fantastic to help reduce stress, calm nerves, or just help you relax and unwind from a long day. It inspires a rejuvenating atmosphere, lifting that extra weight on your shoulders associated with long, stressful days.

Using frankincense to help with releasing stress is very simple. Diffuse a few drops of frankinsence while you relax, or add a few drops to a cup of epsom salts in a relaxing bath. Or dilute frankincense in your favorite carrier oil, and massage tired muscles.

Purify The Air In Your Home Or Office Using Frankincense

Frankincense 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.

Use Frankincense To Help You Sleep Better

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 a higher quality of sleep.

Feel Better By Supporting Your Body with Frankincense Oil

Frankincense also helps you feel better by specifically offering support to your immune system, nervous system, cardiovascular system, and digestive system. Plus works wonders with assisting issues with inflammation. There is no space on or in your body that frankincense isn’t able to help support.

Frankincense is one of those oils that is easy to use every day. Its grounding, uplifting, and pleasant aroma has so many uses and can easily be blended with other oils for targeted support, or just simple enjoyment.

Essential Oils That Blend Well With 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.

DIY Diffuser Essential Oil Blends Featuring Frankincense Essential Oil

  • Stress Free Day – 3 drops each lavender and frankincense essential oils
  • Hope – 4 drops frankincense, and 3 drops each bergamot and ylang ylang essential oils
  • Feeling Happy – 2 drops each frankincense and peppermint essential oils
  • Relax – 4 drops each of frankincense, lavender, and cedarwood essential oils
  • Focus – 2 drops frankincense, 3 drops peppermint, 2 drops lime essential oils

Frequently Asked Questions about Frankincense Essential Oil

What is the difference between Frankincense and Frankincense vitality essential oils?

Absolutely nothing aside from the label printed. They are 100% the exact same oil the may be used in the exact same ways interchangeably. Young Living adopted the Vitality label in 2015 to remain legal with the FDA and FTC’s marketing requirements that state a supplement cannot be labeled as topical and oral at the same time.

This means legally, I (along with other bloggers and marketers) cannot discuss using an essential oil in your cooking, baking, drinks, or any oral supplement form if it is the same bottle discussed as also being used in your diffuser or topically on your skin.

To reduce confusion and stay in the eyes of the law, Young Living separated their labels to compliantly discuss all the benefits essential oils can provide in all use capacities.

Is Frankincense essential oil safe to use while pregnant?

Yes. Generally, Frankincense essential oil is considered safe for pregnant women to use. If you’re using oils while pregnant, I highly recommend this reference guide. It contains some great advice for using essential oils while pregnant, plus some DIY Recipes you’ll love too.

Is Frankincense essential oil safe for kids and babies?

Yes. Frankincense is among the most gentle essential oils. We confidently use it all the time with our young kids from the time they were born. Just make sure you dilute it more than normal. I recommend one drop of Frankincense essential oil per 5 ml carrier oil.

While essential oils may be safe for kids to use, please do not have your child use an essential oil internally without being under the direct guidance of a naturopathic doctor.

Can you be allergic to Frankincense essential oil?

There are a few reasons why you would experience an allergy-like reaction to essential oils. Usually, this is caused by not diluting the oil you’re applying (or not diluting it enough). Please refer to our essential oils and allergies article for more in-depth information.

Is Frankincense essential oil safe for dogs and cats?

Frankincense essential oil is considered safe to use with your pets.

If you’re using essential oils around your family pets, be sure to allow them to access out of the room and into a room where you’re not diffusing. This way they’re able to escape when they feel they’ve had enough. Please also consider picking up a reference guide specific to using essential oils with animals (there is also an option specific to Young Living).

Should you use Frankincense essential oil if you’re taking medication?

This is a very personal question, and really depends on which medications you’re taking. I have an entire article dedicated to known medication contraindications that I highly recommend you check out… in addition to having a lengthy conversation with your local aromatherapist or pharmacist.

How often should you use Frankincense essential oil?

This is also a personal question. This depends on what you’re using it for and how experienced you are using it. For beginners, I recommend only diffusing for 30 minutes at a time, then giving your body an hour break. If you diffuse too much, you could end up lightheaded. Personally, I have a diffuser running most of the day intermittently (using the intermittent setting on our diffuser). Or I’ll wear a piece of diffusing jewelry with 3 drops of oil on it throughout the day (those 3 drops usually last a few days). Check out our article about diffusing essential oils safely for more info.

Don’t see an answer to the question you have about Frankincense essential oil?

Have a question you don’t see? You’re welcome to ask in the comments or fill out this form to ask anonymously.

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 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 huge part of that, and I’m truly grateful for it.

What do you use frankincense essential oil for? Here are some tips, tricks, and info all about Frank

If you’re not yet a Young Living member, 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 your 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 of high-quality frankincense essential oil, depending on where you find it. I spend about $78 for a 15ml using Young Living’s Subscribe To Save customizable monthly auto-ship program.

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 of the boswellia tree 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 outlining all the dirty little secrets happening in the essential oil industry that no one is talking about.

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:

  • Subscribe To Save: allows you to purchase any amount each month in oils and oil-infused products to earn a 24% discount. You can also earn points that you can cash in to use as product credit, allowing you to purchase Frankincense at no cost to you when you purchase more than 50pv.
  • Qualifying Purchase: some months (especially in November or December), when you make a qualifying purchase, Young Living may send a free 5ml or 15ml bottle of frankincenseto you with your order. Check our Current Promotions page for more info about which orders qualify for which freebies.
  • Join us as an affiliate Brand Partner. When you take advantage of Young Living’s Brand Partner Program with an innitial purcahse of the Business Essentials Kit ($30) and make a qualified purchase 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.


Nicole Graber, team leader, author, and editor to EssentialOils.Life and nikkygraber.com blog websites.

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Nicole

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