The Science of Beauty: Frankincense Essential Oil
Frankincense (Boswellia carterii
) was one of the most highly prized substances in the ancient world. It has a long history as incense [The term frankincense originates from the word franc
(pure) and incensum
(smoke)], burned by the Egyptians for its heady, resinous aroma and used for meditation and religious ceremonies. A strong aromatic, it slows respiration and is considered emotionally centering and calming. It was often used to fumigate the ill in order to drive out evil spirits (actually obsessions, fears, and anxieties manifested as physical symptoms) causing the sickness. Its relaxing effect on respiration makes it effective for those suffering from asthma or congestion. As an inhalant, it has a pronounced effect on the mucous membranes, which makes it a good expectorant.
Ancient peoples quickly learned the value of frankincense in skin care. The Egyptians made rejuvenating face masks with it, and Ovid, the Roman poet, noted in his book on skin care (Medicamina Faciei)
that frankincense was excellent for toilet purposes.
Frankincense continues to be an impressive skin care ingredient. While often ignored in modern formularies, it is astringent, slightly anti-inflammatory, and has incredible ability to rejuvenate skin and eradicate wrinkles. Its antioxidant properties and cell regeneration abilities lead to smoother, more youthful skin. It tones and lifts skin to increase firmness and minimize pores, which is why the Egyptians used it in facial masks. Excellent for acne care because of its antiseptic properties.
One of the more impressive benefits of frankincense in skin care is its ability to prevent and fade scars. It has been reported to reduce the appearance of discoloration and redness due to blemishes, irritation, and even stretch marks.
India and North Africa continue to supply the highest quality frankincense oil. The small trees of frankincense originated in the mountainous areas of western India, southern Arabia, and northeastern Africa. The pale yellow or amber-green colored oil is also known as olibanum or boswellia. The resin originates from exposing the sap of the tree that becomes a gum upon exposure to air.
Frankincense at the Abbey
We have had a long appreciation of the benefits of frankincense in skin care:
Essential Earth Elements Cleanser
This cleanser is packed with skin healthy ingredients, including frankincense. In fact, frankincense is the ingredient that provides the fragrance of this cleanser. This dark clay cleanser also makes a wonderful treatment potion. After cleansing and toning, massage the lotion into the skin (it will disappear) as a night repair treatment for wrinkles, dull skin, acne, or dryness.
Night Line Relief Serum
Intense wrinkle treatment to smooth fine lines and firm skin on face and neck.
Carrot Repair Serum
Smooth wrinkles, relieve dryness, repair scars, soothe eczema and psoriasis.
Serum St. Martha
Anti-fungal nail and foot repair.
Frankincense Essential Oil Overview
Botanical name: Boswellia carterii
Source: India, North Africa, Europe
Parts Used: Resin
Production: Steam distillation
Aroma: Balsamic, sweet-woody, rich, spicy.
Properties: Antiseptic, anti-fungal, antioxidant, astringent, carminative, digestive, diuretic, expectorant, sedative, tonic, uterine health.
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