Frankincense Tree: The Amazing Desert Treasure with a Story to Tell

By Jonathan Hunsaker

Reading Time: 7 minutes

In a hurry? Click here to read the Article Summary...

Imagine yourself, for a moment, coursing through a windy pathway that carves out an ancient woodland grove in the south of Arabia along the Red Sea. As you walk, you take in the many sights, sounds, and scents of this pristine and sacred environment. It’s likely that your ears would be tickled by a gentle chorus of chirping birds; your eyes would be flooded with a sun-drenched tapestry of desert-native flora and fauna; and your nose would breathe in the distinct aroma of one of the world’s most fascinating plant species – the frankincense tree.

Known as Boswellia in the scientific literature, frankincense boasts a unique, rich history throughout the Middle East. Its legacy even spans into modern times and into every corner of the globe. Beyond its elegant, low-flowing branches and bright, perky flowers, the frankincense tree produces a powerful resinous sap.

Today as it has in the past, this precious substance sets frankincense apart from most other plants. Frankincense resin is valued for its uses in everything from religious incense and perfume to decorative jewelry, toothpaste, deodorant, and even folk medicine.

In part because of its rarity (frankincense grows naturally at the southern end of the Arabian Peninsula, and almost nowhere else), the sap of frankincense has been a prized treasure throughout much of the world for thousands of years. At one time valued more highly than gold, frankincense is viewed by many as one of nature’s special blessings.

So precious is frankincense, in fact, that the Magi from the well-known Biblical account who trekked across the arid desert to visit the newborn Christ brought some of it with them as a priceless gift fit for a king.

Where Does Frankincense Oil Come From?tear-shaped droplets of sap

So why is frankincense so special, and where does it come from? Incisions (“wounds”) are cut into the Boswellia tree and the tear-shaped droplets of sap that escape are carefully scraped off and dried. These “tears” solidify into an alluring mass of silver, golden, and amber colors that, in and of itself, are a sight to behold.

The hardened frankincense gum is either burned or processed into essential oil or oil extract, depending on the intended use. These conversion methods release the various aromatic terpenes locked inside frankincense, which unleashes that intoxicating, fragrant bouquet that typifies this unique and incredible plant.

As part of their burial rituals, many ancient civilizations, including the Greeks, Romans, Egyptians, and Israelites, would use these various frankincense extracts to embalm their dead as part of a holy laying-to-rest ceremony.

The earthy, sweet-smelling aroma of frankincense is nothing short of pungent, after all, helping to deodorize and freshen nearly anything to which it’s applied. Frankincense can even function as a type of insect-repellant, according to both historical and modern accounts, helping to ward off mosquitos and other flying insects.

The pleasant scent of frankincense can be used to both calm and invigorate. As an essential oil, frankincense is commonly used to promote relaxation and peace of mind, with many likening its effects to mental and spiritual enlightenment.

Reported uses of frankincense in this vein include stress reduction, anxiety relief, and mood improvement – all benefits with timeless and universal relevance and appeal.

Frankincense: Where Cleanliness Meets Godliness

Like pleasant aromas, cleansing is another all-encompassing ritual that never goes out of style and frankincense holds a prominent spot in the personal care lineup as well.

Many soaps, shampoos, toothpastes, and deodorants with authentic base notes contain frankincense because its aroma is both soothing and long-lasting.

When applied to the body, frankincense is widely recognized as helping to moisturize and freshen the skin, while some people even chew its resin whole because they say it helps to keep their teeth and gums clean – a purification tradition with ancient roots.

In aromatspiritual senseherapeutics, civilizations since practically the beginning of time have used frankincense to purify the air by diffusing it with that characteristically fresh and piney scent exclusive to this particular resin.

In a peer-reviewed animal study published in the Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, researchers from Hebrew University in Jerusalem stumbled upon perhaps another purifying facet to frankincense: its ability to “purify” the body when inhaled by lifting one’s emotions out of a toxic state.

In a separate published article “Frankincense Oil: The rainbow bridge,” researcher Peter Holmes explains how frankincense has long been regarded as “the scent of purification,” not only in physical sense, but also in an emotional and spiritual sense.

By allegedly helping to clear the mind and soul of damaging weights and burdens, frankincense may help to facilitate a spiritual cleansing or rebirth, aiding in the rejuvenation of the senses [1].

What About Frankincense and Health?

Even more well-documented in the scientific literature are the non-metaphysical effects of frankincense. Asian, African, and Ayurvedic systems of medicine have long held frankincense in high regard for its health-promoting benefits, with plenty of empirical evidence to back its recognized uses in supporting a healthy immune system and cellular function.

Here’s just a taste of what’s been reported in peer-reviewed scientific studies about the potential health benefits of frankincense:

  • Researchers from Cardiff University in the U.K. decided to investigate the reported pain-relieving properties of frankincense. As reported in Science Daily, lead researcher Dr. Ahmed Ali stated that “The search for new drugs to alleviate the symptoms of conditions like inflammatory arthritis and osteoarthritis is a priority area for scientists. What our research has managed to achieve is to use innovative chemical extraction techniques to determine the active ingredient in frankincense. Having done this we are now able to further characterise the chemical entity and compare its success against other anti-inflammatory drugs used for treating the condition [2].”
  • In a paper published in the journal BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, researchers concluded that an essential oil blend containing frankincense may help inhibit the spread and proliferation of viral cells associated with influenza. The study’s authors wrote that the oil “decreased direct infection of the cells,” adding that frankincense oil specifically “possess[es] anti-inflammatory activity through inhibition of immune cytokines production and leukocyte infiltration [3].”
  • For patients with digestive troubles, the use of Boswellia has shown positive results in a number ofFrankincense tree studies, including in a human trial involving 20 patients who “suffered from chronic colitis characterized by vague lower abdominal pain, bleeding per rectum with diarrhea and palpable tender descending and sigmoid colon.” The patients in the study “were given a preparation of the gum resin of Boswellia serrata (900 mg daily divided in three doses for 6 weeks) and ten patients were given sulfasalazine (3 gm daily divided in three doses for 6 weeks) and served as controls [4].”According to the paper published in the journal Planta Medica in 2001, “Out of 20 patients treated with Boswellia gum resin 18 patients showed an improvement in one or more of the parameters … In conclusion, this study shows that a gum resin preparation from Boswellia serrata could be effective in the treatment of chronic colitis with minimal side effects [5].” 
  • Numerous studies have likewise investigated the use of frankincense for improving a range of health outcomes in patients with the “Big C:” cancer. Just one example is a peer-reviewed paper published in the journal BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine in 2009 which concluded that frankincense oil “appears to distinguish cancerous from normal bladder cells and suppress cancer cell viability. Microarray and bioinformatics analysis proposed multiple pathways that can be activated by frankincense oil to induce bladder cancer cell death. Frankincense oil might represent an alternative intravesical agent for bladder cancer treatment [6].” [Note: “Intravesical” is a type of therapy where a liquid drug is injected directly into the bladder via a catheter.]

While none of these benefits or outcomes are guaranteed from the use of frankincense oil, their cited presence in the scientific literature are worthy of consideration. There’s a reason why frankincense has been so pronounced throughout history as a natural substance worth its weight in gold – and then some.

Whether in times past, present, or future, one thing is for sure: the frankincense tree and its fragrant resin really is one of nature’s treasures with sacred significance, and shouldn’t be ignored.

Joint & Muscle Care is a revolutionary supplement that takes three of the strongest inflammation support agents in nature (frankincense, myrrh, and turmeric), and combines them in the same perfect union treasured by the ancients. Available in capsule form or as an essential oil blend called Magi-Complexx.

Joint & Muscle Care

Article Summary

  • Known as Boswellia in the scientific literature, frankincense boasts a unique, rich history throughout the Middle East.

  • As an essential oil, frankincense is commonly used to promote relaxation and peace of mind.

  • Many soaps, shampoos, toothpastes, and deodorants with authentic base notes contain frankincense because its aroma is both soothing and long-lasting.

  • Frankincense is known to “purify” the body when inhaled by lifting one’s emotions out of a toxic state.

  • For patients with digestive troubles, frankincense has shown positive results in a number of studies.

  • The frankincense tree and its fragrant resin really is one of nature’s treasure with sacred significance, and shouldn’t be ignored.


      • Probably the safest way to take Frankincense internally is by using Enteric Coated Gel Caps. You can buy them on Amazon. I take the Organixx Magi Complex (which contains Organic Frankincense, Myrrh, & Turmeric). I use only 2 drops per ENTERIC Coated capsule, fill the rest of the capsule with ORGANIC Fractionated Coconut Oil (I use Plant Therapy brand) also can buy on Amazon, just make sure it is the Organic option. I also take 2 drops of Black Pepper Fruit Extract (also from Organixx - it is named Black Pepper Essential Oil), fill rest of ENTERIC Coated capsule with the ORGANIC Fractionated Coconut Oil. This is the safest way to take these ORGANIC oils internally. Also, make sure you get the “ENTERIC” Coated Gel capsules (the brand I use is Pure Caps USA Size 00 Vegan Enteric Capsules - Delayed Release -Acid Resistant. These products can be harsh on the Stomach, this is why the use of the “ENTERIC COATED GEL CAPSULES” is the best/preferred safest way to get these wonderful products internally into our bodies. The Enteric Coated capsules will not dissolve in the stomach acid, and so will dissolve in the Intestines where it does not cause harshness to the Stomach itself. I am not receiving any monetary kick backs, nor am I I associated with these particular brands in any way, except for my own personal use of these products. It really works for me and I have done a lot of research on how to take these products the best & safest, and most Stomach friendly way. So I hope that my info can help others looking to take these particular products safely & effectively.

  1. Hi there,

    The last order I bought from you, I had to pay a 20 dollar surcharge at this end for duty (UK). It seems you missed out declaring information when processing.

    So although your products are good, it works out far too expensive to buy from you.


    E. Varley.

    • It is expensive dealing with these people. I ordered a set of essential oils when they were first released just over a year ago. My Paypal account was charged twice and they won’t refund me the overcharge. I won’t be purchasing from them until they do the right things do fix it. I am not getting anywhere with them so be aware.

      • Hi Dawn,

        Our customer support team is looking into this right now. We want to make this right! Thanks for being patient with us.

    • Hi Ted,

      We are sorry to hear about the additional customs charge. We try to price our packages in a way so that these fees are lessened. We do not however have control over these types of fees because they are from the post office/government.

  2. I am interested in buying the Magi-complex but as I live in the U.K. the pound agains the dollar is at a high time low! Added to that are the international postage charges and import duty which makes this more expensive currently than I would like. Perhaps when the pound recovers and if you have any left I might then be in a position to purchase!!

    Many Thanks

    Kind Regards


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

100% Safe & Secure

Safe & Secure

Free Shipping
Free Shipping

U.S. orders over $99/CAN over $149
Worldwide over $199

1-Year Money-Back Guarantee

Money-Back Guarantee

Free Recipe eBook

33 Superfood Smoothie & Drink Recipes For Weight Loss, Immune Support, Detoxing, and More.

Please enter your name.
Please enter your email address.
Please enter a valid email address.

Yes, send me my free recipe ebook along with other health tips, recipes, and discounts from Organixx! I understand that I can change my preferences and unsubscribe at any time. Our Privacy Policy