Frankincense has also been shown to help with anxiety, disappointment, hysteria, emotional fatigue, nervousness, congestion, anti inflammatory, immune deficiency, insomnia, asthma, bronchitis, emphysema, aphrodisiac, emollient, indigestion, carminative, antiseptic, expectorant, sedative, tonic, and anti tumor.
Frankincense has been around since ancient times and is even mentioned in the Bible. The Jews offered up Frankincense in ceremonies. It seems that different regions use Frankincense for different reasons; the Chinese use Frankincense to treat leprosy, Egyptians used Frankincense to pain women's eyelids, hair remover, and perfume. The main contribution of Frankincense is for respiratory distress and although it was once taken internally but no longer is but now is rather used as more of incense and when it is infused with vapors it can help laryngitis.
Frankincense comes from a tree called the Boswellia Thurifera which can be found in Africa and Arabia. To get Frankincense, they split the trunk of the tree and allow the resin to harden before it is harvested. Frankincense is commonly used in the practice of Wicca which is a religion that practices witchcraft. They use Frankincense for perfumes and believe that it corresponds well with certain days such as Sundays and Wednesdays. What Wicca's call a solar spell is affiliated with Frankincense in the form of oil or herbs are used for spells and formulas that are related to solar issues.
These spells would be used for such purposes as physical energy, protection, success, and putting an end to specific legal issues. When you refer to Frankincense in the form of essential oils it is very expensive and is usually diluted with other oils or jojoba oil. These combinations are also used by the Wicca's when casting spells. Some people prefer to substitute Rosemary for Frankincense.
Ironically enough never forget that Frankincense was one of the beautiful gifts that were brought to baby Jesus on the night of his birth by one of the three wise men. This is also used to increase menstrual flow, to treat syphilis, for unsightly scars and stretch marks, and breast cysts. Further it is used to treat acne, boils, and skin infections as well. Frankincense is one herb that is not edible and is not known for use in any recipe contrary to those who believe that Frankincense is used in Indian cuisine. It is not known to be used in any cuisine at all but it is extremely helpful for the practice of aromatherapy.
Frankincense in Aromatherapy - Trees, Pearls, and Essential Oil
The Mysterious Frankincense
Used for many thousands of years, the Frankincense tree has perhaps the greatest association with spiritualpractice of any plant on earth. In most of the great ancient cultures,including the Egyptian, Babylonian, Persian, Hebrew, Greek and Roman civilizations, it has played a role inreligious and domestic life. Frankincense has been sought after by kings and valued as highly as gold. Morerecently, the essential oil is gaining popularity with spiritual seekers and natural healers alike. What isso special about this tree that its 'pearls' were given as a gift at the birth of one of history's most reveredprophets?
The Hardy Tree and its Tears
The Frankincense tree, or Olibanum, upon first glance, may seem rather unremarkable. It appears as agiant shrub, with many knurled branches topped with abundant slender leaves and occasionally, small white flowers.A native to northern Africa, it looks like it belongs in the desert, growing in some of the world'sharshest conditions. But it is not the tree itself, but rather its sap that has such profound lore surroundingit. Whenthe tree's bark is pierced with a knife (known traditionally as a 'Mingaf'), a milky-white oleoresin is exuded- thought the tree is not harmed. The resin forms droplets known as 'tears' or 'pearls', which harden intothe orange-brown gum known itself as Frankincense. The English name of this natural incense is derivedfrom the medieval French 'franc',meaning 'pure' or 'free', and from the Latin 'incensium', meaning 'to smoke'.
History's Most Popular Incense
For more than 5000 years, the hardened resin has been burned in temples throughout Egypt, China andIndia; the Catholic church continues to use it today during Mass. It is one of the four main ingredientsin Jewish ceremonial incense, forming an important part of the Sabbath day offerings. The smoke of Frankincense(as with other ritual incense) is thought to carry prayers to heaven upon it's smoke. It is also said todeepen the breath and still the mind, making it useful for meditation and yogic practice. Theincense may have health benefits as well, producing a highly antiseptic smoke, keeping churches and churchgoersfree from disease.
According to ancient documents, the great Baal temple of Babylon consumed 2 and a half tons of Frankincensea year. The Frankincense trade was of immense importance in ancient times, peaking about 2000 years ago.Caravans grew to as many as 2 to 3 thousand camels in size. Cities grew up along the trade routes, and heavytaxes and fees for protection, lodging and camel fodder raised the cost of the resin considerably, so muchso that it was valued as much as gold. The wealth involved inspired Alexander the Great to plot to control theregion, though his death happened to precede the invasion.
Frankincense resin is thought to have a bounty of health properties - it was an ingredient in a rejuvenateface mask in ancient Egypt (it was also charred and used as the classic heavy eyeliner seen in much ancientEgyptian art), and at one time was "used to treat every conceivable ill to man". In ayurvedic medicine itis known as salaiguggul,used for centuries to treat many conditions, including arthritis. Modern science has isolated the activecompounds found to have anti-arthritic properties. Called boswellic acids, these components inhibit theinflammatory process, improve blood supply and prevent further cartilage reduction.
Frankincense Essential Oil
Modern natural medicine and aromatherapy have taken to the use of the essential oil of Frankincense. The oil, havinga warm, woody, sweet aroma with a hint of citrus, is steam or CO2 distilled from the resin.It is used for respiratory conditions such as bronchitis, catarrh and asthma; for wrinkles, wounds and dryskin, and in cases of rheumatism, cystitis and leukorrea.
The most important effect of the essential oil may be on the nervous system. Regarded as an antidepressant,the aroma can both relax and revitalize, and can help in cases of nervous tension and exhaustion. Frankincenseoil contains sesquiterpenes, which stimulate the limbic system, the hypothalamus, the pineal and the pituitaryglands. The oil is now being researched for it's ability to increase human growth hormone production. Further,it is considered to strengthen the immune system, which may in-fact occur as a result of it's uplifting properties.
Frankincense essential oil can be used in a manner similar to burning of the incense in spiritual practice.Warming in a candle lamp or direct application to the temples and third eye will quiet the mind, deepen thebreath, and promote meditative stillness. It is often blended with Sandalwood, Myrrh and Cedarwood for suchuses, and the single-pointed concentration it invokes is thought to allow the spirit to soar.
Experimenting with Frankincense
Frankincense resin is widely available at reasonable costs. Most is wildcrafted, being extracted fromtrees growing in the deserts of northeast Africa - thankfully, the resource is abundant, as the treeseasily survive harvesting of the pearls. The small chunks of resin can simply be lit by themselves ina dish or similar container, and allowed to smolder and release their smoke. Frankincense is also availablein prepared incense sticks and other incense preparations. In the form of your choosing, simply lightand allow some quiet time to experience the deep aroma.
With the essential oil, a diffuser or warming lamp can be used to disperse the aroma throughout a space.The oil is also found in aromatherapy candles, where it is released from the heated oil beneath the burningwick. Frankincense oil can be applied directly to the forehead (it is non-irritating or sensitizing)where you can both capture the aroma and absorb the oil directly. Again, take a moment to sit quietlyto perceive any effects.
The wonderful gift of the Frankincense tree is available in many ways, and has come highly recommendedfor many thousands of years. Try adding a little Frankincense to your life, and see what the mystery is all about!
Misty is a naturopath and yoga instructor in Boulder, Colorado. She employs wildcrafted and organic essential oils [http://www.ananadaapothecary.com] like Frankincense oil [http://www.ananadaapothecary.com/aromatherapy-essential-oils/frankincense-essential-oil.html] in her practice.
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