Parts used medicinally: Gum resin
Frankincense is a natural golden resin that comes from the Boswellia tree, native to Africa and Arabia.
What is Frankincense?
Resins are substances produced by plants either spontaneously or as a result of the plant being injured. The resin oozes out from the bark and probably acts to protect the plant from further damage or infestation. Though initially liquid, the exudate eventually becomes hardened over time, which is what you see in the pictures below.
The name ‘frankincense’ comes from the French ‘franc encens’ meaning ‘high-quality incense’. The aroma is described as earthy, sweet and spicy and its essential oil is commonly used in perfumery and is a popular ingredient in anti-ageing cosmetics.
This resin, although primarily produced for healing of the plant, has some wonderful medicinal properties for us too.
Did You Know?
- Frankincense contains chemicals called boswellic acids which are known to have strong anti-inflammatory action. This explains the common use of it by herbalist for inflammatory conditions like arthritis and asthma.
- The resin also boasts strong antibacterial properties, making it good for use on wounds and on skin in conditions like acne.
- The resin is a great expectorant, meaning that it helps to loosen and clear mucus from the airways.
Frankincense & Me
- The essential oil is commonly used in aromatherapy and has both a calming and uplifting effect on the nervous system. Try adding a few drops to a diffuser or to a piece of tissue to inhale – for those extra stressful days.
- If you want to try it topically on your skin, add a few drops to an oil or your usual face moisturiser for use night and day.
If you are pregnant/breastfeeding or on drug medication, be sure to consult with a professional before trying these remedies.
Ginkgo was first used as a medicine in 10th century China and was then adopted in Europe in the 1960s by Germany. Today there is a significant amount of research into it at all levels, particularly for neurological and vascular conditions.