Aromatherapy: Healing with Frankincense Oil

Frankincense has been prized since the time of the pharaohs, who considered it an oil of enlightenment and wisdom, an exotic treasure that was more valuable than gold. Its powerful, sweet and woody fragrance is still used today as incense in temples and churches.

Medication and meditation

The magical properties of frankincense are best activated by using it in an essential oil burner. The powerful aroma is conducive to meditation and yoga as it slows and deepens breathing, imparting a sense of elevated calm.

It also has wide-ranging therapeutic properties: its expectorant action is used to treat colds and respiratory illnesses; it is a balancing gastric tonic; and it is also good for the complexion.

Active ingredients of Frankincense

Frankincense acts on the central nervous system. It promotes slow, deep breathing that helps to calm the mind and body, and lift the emotions.


Burning frankincense as incense, joss sticks or in an essential oil burner causes the release of the mind-altering chemical trahydrocannabinole, which may be responsible for the oil's links with religious visions and spiritual experiences.


These comprise 50% of frankincense and include pinene, limonene and camphene among many others. Terpenes are toning, warming and stimulating; they give the oil expectorant and antiseptic qualities. Pinene, although present in small concentrations, adds a hint of pine to frankincense's aroma and is a potent antiseptic.


Olibanol and farnesol are both present in low concentrations. Farnesol in particular has outstanding anti-inflammatory and antiseptic actions.

Using Frankincense Oil

Frankincense oil has many beneficial applications, including being an aid to healing and as a toner to improve the complexion. It is also used in magic.

To Treat Mature and Damaged Skin

Reduce stretch marks
To reduce scarring of stretch marks, mix: 2 drops each of frankincense, lavender and neroli into lotion and apply daily.

Face mask for mature skin
Make a nourishing face mask for mature skin with 30ml clay, 10ml runny honey and 2 drops each of frankincense, carrot seed oil and lavender oils.

face mask

Magical Oil

Frankincense has been regarded as a holy and purifying aroma since ancient Babylon.

Ancient Egyptians burned frankincense in their temples at midday to symbolise the Sun got Ra's passage through the skies. Their name for frankincense translates as 'becoming godly'.

Egyptian myths told of the phoenix bringing frankincense to Egypt in its claws.

Frankincense was one of the three gifts brought by the wise men to the baby Jesus in Christian lore.

Spiritual Healing

Use frankincense joss sticks, incense or oil in an oil burner to create an atmosphere of contemplation and comfort during periods of meditation and prayer, and while you practise yoga.

Dispel apathy with a pulse point massage oil blend of 8 drops grapefruit, 6 drops of frankincense, 5 drops of sandalwood and 3 drops of neroli in 50ml sweet almond oil, rubbed into your temples.

Banish frustration by inhaling 4-5 drops each of frankincense, neroli and bergamot from a handkerchief.

Chest Infections

aromatherapy balm

Frankincense has decongestant and expectorant properties that can help to ease stuffy heads and bronchial problems.
Use a night-time rub to fight chest infections. Add 3-4 drops each of frankincense and cedarwood to 15ml sweet almond oil.

Ease asthma symptoms with a massage blend of 3-4 drops each of lavender, clary sage and frankincense in 25ml sweet almond oil.

A Woman's Comfort Oil

Frankincense's balancing properties make it a valuable oil for women.

Relieve period pain
Ease painful periods with an abdominal massage blend of 6 drops frankincense, 3 drops rose and 25ml sweet almond carrier oil.

Post-natal depression
To ease depression, dilute 10 drops geranium, 8 drops frankincense and 4 each of lavender and neroli in 50ml carrier oil.

Dispel grief
Soothe feelings of loss with 10 drops frankincense and 5 drops each geranium and grapefruit oil added to a warm bath.