In the New Testament, one of the gifts that the Three Kings brought to the baby Jesus was Frankincense.
What made Frankincense so precious to the wise men of old?
Why would they bring that as one of only 3 gifts for the Son of God?
Well, first of all, a little history.
Frankincense and myrrh, the other plant-derived essential oil given to Jesus in the New Testament story, (both of which boast proven antiseptic and inflammatory properties, more on that in a minute) have a long history.
Frankincense has been a staple of traditional Chinese medicine since at least 500 B.C. Both frankincense and myrrh have been traded in the Middle East and North Africa for over 5,000 years.
Historians believe they had many uses in the ancient world and there is significant archaeological evidence that they were widely traded by the Babylonians and Assyrians as well as the ancient Egyptians and Phoenicians–used for everything from incense, insect repellent, perfume and salves for wounds and sores to religious ceremonies and as key ingredients in the embalming process.
“We have textual—and also archaeological—evidence that both frankincense and myrrh were used as medicinal substances in antiquity,” confirmed Alain Touwaide, a historian of medicine at the Institute for the Preservation of Medical Traditions and the Smithsonian Institution.
By the time Jesus was born, ancient medical practitioners had recognized and documented the oils’ antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, and analgesic benefits and were prescribing them for everything from indigestion and chronic coughs to hemorrhoids and halitosis.
Frankincense and myrrh may have been worth more than their weight in the third gift presented by the wise men: gold.
They quickly fell out of favor in Europe with the rise of Christianity and fall of the Roman Empire though.
If you are interested in a more in-depth story about the origins and history of Frankincense, the Middle East Institute has a great article on it.
But the question remains–why was it so revered?
I touched on this in another post and the simple conclusion I came to is that ancient people had only empirical evidence. In other words that had only the observations of the results they experienced from using Frankincense (and all other essential oils really).
Thankfully today, we have science. Which reminds me of this video, LOL.
Please note that the FDA does not regulate essential oils. This means that I cannot make any specific claims or imply that essential oils cure or should be used to treat any diseases or other health conditions. I am not doing that by providing this information.
All information is pulled from reputable sources and studies. Links are provided so that you can make an educated and informed decision as a responsible adult.
Scientific Research on the Benefits of Frankincense Essential Oil
Sad that I cannot link you directly to some of the really amazing studies that have been done. I can only point you to them. Click here for a long list studies on Frankincense (a.k.a., Boswellia).
As we’ve found, Frankincense is renowned as one of the most prized and precious essential oils and has extraordinary health benefits.
It’s soothing and beautifying properties are used to rejuvenate skin and reduce the appearance of imperfections. When inhaled or diffused, Frankincense promotes feelings of peace, relaxation, satisfaction, and overall wellness.
- Rub Frankincense on your hands after a long day of gardening for a warming and soothing effect.
- Reduces the appearance of skin imperfections.
- Can be applied to the bottoms of feet to promote feelings of relaxation and to balance mood.
- Take one to two drops in a veggie capsule to support healthy cellular function.
Directions for Use
- Diffusion: Use three to four drops in the diffuser of your choice.
- Internal use: Dilute one drop in 4 . oz. of liquid.
- Topical use: Apply one to two drops to desired area.
Extraction Method: Steam distillation
Aromatic Description: Warm, spicy, clean
Plant Part: Resin from Boswellia carterii, frereana, and sacra
Main Chemical Components: α-pinene, limonene, α-thujene