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Frankincense, the sap of the Boswellia tree, when burnt, produces a unique and powerful aroma. Much more than that it creates an other-worldly atmosphere. It is difficult to describe, but a few words that may help are “peaceful”, “cleansing”, and “sacred”. It is powerful stuff. So, it is no surprise that humans have used it ceremonially since ancient times.
It was highly prized by the ancient Egyptians, who used it in a variety of rituals for both the living and the dead. In the Western world, most people recognise it as one of the gifts given to the baby Jesus by the three wise men (or magi). It is said that it was given as a symbol of the divinity, which would be consistent with the ancient understanding that it was a sacred substance.
Today’s world is not so concerned with the sacred, and for most people, frankincense is now just a historical curiosity. But new evidence has emerged which gives a clue as to why ancient people valued this substance so highly. Scientists have discovered that frankincense has many powerful medicinal properties: it is anti-inflammatory, immune-boosting, and can even selectively destroy cancer cells.
The ancient Egyptians were nothing like the superstitious and bizarre culture that they are stereotyped as today. They had profound knowledge about how to heal the body, the most ancient medical texts known to man are on ancient Papyrus. The ancient Egyptians did not separate the spiritual from the physical, the material world was considered a manifestation of spirit. If they venerated a particular plant, it would not have been because of a random superstition, but due to their knowledge of its healing properties. And for a substance like frankincense, it makes perfect sense for them to see it as sacred. What could be more sacred than a tree that contains thousands of substances that work in harmony with the human body to cure disease? What could be greater evidence of a divine order of things?
We know that the ancient Egyptians used frankincense medially, although little documentation remains today. In recent years, there has been a renewed interest in natural medicine as we realise the limitations of pharmaceutical drugs (they are expensive, create side effects, and often cause more harm than the illness they are meant to cure). Researches have put frankincense to the test and discovered that it has many powerful medicinal properties.
Medicinally, the best way to use frankincense is in the form of oil pressed from the resin. It has been shown to soothe coughs, colds, and other respiratory problems. Used on the skin, it removes scar tissue and stretch marks. It also has anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties making it useful for infections.
Some of the most fascinating frankincense oil studies come from looking at the effect it has on cancer cells. It appears to work on a genetic level – fighting cancer in several ways. It stops cancerous cells dividing, growing, and even causes apoptosis (cell death). The most remarkable thing is that, unlike chemotherapy drugs, it does not harm ordinary cells. With standard cancer treatments causing such terrible side effects, there is an urgent need for alternatives and researchers have suggested frankincense oil is a strong candidate. Unfortunately, it is unlikely there will be human trials because, in today’s corrupt world, almost all human studies are done with pharmaceutical drugs (because there are billions to be made). Many have suggested that, the only reason natural substances are studied at all, is to discover new money-generating drugs.
However, we do know for sure that frankincense kills cancer cells in a lab environment in an incredibly sophisticated way, working in harmony with the body. Suddenly the idea of this substance as sacred, does not seem like superstition, but ancient wisdom.
There is also scientific that frankincense oil boosts the immune system, by supporting the division of white blood cells.
So, the ancient Egyptians, and other cultures, were right about frankincense. It is very powerful stuff. We hope that the true nature of this substance is revealed to the world and we see it does much more than create a pleasant aroma. We have found with many such substances that they work in a holistic way, interacting with many different bodily systems in a way that is too sophisticated for our current scientific knowledge to understand. By neglecting these substances, it seems like we are the primitive ones – not the ancient people who respected the healing power of nature.
We stock frankincense in both the resin and oil form.
One of our popular products is a blend of essential oils which includes frankincense oil. It designed to help with numerous respiratory issues and promotes deep healthy breathing.