I always find December to be an exciting month. I’m finally able to listen to Kenny and Dolly’s “Once Upon A Christmas” album without seeming weird, the nights are long but the winter solstice brings us hope that spring (and eventually summer!) are around the corner, hot drinks like mulled wine and eggnog make an appearance, and everywhere looks so darn festive. Not to mention it brings us the New Year, with new possibilities and opportunities. But, between trying to find the perfect gift for everyone on your list and making time to see all your friends and family, this season can also be stressful and moments of solitude rare. That’s why I thought I’d introduce us to frankincense this month, as it can help calm and ground us during this hectic time.
Frankincense, with the Latin name Boswellia carterii, is part of the botanist family Burseraceae and is native to Limestone-rich regions of India and Northern Africa along with Somalia. The fragrance profile is sweet, spicy and woodsy but also clean and fresh smelling. Frankincense comes from the resin of Boswellia trees. Similar to harvesting maple syrup, the bark is cut to allow the sap to seep out but rather than being collected in buckets, it’s left to harden on the tree. Once solidified, chucks are removed and then crushed so that they can be steam-distilled to create its essential oil.
In ancient times, Frankincense was extremely prized and made those involved in its trade equally wealthy, especially the Egyptian pharaohs. It was a key ingredient in the embalming process, insect repellent, perfumes and healing ointment (for cuts and wounds). In old French the word frankincense, “franc encens”, literally means “true or high-quality incense” and has been burned for centuries during religious and spiritual ceremonies. No wonder it was gifted to a certain baby so many moons ago.
Today, in aromatherapy, it’s commonly used to sooth stress, anxiety and tension as it has a calming and uplifting effect on the nervous system and helps to increase energy. It also assists with clearing the mind and improving concentration, which makes it a perfect meditation companion. Additionally, it’s great for all skin types – especially dry and mature – as it improves, heals and rejuvenates. It has antiseptic, anti-inflammatory and astringent properties and blends well with citrus, spice and other resin oils such as: basil, cedarwood, myrrh, neroli, pine, sandalwood and vetiver.
Try using the following blends in your diffuser when you need to slow things down a bit:
4 drops of frankincense essential oil and 5 drops of grapefruit essential oil
4 drops of lavender essential oil, 2 drops of sweet orange and 4 drops of frankincense
4 drops of cedarwood essential oil, 4 drops of frankincense essential oil, 2 drops of eucalyptus essential oil
4 drops of frankincense, 2 drops of peppermint essential oil, 3 drops of rosemary essential oil
Or try using similar blends in the bath with 1 cup of Epsom salt. Remember to add the essential oils after you’ve run the water, that the water shouldn’t be too hot and to give the water a little swish before getting in.
2 drops of frankincense essential oil and 3 drops of grapefruit essential oil
3 drops of lavender essential oil, 1 drops of orange and 3 drops of frankincense
3 drops of cedarwood essential oil, 3 drops of frankincense essential oil
3 drops of frankincense, 1 drops of peppermint essential oil, 1 drops of rosemary essential oil, 1 drop of eucalyptus essential oil
Finally, try adding one drop of frankincense essential oil to your regular night cream or face oil. Place the cream or oil in your hands first, then add the drop of essential oil and rub the mixture lightly in your hands. Cup your face with your hands and breathe in a few times before applying it over your face for double the effect, on both your skin and psychology.
How do you use frankincense essential oil in your life? Share your experiences with us using #RitualFlowerPower
Jessica La Grassa is a transplant Hamiltonian and a certified Aromatologist who enjoys sharing her knowledge and green living recipes with others.