Frankincense is an essential oil obtained from steam distillation of the gum resin of the small, bushy Boswellia carterii tree. Some frankincense oil is extracted with alcohol or a chemical solvent such as hexane. Only steam-distilled or alcohol-extracted frankincense resin should be used for aromatherapy purposes.
Frankincense helps improve dry, chapped, mature-looking skin. It is especially useful to the respiratory system during seasonal changes and aids in coughs, excess mucous, pharyngitis, laryngitis, bronchitis, colds and flu. It is excellent for use with stress-related conditions and anxiety, due to its ability to have a calming effect on the nervous system. It can be massaged into the skin, added to the bath, inhaled and taken internally in small doses.
Frankincense may also be useful when traveling on airplanes. Inhaling the aroma may help to prevent respiratory dryness and catching cold viruses circulating in the plane's recycled air.
Wayne McCarthy, ND, a naturopathic physician in Waikoloa, Hawaii, believes frankincense works wonders on a sore throat. He recommends mixing 2-3 drops of frankincense tincture with saliva in the back of the throat and then swallowing. "I found it to be so effective for throats that I just never want to be without it," he says.
Breathing the vapors or swallowing small amounts of frankincense may help restore your voice when it has been lost due to overuse.
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