Frankincense: Not Just for Jesus - Ayurveda | Everyday Ayurveda

Frankincense: Not Just for Jesus

By on August 2, 2016

Frankincense: Ayurvedic View and Uses

The Joy of living in Texas includes warm weather, sunny sky, fresh produce and yes, bugs and insects! Recent heat brought plenty of bugs and flies surrounding our dwelling. I Immediately remembered my father, who was an Ayurvedic and modern physician, burning Dhoopam or frankincense resin to get rid of the insects, back in India.

My father used to say that burning Dhoopam not only rids of visible bugs but is also very useful in ridding invisible bacteria and viruses. He mentioned that Dhoopam is very helpful in warding off negativity and bringing positive energy in the environment.

Thanking my father, who is in heaven now, I started burning Dhoopam in and around my house. Of course, making sure the windows were open and the house was well ventilated. The result was an aromatic house free of bugs!

Historical uses and importance of Frankincense:

Frankincense is also called Olibanum. It is an aromatic resin obtained from the Boswellia tree family, including Boswellia carterii, Boswellia serrata and Boswellia papyrifera.

Traditionally, Frankincense is considered as sacred and used in religious and meditation practices.

The ancient Egyptians bought boatload of frankincense and myrrh resins from the Phoencians to use them in:

  • Incense
  • Insect repellent
  • Perfume
  • To heal the wounds and sores
  • Both Frankincense and Myrrh used in the embalming process

The New Testament mentions that the Wise Men bestowed Frankincense upon The new born-Jesus. It was often used in many rituals in the churches through out Europe. People in the African continent chewed Frankincense gum to keep the teeth and digestion healthy. Frankincense has been a staple in Chinese medicine since 500 B.C. Buddhist monasteries often use frankincense in meditation rituals.

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Frankincense and Ayurveda:

Boswellia Serrata, a varity of Frankincense, is mainly found in Indian states of Madhya Pradesh and Rajsthan. It is known as Salai Guggula in Ayurveda. The oil is derived from the gum or resin of the tree by steam distillation.

The Frankincense gum traditionally used in Ayurvedic medicine is known as Dhoopam. It is used in the homes to purify and bring good health. It is also used around the newborn babies and the new mothers to keep them safe from the airborne viruses and bacteria.

The oil is traditionally used in Ayurveda to treat:

  • Respiratory illnesses
  • Arthritis
  • Strengthen female hormones
  • Skin ailments
  • Wounds
  • Rheumatism.

Frankincense resin, or oil, can also be used along with Brahmi and calamus root to calm and strengthen the nervous system.

Frankincense and the Doshas:

Frankincense has a Sattwic (सात्विक) – purifying effect on mind and nervous system. It also helps in purifying the subtle Nadis.

  • It pacifies Vata Dosha and relieves anxiety and nervousness associated with Vata.
  • Revitalizes Kapha by uplifting the mood and clearing mental Fatigue. It also clears Prana Vaha Strotas or the respiratory tract and clears the Kapha related nasal and sinus congestion.
  • Pitta people feel the calming effect of Frankincense during meditation. Pitta people can use this oil in skin conditions like acne, boils or redness.

Chewing the Frankincense resin helps in tooth decay, gum conditions and aids digestion.

Modern Science and Frankincense:

Modern science confirms the value of Frankincense as Antiseptic and Antiviral. Research also shows that it contains boswellic acid which is useful as anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer and blood purifying. Frankincense is useful in promoting blood circulation. The oil contains sesquiterpenes ( a-pinene, b- pine etc) some carbon based compounds which act directly on the limbic brain, also on the hypothalamus, the pineal and the pituitary glands.

How to use:

Frankincense oil is generally considered safe for most of the people. But it is recommended to test on the small area of the skin for irritation or allergy. It is also beneficial to use the oil diluted in coconut or Jojoba oil.

Use in aromatherapy by inhaling the oil directly, by diluting and putting on the skin or by diffusing in the air.

Rub the diluted oil ( using a carrier oil such as coconut or Jojoba) on the chest or around the nose for respiratory problems. Rub the diluted oil on the arthritic areas.

Use the diluted oil on the skin wounds, rashes.

Chew the resin for strengthening the gums and the teeth.

Burn the resin to purify the house.

Disclaimer: the above information is for the education purpose only. Please consult your Ayurvedic professional for the therapeutic uses.

Source : Wikepedia , Ayurvedic, Visnu Dass’ Blog, Scientific research in 2013 by The University of Leicester, Scientific paper on Composition and potential anti cancer activities of essential oils obtained from Myrrh and frankincense by Yingli Chen, Chunlan Zhou

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About Manju Joshi

Manju Joshi, MA, ERYT500, Diploma in Health and Nutrition, Ayurveda and Holistic coach. Co-founder of Gurukul Yoga Holistic Center in New Jersey. Currently residing in Austin TX. Sharing classical Yoga and Holistic living with the community since 1991.


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