Lauded for its fragrance, frankincense has been used in perfumes and aromatherapy for over 6,000 years. The aroma emanating from frankincense is soft, woody, and balsamic with a distinct citrus note.
There are many reasons to love frankincense essential oil, but we'll share 3 reasons here:
- It’s an ancient oil – According to Rome’s Pliny the Elder, frankincense made the people of southern Arabia some of the richest people on earth in the first century AD. The sap that creates frankincense comes from the Boswellia Sacra Tree, which can be found in abundance in the Arabian Peninsula. The best quality trees for frankincense extraction can be found in the dry belt of the Dhofar Mountains in Oman, just beyond the reach of the region’s summer monsoons. The caravan routes that would be used to carry frankincense from this area around the world in the 4th century is known as the Land of Frankincense, a designated a UNESCO heritage site. One ancient belief was that the aroma of frankincense had the power to ward off snakes.
- It’s a versatile aroma oil – Frankincense is an excellent grounding element in any aromatic blend. It has a soft earthiness that doesn’t overpower other delicate aromas, making it an excellent choice to round out essential oil blends of any kind. One may find frankincense aromatherapy oil alongside citrus oils, other woody oils like cedarwood or juniper, with warm zesty aromas like ginger, or with cooling blends like those with peppermint or eucalyptus. Because so many different scent notes can be found in natural frankincense, it’s able to uplift and showcase just about any other aroma it’s paired with.
- It’s a classic calming aroma – Frankincense in aromatherapy is soft, sweet, outdoorsy, and fresh, making it a classic calming aroma perfect for use in all sorts of profession and at-home spa treatments. One might diffuse the aroma, bathe in the aroma, or even dab the aroma onto their pulse points to experience the soothing effects that frankincense has to offer. In ancient times, it was a classic perfume choice for its ability to soothe in a refreshing and pleasant way. In aromatherapy applications, it can be mixed with other aromatherapeutic scents to combine benefits without compromising its pleasant nature. For instance, one may want a relaxing and rejuvenating mood boost, so they might mix frankincense with lemon or peppermint to uplift and relax at the same time.
Where Does Frankincense Essential Oil Come From?
Essential oils in general are typically extracted in one of two ways – steam distillation and cold pressing. Cold pressing is saved for fruit oils and is done in modern times by puncturing the surface of the material, spraying the punctured areas with water, and then separating the oil from the water runoff using a centrifuge. Lemon, orange, and grapefruit oils are extracted using the cold pressing method.
Frankincense oil is extracted using steam distillation. Frankincense is a bit different than other plant-based essential oils because Frankincense is actually the name of the sap of the Boswellia tree. First the Boswellia tree is sliced on a diagonal with a sharp knife, allowing the sap to seep through the puncture scar. The sap is collected with a pan or basket, and then allowed to dry creating small tear-shaped aromatic pieces of resin. That resin is then broken down into smaller pieces and sent through the steam distillation process.
With steam distillation, the small resin pieces will be suspended over boiling water, with the steam then collected in a tube above the resin leading the moisture to a cooling vessel. Once in the cooling vessel, the water separates from the oil to create essential oil.
Essential oil is different from fragrance oil or synthetic oil in a variety of ways. First and foremost, with an essential oil you’re getting the authentic version of an aroma since the oil comes directly from the plant itself. Additionally, synthetic fragrances are mere “interpretations” of a fragrance and could be created using any number of synthetic chemicals. It’s not rare for one frankincense fragrance oil to have noticeable differences compared to another.
Epsom Salt Soaks With Frankincense Essential Oil
Frankincense is an oil that is commonly seen in epsom salt aromatherapy blends due to its soothing nature and versatility. You can find examples of all-natural frankincense oil in:
- Sitz Bath Juniper & Niaouli – This USP grade epsom salt blend has the aromatherapeutic benefits of all-natural frankincense, lavender, geranium, niaouli, and juniper essential oils. A perfect cooling and soothing blend, it can help to provide comfort to the bottom area particularly for those who deal with hemorrhoid discomfort.
- Gentleman’s Soak – Gentleman’s Soak is a cooling and outdoorsy epsom salt blend that joins frankincense with cedarwood, eucalyptus, and peppermint essential oils. A perfect uplifting blend, the aromatherapy combined with the USP grade epsom salt works to soothe while rejuvenating the mind and body.
- Ancient Secret – Ancient Secret is a warm, comforting, and inviting blend that can bring about feelings of complete relaxation. Like a hug in the bath, this blend features essential oils of frankincense, sandalwood, peppermint, eucalyptus, and cedarwood.
- Detox Foot Soak – Frankincense oil is soothing and fresh, making it a welcome aroma in any sort of foot soak. Detox Foot Soak features frankincense alongside clean lemon, cool peppermint, and soothing lavender essential oils for a complete pampering epsom salt soak experience.
- Postpartum – Postpartum sitz soak is a soothing and calming USP grade epsom salt blend that is focused on soothing, nurturing, and calming. Frankincense oil is joined by lavender, geranium, chamomile, and lemon essential oils for a well-rounded and grounded blend.