The Complete Guide to Using Frankincense Essential Oil: Benefits, Uses, Recipes, and More — All Posts Healing Harvest Homestead (2024)

This article is a complete tutorial and guide to everything you need to know about Frankincense (Boswellia spp.) essential oil: The benefits, ways you can use it, where it comes from, its history, how to source it, PLUS some amazing easy recipes and essential oil blends you can make right now!I also share my NON-branded advice for finding quality essential oils that won’t drain your dollars.

When I first started out using essential oils over 15 years ago, I really didn't give Frankincense essential oil much thought--except I thought it was pretty cool that it was one of the gifts of the Magi at the time of Christ's birth.

I really had no idea how to use Frankincense essential oil….and although hard to admit now, I didn’t even really like the scent very much. But as all things you learn to use, grow and love, I think the scent is absolutely incredible.

Now that I’m a certified aromatherapist with a consulting practice, I find myself turning often to frankincense essential oil. It’s great as a main oil in a blend, and it’s also excellent as a supporting essential oil as well.

These days, frankincense essential oil has become a common mainstay oil for many essential oil aficionados. But if you are new to essential oils and are not quite sure what to do with frankincense essential oil and how best to harness its powers for yourself and family, this guide is for you!

Many years ago as a beginning dabbler in essential oils, I used to use only use the oils I was very familiar with: Lemon, Lavender, Peppermint, and once in a great while, I'd branch out into Tea Tree or Eucalyptus. Sadly for me, frankincense wasn’t in my first group of learning oils. Now, it’s a different story. I use frankincense every day.

When I began learning about herbs, and gained a blessed confidence in using actual plants as medicine, I truly began to understand the value of using essential oils for more than simple cleaning and as a wonderful and natural way to scent our house (and my classroom at that time, as I was a school teacher).

That's when I started really considering the uses for frankincense essential oil.

What is it good for? How can it help your health? Why do so many people rave about frankincense?

So, I started using it because that is actually the BEST way for you to really learn how a plant or an essential oil will work for you—to actually experience it. Along with doing a little research first of course, to be sure it’s truly right for you.

Read on to learn how you can start using your frankincense essential oil right now, today!

NOW, on to the incredible things Frankincense essential oil has to offer you and your family in this special guide!

FTC Disclosure: There are affiliate links scattered throughout this article. If you click through and make any kind of purchase, I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you.


The Complete Guide to Using Frankincense Essential Oil: Benefits, Uses, Recipes, and More — All Posts Healing Harvest Homestead (1)

Frankincense Oil: Therapeutic Properties and Actions

Herbs and essential oils that are used for health reasons have what are called "properties,” or actions…thus they can be categorized into one or often many more different areas so you know how you can best use them.

Aromatherapists, herbalists, and lay people then know how to mix and match herbs and oils to create their own remedies, skincare products, and more.

Frankincense is a wonderful all-around essential oil. It has these useful properties, which can be medicinal, topical for skin health, aromatic for mood help, and more:

  • anti-inflammatory—helps reduce inflammation

  • astringent—tightening & toning

  • antiseptic—slows or kills the growth of microorganisms; used on the body

  • disinfectant—kills microbes, and used on non-living areas, like a counter top

  • carminative—aids digestion

  • expectorant—supports respiration

  • emmenagogue—supports menstruation

  • diuretic—helps reduce water retention

  • cytophylactic—protects cells from damage

Because of these properties, Frankincense is often used for skin care, cellular rejuvenation (for anti-aging), flatulence, balancing female hormones, and wound healing, to name just a few.

You’ll read more details about the benefits and uses of frankincense further in this article, but first, let’s take a look at the history of this fascinating plant.

History and Source of Frankincense

Frankincense is a resin from the trees of the genus, Boswellia. There are around 20 species of Boswellia trees that grow natively in Africa, India, and most predominantly, the Middle East. The Arabian Peninsula is the primary area of growth, and most of the resin is now sourced in Oman.

These special trees produce an oleo-gum resin, also called frankincense tears; and it’s the Boswellia species B. sacra, B. frefreana, B. carterii and B. serrata are the most commonly used for commercial essential oil purposes.

Boswellia trees grow in dry, rocky environments and use very little soil. They are amazing survivors in unbelievably harsh desert eco-systems. This is probably on of the reasons frankincense is so powerful.

It should be noted that they are quickly becoming endangered as current harvests for this popular incense and essential oil around the world are threatening the trees’ existence. Be sure to look into the sustainability of the essential oil company when you purchase.

The name, “frankincense,” is French and comes from the words “franc encens.” Franc is old French, and means “noble and pure”. Encens means “incense,” so you can see that frankincense was and still is a highly esteemed and valued resin and incense.

Frankincense is, of course, one of the prized gifts to the baby Jesus by the Magi and was used in ancient and medieval times throughout the Middle East, Greece, Rome, other parts of Europe, and also for religious ceremonies.

Some of the ways and reasons it was burned include:

and more.

The Complete Guide to Using Frankincense Essential Oil: Benefits, Uses, Recipes, and More — All Posts Healing Harvest Homestead (3)

How Frankincense Essential Oil is Made

Frankincense resin is sometimes cultivated, and this is the type you should try to purchase. Wild-harvested frankincense, the other way of obtaining the resin, comes from wild trees, and these are extremely endangered.

One tree can only produce a pound or two of resin a year, so you can see how precious this oil is. However, if the tree is taken care of well, it can continue to produce resin for hundreds of years!

You can find out a lot more about how frankincense is harvested in this article about the frankincense tears.

Farmers use a special knife to make an incision or cut, into the trunk of the tree. This wound causes the tree to respond by excreting a sap, which are the “tears” or resin of the tree. This is a protective substance meant to heal the tree.

These drops of resin dry on the tree, and after a few days they are scraped off. They are allowed to harden even further at this point. They can be sold as small, golden resin to be burned as incense….or they can be further processed into essential oil, which is the more common use in developed countries.

**I have some opinions about this, and I’ll just say that although I do love the essential oil, I have stopped purchasing it myself to support sustainability efforts….unless I know for sure it is coming from a farm with sustainable practices. I’ll talk about this more in a moment…..

After the resin is hardened, it heads to a distillery, where they are powdered and placed in oil. At this point, the combination undergoes steam distillation or CO2 extraction. The resulting essential oil is an earthy-woodsy scented product that has become much loved in our modern times.

7 Ways You Can Easily Use Frankincense Oil for Health and Lifestyle Benefits

1) Boosts the Immune System

Did you know that burning Frankincense tears (resin) or diffusing the essential oil cleans the air and space in the room? Used aromatically (rub a drop or two into your palms, rub, and inhale deeply a few times) or topically (on your skin, neat or diluted in a carrier oil), it may help the body fight off infections as well.

I personally use Frankincense on my throat around my lymph nodes if ever I feel a sore throat or cold coming on. I believe it truly helps move the lymph and helps me heal more quickly.

2) Speeds Wound Healing & to Help Prevent Infection

There is evidence that due to the antiseptic properties of Frankincense, it helps speed up healing of wounds, including burns, scrapes, and cuts while significantly decreasing the risk of infection. You can apply it to wounds diluted in a carrier oil or you can create a salve for healing.

3) Mood Enhancer and Stress Reliever

Frankincense contains chemicals that help relieve negative feelings (including stress, anger, sadness, and more). Many people like to rub Frankincense oil on the bottoms of their feet, where not only are you getting the benefits of the scent but the chemical constituents of the oil enters your body through the (over) 200 pores in the soles of your feet.

(Find out some other great ways to deal with stress and fatigue.)

My favorite way to use Frankincense as a mood enhancer is to keep Frankincense and a carrier oil in a roll on that I keep with me all the time. I love to rub it on my temples and/or on the back of my neck where my brain stem is and breathe in the scent. I can seriously feel the positive effects immediately.

If you want to make your own roll on, it's easy! Just add between 10 and 15 drops or so of Frankincense essential Oil and fill the rest of the way with your carrier oil of choice. I like Almond Oil, Jojoba Oil, or a combination of the two.

4) Skin Health

Frankincense has been proven to help support the function of your cells, including cell turnover. It's found in high quality skin care products, but you can simply add it to your own unscented lotions and creams!

What I like to do is add one drop to my skin care cream in the evening, and smooth it over my cleansed face. I've noticed a difference in my under-eye area since doing this!

Based on my research, it can help reduce scars and stretch marks, reduce age spots, and help with wrinkles too! You may also enjoy this article on Which Essential Oils are Best for Improving Skin, Wrinkles, and Scars.

Here's how I like to use Frankincense essential oil for my skin---


After I apply my face cream, I take a drop and rub it into my face before the cream is absorbed or add it directly to the cream. It all goes in together this way!

Under Eyes:

Using the roll-on described above for stress, I actually roll a bit under my eyes one or two times throughout the day to reduce my eye wrinkles and puffiness! (I'm in my 50's, so I'm really noticing those lines these days!)


I've begun using that same roll on for the backs of my hands. I took a "before" photo of my age spots, and I'll do a couple "durings" and an "after" after a couple of weeks go by. I'm curious to see if it will really help with those ugly spots!

Scars and Stretch Marks:

I don't have a problem with scars or stretch marks, but if I did, I'd go ahead and apply Frankincense directly to the areas or if I had sensitive skin, dilute it in some carrier oil or moisturizer. I can't say if this works, but I have heard from a number of sources that it does! (See Sources listed below.)


I rub a drop or two into my cuticles once a day. I've seen a huge improvement in my fingernails since I've been doing this---especially through these past winter months of dry and cold.


Your skin is the largest organ on your body! It pays to take good care of it. I add Frankincense to both my own homemade creams and butters as well as to unscented organic creams I purchase. I love the clean fresh scent, and I love the way it makes my skin look!

NOTE: For using on my skin, I purchase my essential oils from either Rocky Mountain Oils or Starwest Botanicals. Plant Therapy also carries excellent essential oils, as does Mountain Rose Herbs.

The Complete Guide to Using Frankincense Essential Oil: Benefits, Uses, Recipes, and More — All Posts Healing Harvest Homestead (5)

The Complete Guide to Using Frankincense Essential Oil: Benefits, Uses, Recipes, and More — All Posts Healing Harvest Homestead (6)

5) Oral Health

There is evidence that Frankincense may help with oral issues such as bad breath and mouth sores. I don't want to say it can help with cavities (although I've read studies stating it can), but I don't have personal experience with this.

Place a drop or two in a small bit of water, and swish it around your mouth for a couple of minutes after brushing your teeth. You can also add a drop to your toothpaste and brush away!

If you are interested in natural dental alternatives, you will enjoy:

Natural Options for Healthy Teeth, Pain, and Infection, as well as How to Make Your Own Natural Tooth Powder (and yes, you can add Frankincense to it!)

6) Digestive Issues

Since Frankincense is a carminative, it helps with your digestion--especially with flatulence. Some people say you can add a drop or two to water, mix and drink--and this will help with digestive issues.

Frankly, I do NOT advocate adding essential oils to water or ingesting them in any way because, you know: oil and water don't mix. And…this is a direct recommendation from NAHA, the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy.

You can just rub a few drops, diluted in your carrier oil, into your stomach and abdominal area.

7) Household Cleaning

I make my own cleaning products, and I've recently begun adding Frankincense to these. Here are a couple of recipes you can make quickly that will keep your home sparkling:

How to Make Frankincense Cleaning Spray

1 cup of water

1/2 cup of vinegar (I like to infuse my vinegar with lavender flowers first, but you don't have to)

essential oils:

10 drops Lemon

10 drops Frankincense (For making cleaning products and soaps, I get my essential oils from Starwest Botanicals---also high quality, and you can buy in slightly larger quantities if you like.)

5 drops Tea Tree

Put all in a spray bottle, and give a good shake before spraying. You can use this on all surfaces EXCEPT wood. I have wood laminate flooring, and it's fine for that.

How to Make Exceptional Cleaning Soft Scrub

This is SO easy. My favorite scrub consists of using baking soda, which I liberally sprinkle where I need to, followed by a spray of vinegar (I use the spray above), then add a couple extra drops of Frankincense & Tea Tree for extra disinfecting if you want.

Why this works? The baking soda reacts with the vinegar in the spray to immediately start breaking down grease and grime. It's WAY better than using chemical scrubs like Comet, I promise! Adding extra essential oil drops just increases the power of the disinfectant action and helps even more with the dirt/grime.

The Complete Guide to Using Frankincense Essential Oil: Benefits, Uses, Recipes, and More — All Posts Healing Harvest Homestead (8)

What Other Essential Oils Blend with Frankincense Oil?

Frankincense essential oil blends well with the Citrus group (Lemon, Wild Orange, Lime) as well as Cypress, Lavender, Ylang Ylang, Clary Sage, and Geranium if you want to create a blend to diffuse! I also love blending it with Myrrh and also Patchouli.

Where Do I Get My Frankincense Essential Oil?

There are six criteria I use to ascertain if an essential oil brand is good enough for me to use with my family:

  • They use third party testing;

  • They have at least some organic options;

  • Is their an education proponent to their website;

  • Do they have a Kid-safe line or at least specify which are ok for kids to use?;

  • NOT an MLM--as I just think they are over-priced; however, with that said, MLM’s “generally” do have high quality products.

  • Are they reasonably priced but still high quality, and especially organic?

You can find out more about how I choose a good essential oil company to buy from in this article with a lot more details. I don’t think you should break your bank account to buy most essential oils, especially common ones, like lavender. However, some are just expensive. Frankincense is one of these.

Here are my favorite brands I have found that meet these criteria: Plant Therapy, Rocky Mountain Oils, and Starwest Botanicals.

I have used so many different brands of essential oils over the years. For making things that require a larger quantity of essential oil (like soap making), I order from Starwest Botanicals. They have good quality essential oils for things like this or using therapeutically as well.

This gives you a good array of quality companies that I personally vouch for to research and choose between for yourself.

The Complete Guide to Using Frankincense Essential Oil: Benefits, Uses, Recipes, and More — All Posts Healing Harvest Homestead (9)

Contraindications (Safety Factors) for Using Frankincense Oil:

When used "neat" (without dilution) Frankincense may cause skin sensitivity. This means a person may experience a rash, or have sensitization issues when using frankincense essential oil in the future.

I personally have not ever experienced skin sensitization, but I do know some people who have. Just be aware, and do a patch test if you have sensitive skin or if, after using your skin feels sensitive--dilute more. You should be using no more than a 5% dilution as an adult, and much lower for children.

Since Frankincense is an emmenagogue, please consult a physician before using if you are pregnant or nursing. Personally, I would just avoid it altogether if I were pregnant, just in case.As with all essential oils, avoid use around the eyes, ears (inside), and sensitive areas of your body.

The Complete Guide to Using Frankincense Essential Oil: Benefits, Uses, Recipes, and More — All Posts Healing Harvest Homestead (10)

Final Thoughts About Using Frankincense Essential Oil

Frankincense, after its somewhat rocky start in my early essential oil experiences, is now one of my favorite essential oils that I use daily. I love it so much, I won’t let it run out in our household! It’s wonderful to use in oils for massages, too.

And did I mention it’s perfect as an essential oil to use for meditation? Yep! It also helps clarify the mind. Anyhow, I hope you’ll give Frankincense essential oil a try. It’s a wonderful gift from the plant world.

Would you like more information about using essential oils? You'll probably also enjoy

  • How to Use Frankincense Tears for Health and Beauty

  • The Best Essential Oils for Wrinkles and Scars,

  • What is the Best Way to Diffuse Your Essential Oils,

  • INSANE Things to Know About Tea Tree Oil and Why It Should Be in Your Home (and many others on the blog).

  • VIDEO: How to Make Belly Balm for Stretch Marks & Scars

I'd love to hear what you think of Frankincense essential oil--Since this is an oil that I kind of shied away from for awhile because it was so "exotic" sounding, and I have had such great experiences with it, I'd sure like to know your thoughts about it too! Leave a comment in the comments section!

Hugs, Health, & Self-Reliance,


P.S. Please sign up for our newsletter! You also get access to the free Resource Library. Find out how to use essential oils, herbs, and start your self-reliance journey with downloadable & printable guides, eBooks, checklists, cheat sheets, and lots more! :-)

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I am not a doctor or medical professional. The statements found in the article and elsewhere on my website are in no manner, stated or implied, any type of diagnosis, treatment, cure, or prevention for any health problem. Please be sure to seek medical attention from a medical professional if you are experiencing a health issue. The statements found here are simply my own personal opinion based on experience and study. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA.

The Complete Guide to Using Frankincense Essential Oil: Benefits, Uses, Recipes, and More — All Posts Healing Harvest Homestead (12)

Resources Used and For More Information:


Heidi Villegas, MA, CA, Herbalist

essential oils for skin, essential oils for infection, frankincense essential oil, for infection, for skin care, for mental clarity


The Complete Guide to Using Frankincense Essential Oil: Benefits, Uses, Recipes, and More — All Posts Healing Harvest Homestead (2024)


How do you use frankincense oil for healing? ›

To improve circulation and lower symptoms of joint pain or muscle pain related to conditions like arthritis, digestive disorders and asthma, try massaging frankincense oil to the painful area or diffusing it in your home. You can add a drop of oil to steaming water, and soak a towel in it.

What are the benefits of frankincense essential oils? ›

It can be used to improve respiratory function, reduce stress levels, induce relaxation and improve skin health. Frankincense oil is also known for its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, making it a valuable addition to any natural health regimen.

Can frankincense heal the body? ›

Substances that occur in frankincense have a number of possible health benefits. These include controlling bleeding, speeding up the wound-healing process, improving oral health, fighting inflammatory conditions such as arthritis, and improving uterine health.

Where should you rub frankincense on your body? ›

Treat your hands and feet with a Frankincense oil massage that will have them feeling and looking rejuvenated for another active day outside. Add a couple drops to your feet and hands and massage the oil into your skin.

What happens if you apply frankincense oil directly to skin? ›

When applied to the skin: Frankincense essential oil or gum extract is possibly safe. It might cause skin irritation in some people. When inhaled: Frankincense essential oil is possibly safe. There isn't enough reliable information to know what the side effects might be.

What is 100% frankincense good for? ›

Used in aromatherapy, its sedative and comforting fragrance is believed to strengthen and invigorate the respiratory system. Frankincense essential oil contains properties that reduce feelings of anxiety, stimulate the immune system, and diminish signs of aging, among other demonstrated activities.

How do you use frankincense oil for joint pain? ›

  1. Adults and children 12 years of age and older: apply 10-30 drops into palm or hand and massage into affected areas.
  2. massage oil in hand to coat painful areas.
  3. can be used up to 4 times daily.
  4. children under 12 years of age: consult a physician.

What does frankincense do to the brain? ›

Research indicates that frankincense may have a protective effect against ischemic injury, which occurs during strokes. The anti-inflammatory and anti-apoptotic (preventing cell death) properties of certain frankincense compounds could potentially mitigate the damage caused by reduced blood flow to the brain.

Does frankincense oil help arthritis pain? ›

Therefore, it seems that topical use of frankincense extract can improve OA in terms of pain severity and joint flexibility, as well as patients' quality of life (as determined by PGA score). The biological effects of Boswellia are mainly related to boswellic acids, of which AKBA is the most important one.

What is the best carrier oil to mix with frankincense? ›

The carrier oils that can be used for frankincense are fractionated coconut oil, jojoba oil, olive oil, and sweet almond oil. Some additional carrier oils that can be used are avocado oil, macadamia nut oil, grapeseed oil, apricot kernel oil, extra virgin olive oil, and avocado oil.

What happens if you don't dilute frankincense oil? ›

By applying essential oils undiluted on the skin over time, your body can begin to trigger an immune response which can lead to sensitization. When you dilute your essential oils, you decrease the likelihood of this happening.

What did God use frankincense for? ›

Bible Facts

Frankincense was used in ancient Israelite temple worship as: An ingredient in the perfume of the sanctuary (see Exodus 30:34).

Why did Jesus get frankincense? ›

The first, referred to in the carol 'We Three Kings', interprets the gifts as symbolising three aspects of Christ's future life: gold representing kingship, frankincense (worship) and myrrh (death and mourning).

What are the side effects of Indian frankincense? ›

It usually doesn't cause major side effects. But some people have reported stomach pain, nausea, diarrhea, headache, heartburn, and itching. For information on using Boswellia serrata on the skin or as aromatherapy, see Frankincense.

What is the ratio of frankincense to carrier oil? ›

Frankincense can be applied directly to the skin and does not require dilution. However, if you have sensitive skin, you may want to dilute to be on the safe side. A great rule of thumb is a 1-4 ratio. 1 drop of oil to 4 drops carrier oil.

What do you blend frankincense oil with? ›

Frankincense oil blends well with citrus oils like Lime, Lemon, and Wild Orange, and other oils such as Cypress, Lavender, Geranium, Rose, Sandalwood, Ylang Ylang, and Clary Sage for diffusion.

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