A Brief History of Frankincense
Frankincense is a sacred resin in Africa, collected from a sacred tree – the Boswellia genus – that grows almost exclusively in Oman, in Yemen in Africa and in India. It is said to improve willpower, confidence, determination and the ability to lead, and has been an integral part of Omani culture for centuries. So treasured was this precious incense of the Persian civilisation that the local people would warn outsiders of dangers such as ‘flying snakes’ in order to keep them away. It was that closely guarded.
We all know that Frankincense is one of the gifts the Three Wise Men come bearing in the story of Christmas, and it is said that the Queen of Sheba dispatched a boatload of frankincense from Taqah port (a once prosperous port) as a gift to Prophet Solomon (son of David). Frankincense was also used in worship throughout the Middle East and traded since 3000BC. It was when Frankincense arrived in China that it began to be used in medicine. In ancient times the Frankincense Trail was considered to be the most important commercial route throughout southern Arabia and the value of Frankincense was at least equal to, if not greater, than that of Gold!
It is still used in important ceremonies including religious festivals, and frankincense also remains a symbol of hospitality in Omani culture. It’s one of the primary ingredients used by Oman’s legendary perfume house, Amouage, one of the most expensive lines of fragrance in the world.
Frankincense for Beauty, Body and Mind
Frankincense is used in beauty products for several reasons. First and foremost it has excellent regeneration properties and encourages healthy cell turnover. It helps to improve both the tone and texture of the skin. It’s also an astringent, which means it helps to balance out oil/sebum in the skin and address any excess dryness or oiliness. Finally, Frankincense helps to fade scarring and stretch marks and diminish spots and acne.
Frankincense is commonly used by aromatherapists as it helps to calm the mind and instil positivity. It can help with depression and may also aid boost energy levels. Frankincense may also help control rage, in case we have any really angry readers!
When it comes to the body, Frankincense is great for easing muscular pain and is incredibly beneficial for those with rheumatic conditions. When applied topically it promotes healthy blood circulation, bringing nutrients to the affected area. When taken internally, Frankincense is a known anti-inflammatory agent and works synergistically with Turmeric.
My Favourite Frankincense Products
To celebrate my love of Frankincense I have put together this post of my favourite Frankincense products. I use Frankincense products more or less every day, and if you haven’t tried some I suggest you do! From left to right –
I love burning this incense on charcoal. It’s great to do so at the end of the day when you get home to leave any stresses of the day behind, and also before going to sleep to help calm and balance the mind.
Next up in the cardboard packets are some different types of Frankincense I bought from the Frankincense Man at Camden market. You can find out all about The Frankincense Man and The Frankincense Store here
. Shahbaz, aka The Frankincense Man, is a really lovely approachable guy. If you have any questions he’ll be able to help you out, and he knows his Frankincense like nobody else! I highly recommend paying a visit whenever you’re in Camden!
Natural Empathy Shea Indulgence
Award-winning product! This rich cream from Natural Empathy, Shea Indulgence Body Butter, won the Biteable Beauty Best Of award for Best Lotion. It feels so creamy and luxurious as you scoop it out. There are high levels of shea butter in the product to help nourish and care for dry skin, but it’s very easily absorbed and a little goes a long way! Along with Frankincense this formula also contains Myrrh, both of which promote healthy cell regeneration, and citrus oils of Sweet Orange and Lemon. Rich in vitamin C, these help to support collagen production as well as detoxify the skin and brighten.
Next up, I couldn’t do a post on Frankincense without mentioning the stupendous range of products from Neal’s Yard Remedies. If you are a beauty buff and you’ve not tried any of the Frankincense collection from them, get your order in now! If I had to choose one product to start with it would be the Face Oil, but they are all really great products. I can’t wait to try the Frankincense Intense product from the range. I have a few trial sachets to put to the test before I invest, I’ll let you know how I get on with these! This line of products is suitable for pretty much all skin types – down to the clever combination of ingredients to balance oil whilst hydrating and moisturising dry areas.
This little beauty is a gorgeously rich cleanser which leaves skin feeling softer, smoother and refreshed. It’s of creamy texture and when massaged onto a damp face one cannot help but succumb to the rejuvenating feeling for skin and soul of Frankincense. The product comes with a free organic muslin cloth, which I always welcome as mine always seem to go missing in the wash! The gentle exfoliating action of the cloth along with the product help to refine and bring smoothness to the skin.
Along with Frankincense to tone and firm the skin, there is brightening Apricot Oil, sebum-balancing Jojoba, antioxidant and essential fatty acid-rich organic Baobab and intensely moisturising Cocoa Butter in Neal’s Yard Remedies Rejuvenating Frankincense Refining Cleanser.
This is a beautiful blend of skin-loving ingredients, mostly oils including hydrating Macadamia Oil, anti-wrinkle Evening Primrose Oil, omega fatty acid-rich Hemp Seed Oil and super antioxidant rich Grape Seed Oil, along with anti-inflammatory Turmeric Root Extract and pure vitamin E. The product has been proven in clinical trials to moisturise for up to 12 hours. This oil is super for boosting radiance and circulation to the skin, after use your skin has a lovely healthy glow to it.
This was the first product I tried in the Frankincense range from Neal’s Yard and it switched me on to trying more! A great introduction to the range.
Available from nealsyardremedies.com Neal’s Yard Remedies Rejuvenating Frankincense Facial Oil
This is a gorgeous light and refreshing toner, which helps rejuvenate and bring radiance to the skin. It’s also been dermatologically tested and is suitable for use on sensitive skin. Along with Frankincense there’s Calendula to encourage cell renewal, strengthening Gotu Kola, hydrating Aloe Vera and moisture boosting Hyaluronic Acid.
Last up, with have the pure Frankincense Essential Oil from Neal’s Yard Remedies
Boswellia carterii, steam distilled from resin extracted from the bark of the tree. I love burning this oil in a burner, it blends incredibly well with citrus notes such as lemon and grapefruit, woody notes and spices.
Available from nealsyardremedies.com Neal’s Yard Remedies Frankincense Essential Oil
What’s your favourite Frankincense product? I’d love to hear your Frankincense Favourites!