Latin:  Boswellia carterii

Family:  Burseraceae

Parts Used:  Resin of tree

Taste/Energetics:  Bitter, Sweet, pungent, gently warming

Properties:  Antimicrobial. anti-inflammatory, analgesic, vulnerary, circulatory stimulant

Actions:  I really had a chance to understand this herb best when I took a workshop with noted herbal distiller Dan Riegler.  In the process of distilling of frankincense resin to turn it into a hydrosol and an essential oil, Ziegler talked about his experiences travelling to Africa to procure this resin at its source.  The taste of the hydrosol and the smell of that aroma was like nothing else- heady, rich, complicated, calming and enlivening.  Deeply affecting, especially after seeing it be freshly made by a master.

Frankincense has a long history of usage dating back to antiquity.  As the resin of a tree, it has long been converted into incense and the Bible notes it was one of the three gifts the wisemen brought Jesus at his birth.  Frankincense originally was traded by North Africans over 5000 years and it has been used medicinally as an analgesic and anti-inflammatory for arthritis and general pain, for wound healing and to bolster the immune system. Its ability to stimulate circulation and as an inflammatory make it very useful for asthma, bronchitis, IBS, Chron’s and “cold, damp pain”.    Some of its key constituents include its boswellic acids, with substantial research showing anti-tumor properties.

It has long been used as an aromatic for religious rituals such as Catholic Mass and to promote good health and fortune (Ayurveda).  Today it is commonly used as an essential oil in aromatherapy for its ability to enhance prayer, meditation, to relax and calm the nervous system and to strengthen cognitive clarity and acuity.   This is deep rich medicine for the soul and really helpful for those who feel dark and confused at a soul level.

Dose:    1-2 tsp in standard decoction, 1-3 ml in tincture to 2 x/day .  Standard essential oil usage.

Contraindications:   Avoid during pregnancy