Frankincense and its Health Benefits (based on scientific research)
Frankincense uses on health benefits come in an endless list. It was already traced back to the ancient times of religious practices and traditions of Egypt that were still kept alive today.
As we are prone to sickness and diseases due to environmental situations, Frankincense continues to provide solutions and natural remedies to heal our body, mind and soul.
This oleo-gum resin has a woody fragrant smell that keeps you relaxed and healthy as well.
Below are its health benefits based on trusted scientific researches:
1. ANTI-INFLAMMATORY BENEFITS
Frankincense, also known as Boswellia resin, is known for its anti-inflammatory effects in ulcers, bronchitis, and sinusitis. Many of these researches found that Boswellia has anti-inflammatory uses for certain diseases.
Studies show that Boswellia prevents the release and proliferation of leukotrienes that is a chemical responsible for inflammation. (1, 2) Leukotrienes are body chemicals that mostly cause asthma. When it catches an allergen in our body, it causes the release of mucus that makes it hard to breathe(3).
There were also studies that Boswellic acids of Frankincense gave inflammatory effects which were tested on animals which reduce the rat pleurisy, mouse paw edema (4).
Although Boswellia is widely known for its anti-inflammatory uses, many research have been combining it with other biochemicals (4). Many of the researchers were also studying the components of frankincense to define its anti-inflammatory effects.
Triterpene acids show in large amounts in the breakdown of frankincense that also helps in fighting the inflammation (5). These components help to interfere with neutrophils which gives the tissue-degeneration effect and inflammation (6).
However, many of these studies and claims suggest further analysis and more evidence to prove its healing elements.
Asthma may be one of the common conditions people get from pollution at work or home. It is also dangerous when not monitored quickly. With Frankincense, it can help alleviate its symptoms to feel better.
Data showed that gum resin treats asthma. A group of patients felt better from symptoms of asthma bronchial after given frankincense extracts. The risk of asthma reduced when frankincense inhaled or eaten (1). Since frankincense is easy to burn, it is only natural to use it.
There was a study on mice to verify Frankincense's effectiveness. It was able to suppress asthma in mice (7).
Moreover, research has observed that the Boswellia acids were able to inhibit LPS (lipopolysaccharide) that is a component of a bacteria (8). These bacteria bring more lung diseases such as asthma.
Articles said that Boswellia may be the natural remedy for bronchial asthma (9). With its natural and direct harvest from the tree, it may be a way to solve asthma without any artificial chemicals.
Another study suggests that Frankincense can strengthen the immune system (10). This is a beneficial way to defend against possible viruses and contaminants.
Although these studies prove its effectiveness, these studies also suggest digging evidence before recommending them to patients (11).
3. ARTHRITIS PAIN RELIEVER
Arthritis is the swelling of joints that aggravates as we get older. Furthermore, rheumatoid arthritis attacks the immune system making the joints swell and painful (12)
Frankincense may also help relieve arthritis. A study says that Boswellic acids work wonders in clinical trials of arthritis, chronic colitis, ulcerative colitis, Crohn's disease, bronchial asthma, and peritumoral brains edemas (2).
Furthermore, it can also be a supplement in knee osteoarthritis treatments to relieve its symptoms (13, 14) There are many symptoms of arthritis such as (15):
- Inflammation around the joint
- Joint pain
- Warm red skin on the affected joint
- Weakness of joints
With this, Frankincense and Myrrh suppressed the progression of arthritis through treating the inflammation symptoms (16)
The special extract of H15 from Boswellia serrata is effective in treating rheumatoid arthritis. (17, 18)
Further investigation and evidence are required before undertaking this treatment. Please consult your therapist for the usage of the resin.
4. MAY FIGHT CANCER AND REDUCE TUMOR
According to MedlinePlus.gov, a tumor is an abnormal growth of body tissue. Tumors can be cancerous (malignant) or noncancerous (benign).
Meanwhile, “cancer is the name given to a collection of related diseases. In all types of cancer, some of the body’s cells begin to divide without stopping and spread into surrounding tissues” (19)
Frankincense is usually associated with anti-cancer and reduction of tumors effect. Though lots of studies have been made, most of them suggests for deeper investigation and analysis of the frankincense work.
A study stated that Boswellia extract was given to patients with astrocytomas and gliablastomas before the surgical removal of the tumors (20)
Furthermore, experiments of Boswellia extracts on mice and rats with tumors showed a longer lifeline than expected. The study also agreed that it showed improvement in conquering the symptoms but the tumor was not reduced in size (21)
On cancer cells, some studies prove it suppresses cancer cells and recommended for alternative therapy for bladder cancer (22)
Moreover, Boswellia sacra were able to suppress human cancer cell lines. But the researchers said that the chemical components responsible for the suppression are still undefined (23)
Nevertheless, it is worth taking note that Frankincense may help with tumors and cancer but it does not completely get rid of them. This research suggests more investigation on the matter.
Supplemented with a fragrance of woody sensation, it carries its ancestral medication and natural healing properties for the body, mind, and soul. We need pure treatment to clash out negative vibes, diseases, and stress to live up to our life.
Frankincense gives a lot of benefits backed up with research. Some of its health uses are for inflammation, asthma, arthritis, and cancer.
Please, note that this is based on research article gathering and does not replace conventional medical therapies. This is for informational use and was not reviewed by FDA.
- Al-Harassi, A., Hussain, H., Csuk, R., & Yar Khan, H. (n.d.). Chemistry and bioactivity of boswellic acids and other terpenoids of the genus Boswellia. Amsterdam: Elsevier.
- (n.d.). Retrieved January 11, 2021, from https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/arthritis/
- Al-Yasiry, A. R., & Kiczorowska, B. (2016). Frankincense – therapeutic properties. Postępy Higieny I Medycyny Doświadczalnej, 70, 380-391. doi:10.5604/17322693.1200553
- Arthritis. (2019, July 19). Retrieved January 11, 2021, from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/arthritis/symptoms-causes/syc-20350772
- Badria, F. A., Mohammed, E. A., El-Badrawy, M. K., & El-Desouky, M. (2004). Natural Leukotriene Inhibitor from Boswellia:A Potential New Alternative for Treating Bronchial Asthma. Alternative and Complementary Therapies, 10(5), 257-265. doi:10.1089/act.2004.10.257
- Bannuru, R. R., Osani, M. C., Al-Eid, F., & Wang, C. (2018). Efficacy of curcumin and Boswellia for knee osteoarthritis: Systematic review and meta-analysis. Seminars in Arthritis and Rheumatism, 48(3), 416-429. doi:10.1016/j.semarthrit.2018.03.001
- Bouayed, J., & Bohn, T. (2012). Nutrition, Well-Being and Health. InTech.
- Efferth, T., & Greten, H. J. (2011). Anti-Inflammatory and Anti-Cancer Activity of Boswellic Acids from Frankincense (Boswellia serrata Roxb. et Colebr, B. carterii Birdw.). Forum on Immunopathological Diseases and Therapeutics, 2(4), 303-313. doi:10.1615/forumimmundisther.2012004432
- Etzel R. Special extract of BOSWELLIA serrata (H 15) in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. Phytomedicine. 1996 May;3(1):91-4. doi: 10.1016/S0944-7113(96)80019-5. PMID: 23194870.
- Frank, M. B., Yang, Q., Osban, J., Azzarello, J. T., Saban, M. R., Saban, R., Lin, H. (2009). Frankincense oil derived from Boswellia carteri induces tumor cell specific cytotoxicity. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 9(1). doi:10.1186/1472-6882-9-6
- Gerhardt H, Seifert F, Buvari P, Vogelsang H, Repges R. Therapie des aktiven Morbus Crohn mit dem Boswellia-serrata-Extrakt H 15 [Therapy of active Crohn disease with Boswellia serrata extract H 15]. Z Gastroenterol. 2001 Jan;39(1):11-7. German. doi: 10.1055/s-2001-10708. PMID: 11215357.
- Henkel, A., Kather, N., Mönch, B., Northoff, H., Jauch, J., & Werz, O. (2012). Boswellic acids from frankincense inhibit lipopolysaccharide functionality through direct molecular interference. Biochemical Pharmacology, 83(1), 115-121. doi:10.1016/j.bcp.2011.09.026
- P. (2016). Boswellic Acids and Their Role in Chronic Inflammatory Diseases. Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology Anti-inflammatory Nutraceuticals and Chronic Diseases, 291-327. doi:10.1007/978-3-319-41334-1_13
- Irwin Ziment, Donald P. Tashkin, Alternative medicine for allergy and asthma, Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, Volume 106, Issue 4, 2000, Pages 603-614,
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- Koeberle, A., Henkel, A., Verhoff, M., Tausch, L., König, S., Fischer, D., . . . Werz, O. (2018). Triterpene Acids from Frankincense and Semi-Synthetic Derivatives That Inhibit 5-Lipoxygenase and Cathepsin G. Molecules, 23(2), 506. doi:10.3390/molecules23020506
- Lee, H., Kim, K., & Kang, S. (2010). The Effect of Nebulized Frankincense Essential Oil in an OVA-Induced Allergic Asthma Mouse Model [Abstract]. Microbiology and Biotechnology Letters, 38(1), 93-104.
- Leukotriene Modifiers and Allergies. (2019, October 23). Retrieved January 11, 2021, from https://www.webmd.com/allergies/leukotriene#:~:text=Leukotrienes%20are%20inflammatory%20chemicals%20the,of%20excess%20mucus%20and%20fluid.
- Mikhaeil, B. R., Maatooq, G. T., Badria, F. A., & Amer, M. M. (2003). Chemistry and Immunomodulatory Activity of Frankincense Oil. Zeitschrift Für Naturforschung C, 58(3-4), 230-238. doi:10.1515/znc-2003-3-416
- Ni, X., Suhail, M. M., Yang, Q., Cao, A., Fung, K., Postier, R. G., . . . Lin, H. (2012). Frankincense essential oil prepared from hydrodistillation of Boswellia sacra gum resins induces human pancreatic cancer cell death in cultures and in a xenograft murine model. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 12(1). doi:10.1186/1472-6882-12-253
- Siemoneit U, Koeberle A, Rossi A, Dehm F, Verhoff M, Reckel S, Maier TJ, Jauch J, Northoff H, Bernhard F, Doetsch V, Sautebin L, Werz O. Inhibition of microsomal prostaglandin E2 synthase-1 as a molecular basis for the anti-inflammatory actions of boswellic acids from frankincense. Br J Pharmacol. 2011 Jan;162(1):147-62. doi: 10.1111/j.1476-5381.2010.01020.x. PMID: 20840544; PMCID: PMC3012413.
- Su, S., Duan, J., Chen, T., Huang, X., Shang, E., Yu, L., . . . Tang, Y. (2015). Frankincense and myrrh suppress inflammation via regulation of the metabolic profiling and the MAPK signaling pathway. Scientific Reports, 5(1). doi:10.1038/srep13668
- Verhoff, M., Seitz, S., Paul, M., Noha, S. M., Jauch, J., Schuster, D., & Werz, O. (2014). Tetra- and Pentacyclic Triterpene Acids from the Ancient Anti-inflammatory Remedy Frankincense as Inhibitors of Microsomal Prostaglandin E2Synthase-1. Journal of Natural Products, 77(6), 1445-1451. doi:10.1021/np500198g
- What Is Cancer? (n.d.). Retrieved January 11, 2021, from https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/understanding/what-is-cancer