A man harvests Frankincence on the Frankincense Trail.

Frankincense: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow

Of all the essential oils, distilled from all the plants in all the world, perhaps the most beneficial for health and wellness is Frankincense.

The first documented use of Frankincense is found in the Bible when God instructed Moses to use Frankincense mixed with three spices to make a “holy incense” (Exodus 20:34). According to most historians, this would date Frankincense use to over 7500 years ago!

Frankincense is mentioned 22 times in the Bible alone and more in Babylonian and other ancient texts.  Incense mixtures that include Frankincense are mentioned in the Bible 136 times. Of all these mentions, Frankincense’s claim to fame in the ancient world may be that the Magi thought it important and valuable enough to give as a gift to the Christ child (Matthew 2:11).

Frankincense is a compound word meaning “pure smoke” that comes to English from Old French. The ancients, as some Arabian people-groups still do today, burned Frankincense resin for its medicinal effects. In addition, they would drape their clothes over the Frankincense smoke at night to remove pests they had accumulated during the day. And during the day they would do the same with their bedding.

Burned Frankincense resin has a pungent, yet pleasant aroma that quickly fills a large room or even an entire house. We burn Frankincense resin in our home 15 minutes each morning and 15 minutes each night to receive the same benefit as the ancients. But to receive even greater benefits, we apply Young Living Frankincense essential oil topically and take it orally.

There are 42 species of Frankincense and only two species contain the two most beneficial compounds. Young Living researched all species of Frankincense and found that boswillia carteri from northeast Africa, distilled by Young Living as Frankincense, and boswillia sacra from Oman, distilled in Young Living distillery in Oman as Sacred Frankincense, contain the two most desired compounds, boswillic acid and incensole. Recent studies indicate boswillic acid and incensole are effective in many health and wellness applications.

Dr. Mahmoud Suhail from Oman, reported in one study (abstract with link to complete study in references below):

“Cancer starts when the DNA code within the cell’s nucleus becomes corrupted. It seems frankincense has a re-set function. It can tell the cell what the right DNA code should be… Frankincense separates the ‘brain’ of the cancerous cell – the nucleus – from the ‘body’ – the cytoplasm, and closes down the nucleus to stop it reproducing corrupted DNA codes.”

It is important to note that Dr. Suhail lives and works in Oman. Oman has the lowest incidence of cancer in the world. There is such a low rate of cancer in Oman, they have no cancer wards. In all his years practicing medicine in Oman, Dr. Suhail has seen only 4 cancer patients, and all those patients had lived outside Oman.

Doctor Hsueh-Kung Lin of the University of Oklahoma agrees (abstract with link to complete study in references below):

“Frankincense oil can discriminate bladder cancer cells and normal urothelial cells in culture. The oil suppresses cell survival and induces apoptosis in cultured bladder cancer cells.”

Dr. Lin concludes:

“Frankincense oil may represent an inexpensive alternative therapy for patients currently suffering from bladder cancer.”

In other words, according to one study, Frankincense kills the cancer cells and ignores the normal cells. Effective without side effects.

These are just two of 198 scientific papers posted on pubmed.gov describing the health effects of Frankincense oils and resins. It is interesting to note that all these studies have a common denominator. They all use Young Living Frankincense because it is the only essential oil that has the highest quality in every bottle.

So what do some of these other studies say about health and wellness applications of Frankincense?  More than I could possibly list here, but a brief scan of the abstracts referenced below and you’ll begin to grasp the powerful potential of Frankincense!  And the clinical research on the efficacy of Young Living’s therapeutic-grade Frankincense continues to grow.

It may have taken 7500 years for science to begin to understand the powerful healing properties of this amazing essential oil, but we believe Frankincense has always been intended for the “healing of the nations” (Revelation 22:2). Perhaps now you can understand how we can say, “Of all the essential oils, distilled from all the plants, in all the world, perhaps the most beneficial for health and wellness is Frankincense.”


  • Mahmoud M Suhail, et al., “Boswellia sacra essential oil induces tumor cell-specific apoptosis and suppresses tumor aggressiveness in cultured human breast cancer cells.”
  • MB Frank, Q Yang, HK Lin, et al., “Frankincense oil derived from Boswellia carteri induces tumor cell specific toxicity,” BMC Complement Altern Med. 2009 Mar 18;9:6.
  • T. Akihista, et al., “Cancer chemopreventive effects and cytotoxic activities of the triterpene acids from the resin of Boswellia carteri,” Biol Pharm Bull. 2006 Sep;29(9):1976–9.
  • M. Chevrier, et al., “Boswellia carteri Extract Inhibits TH1 Cytokines and Promotes TH2 Cytokines in Vitro,” Clin Diagn Lab Immunol. 2005 May ;12(5):575–89.
  • Juliet Highet, “Frankincense: Oman’s Gift to the World.” Prestel Publishing, 2006. 66.
  •  EJ Blain, et al., “Boswellia frereana (Frankincense) Suppresses Cytokine-Induced Matrix Metalloproteinase Expression and Production of Pro- 
Inflammatory Molecules in Articular Cartilage,” Phytotherapy Research, 4:905-912 (2010).
  • A. Frank, M. Unger, “Analysis of frankincense from various Boswellia species with inhibitory activity on human drug metabolizing cytochrome 
P450 enzymes using liquid chromatography mass spectrometry after utomated on-line extraction,” Journal of Chromatography A. 1112 
(2006) 255–262.
  •  F. Nigel Hepper, “Arabian and African Frankincense Trees,” Journal of Egyptian Archaeology. Vol. 55, (Aug., 1969), pp. 66–72.
  • M. Thulin, A.M. Warfa, “The frankincense trees (Boswellia spp., Burseraceae) of northern Somalia and southern Arabia,” Kew Bulletin. Vol. 42, 
No. 3 (1987), pp. 487–500.
  • A. Moussaieff, et al., “Incensole acetate, an incense component, elicits psychoactivity by activating TRPV3 channels in the brain,” The FASB 
Journal. 2008 Aug;22(8):3024–34.