I’m amazed at the stuff people rub on their skin. A quick glance at the list of ingredients makes you reel back in horror, as you wonder: ‘Why? How can you stand those things on your body?’
And, my God, the smell of those creams.
We consume these perfumed and flavored creams and lotions daily. Big Pharma makes grand claims about anti-aging and a wrinkle-free future you, so we bombard our skin with petrochemicals and leave our kidneys to deal with the mess.
But, I get it.
Maybe you know about all the scandals and pyramid schemes in the essential oil trade. You might have heard about the cutting and mixing going on in the aromatherapy industry, and so that skeptic in your head starts to wonder… and tells you to put your trust in the chemical conglomerates instead. Surely, they’ve done their research.
Some people only learn, come to believe or trust, through experience. I’m one of those people. And when it comes to essential oils, I’m sold.
I’ve had too many direct experiences with different aromatics that have helped me to believe otherwise. It’s why I carry oud on the plane with me and why I dab drops of sandalwood oil around the necks of my kids when I put them to bed. It’s what made me offer frankincense oil and resin on my website…
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We were in Oman to meet frankincense farmers, and I had just acquired a small stash of top-notch Hojari oil. (I’ll explain what ‘top-notch’ means in a bit.)
The problem with scouting around Oman is that my skin can’t withstand the sun rays. Topless, the sun will burn blisters on my shoulders in no time.
And that’s what happened one day when I thought I’d stock up Vitamin D. I lost track of time and found my arms and shoulders blood red and all these brown spots had formed on my skin. I panicked and wondered how I’d feel, and how my skin would look, the next day. First thing I did when I reached the hotel room is lather myself in my new Hojari oil. I felt an immediate cooling effect — and despite the agony, I smelled FANTASTIC.
I’ve had sunburn leave marks before and was expecting the same the next day — and more marks in the coming days. But… nothing. The brown marks were gone, the redness drastically subsided, and I felt no tightness of the skin as you normally would the day after, nor did I feel any burn. No lotion would have had the same results — I know from past experience. I saw it. I felt it. The healing effect frankincense is famous for proved itself overnight.
I knew this was for real, and I made up my mind to share the same oil I had used myself that night with you (and launched it on the website). But it didn’t end with the oil.
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When I got back to Amman, our office became a frankincense smoke fest. Instead of tea, we drank healing water and chewed the luban gum as we worked. I ended up selling the oil and the resin.
We continued drinking it day in day out. Dissolving the gum in water, dripping drops of oil in tea, and I infused some of the Hojari oil with argan oil, which is still my daily face lotion. I hear from people about how the oil relieved their pain. A friend tried it and came back to buy more Hojari oil for his mom. The Doc got some gum for his kids to chew on instead of sugary treats. It wasn’t just me.
I tell you, even if I never saw the benefits and there weren’t scores of people around the world reporting the same effects I experience, I’d keep using raw frankincense anyway — just for the taste and the smell of it.
And even if I didn’t have firsthand experience, current scientific research into why frankincense has such a crazy long history in healing traditions across cultures and countries and times sure gets you thinking there’s something to the wisdom passed down over millennia — why frankincense has stood the test of time.
There are different kinds of frankincense: carterii, frereana, serrata, etc. I’ve delved into them all, but I focus on and prefer Boswelia Sacra for both medicinal and olfactory purposes.
Like Kruger often says, “for something to taste like this, it’s got to be good for you.’ Be it bitter gourd or betel nut, your taste buds can pick up the medicine — and tells you that frankincense is packed with all sorts of goodness.
In scientific terms, frankincense contains diterpenes and monoterpenes (incl. alpha- and beta-pinene), sesquiterpenes, actanol, octyl acetate, d-limonene, bornyl acetate, incensole, sabinene, esters, incensyl acetate, and of course Boswelic acid and linalool.
- When talking about quality, it’s the purity of the tears and the concentration of the healing compounds that make the difference. That’s why ‘lower’ grade gum doesn’t have the same tasty twang as ‘high’ grade Hojari tears. It’s why lower grade resin smells overly earthy compared to the pristine citrus aroma of high-grade gum – because you’re heating pieces of wood and dirt admixed with gum that also contain less of the compounds that release the delicious citrus notes.
Frankincense has been under the spotlight recently because of its anti-cancer properties. I know that ‘anti-cancer’ is a loaded term and gets used a lot, so you can instead take it to mean that frankincense has all-round benefit in complex ways – from antioxidants to gut-cleansing properties.
Frankincense is a superior alternative to the facial creams you buy in the cosmetic aisles in every way, for men or women. Its not harsh, is packed with healing compounds, and is not derived from petrol nor does it contain the same stuff they use at the dry cleaners that come with ‘WARNING: TOXIC’ labels all over the drum.
The slightly narcotic compounds found in the tears explain why the scent or taste of frankincense causes a shift in thinking, calms your nerves, and can change your mood pretty fast – i.e. why frankincense has a good rap in meditation circles.
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I’m as eager to share these fragrant oils and tears with you as I am wearing, heating and drinking them myself.
On top of the healing benefits, frankincense makes a fantastic perfumery ingredient. I’ve just added Mavera Sacra to the new Sultan Leather Attar formula, and frankincense features in healthy measure in several of my perfumes.
You don’t only have the choice of oil — what about frankincense water for the ‘aqua’ required in any perfume? The hydrosol can spice up your composition very nicely.
We recently had a look at a number of articles that have been published in the likes of the New York Times and the science journal Nature about The End of Frankincense. Over-tapping is a major problem, just like premature harvesting poses a massive problem in agarwood cultivation, and explains why the future of both is at risk. And that’s why there’s a lot of cutting and diluting going on, and why many complain about the lack of quality frankincense going around.
How to use frankincense and a few of its benefits:
- Add a drop in water (a single drop is usually enough) to drink.
- Use it in toothpaste, to rinse your gums, or gargle it straight up. Frankincense helps with oral hygiene because it’s antiseptic (that’s why people also apply it to sores like you do lemon balm).
- Dissolve the gum in water, leave overnight in the fridge, drink the next day. You can even chew the gum after. Drinking it first thing in the morning is great, but it’s equally refreshing later in the day when it acts as a tonic.
- Pregnant and breastfeeding women should avoid using it.
- Message the oil into your skin for a facial, or apply topically to treat dryness, stretch marks, sun spots, or wrinkles.
- Helps heals cuts and prevent scars and blemishes.
- Rub into your muscles for pain relief.
- Chew or suck the gum until it dissolves (this is probably the quickest way to ingest the Boswelic acid).
- The astringent properties help your skin, gums, and why many swear by it as a hair treatment, especially related to hair loss or thinning.
- Women across antiquity praised it for regulating menstruation. In modern terms: frankincense helps control estrogen production.
- Reduces respiratory irritation. Helps treat coughing, nasal congestion, and sinus issues.
Frankincense is non-toxic by nature, and our frankincense oils are obviously free from additives and not admixed with any carriers, so it’s at 100% concentration.
Receive a free 20 gr packet of Omani Luban (unreleased) when you order any two bottles of frankincense oil.
To claim your free packet, simply write “Omani Luban” in the comments section during checkout.