Frankincense in Ayurveda and Aromatherapy
Since ancient times, frankincense has been highly valued as a sacred incense and herbal medicine. It is an aromatic resin from trees of the Boswellia species that has been burned as an incense to purify the atmosphere since time immemorial in temples, churches, and for sacred rituals. Its smoke is also believed to ward off bad spirits and sickness, and to carry prayers to the Divine. A secondary benefit to burning the resin is that it acts as a natural insect repellent.
Boswellia serrata, a species found in India’s states Rajastan and Madhya Pradesh, is known as salai guggulu. It is traditionally used in Ayurvedic medicine to treat arthritis, promote circulation, and prevent the degeneration of cartilage in the joints. It is frequently combined with other herbs such as turmeric and ginger as a general anti inflammatory for muscles and joints. Modern research shows that it contains boswellic acid and in moderate doses has anti inflammatory, anti-cancer, and hepatoprotective properties, and therefore may be helpful in the treatment of rheumatism, colitis, asthma, and cancer.
It has a sattwic, or purifying effect on the mind and nervous system, and helps to burn impurities from the nadis (subtle nerve channels). It can be used in herbal formulas along with other herbs that have an affinity to the mind and nervous system like gotu kola and calamus root as an aid to meditation.
The essential oil has a woody, sweet, and slightly citrus or