Health Benefits of

Frankincense

Frankincense is an aromatic resin derived from the trees of Boswellia species commonly found in Indian, African, and Middle Eastern regions. The healing properties of this resin have been employed for the treatment of different health ailments in ancient Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine. [1]The topical benefits of frankincense are listed down below.  

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Frankincense Improves Blood Flow

Frankincense facilitates blood flow of the skin and improves the drainage of drugs, toxins, and other substances through the dermal capillaries. Frankincense also enhances the permeability of the transdermal barrier to different drugs and facilitates the absorption of these drugs into the skin and underlying blood vessels. [2]

Antimicrobial Property of Frankincense

Frankincense has a high content of monoterpene hydrocarbons which have antimicrobial activity. The terpenes have bactericidal and bacteriostatic properties which enable them to prevent bacterial infections without eliciting resistance among different species of bacteria. [3]

Frankincense for Skin Cancer

Frankincense also has antiproliferative and anticancer properties. A study studies the use of frankincense oil for basal cell carcinoma of the chest and arm for a period of four months. The histopathological analysis after the treatment demonstrated resolution of carcinoma on the chest while residual carcinoma was found on the arm. [4

Frankincense is a Permeability Enhancer

Frankincense alters the permeability of the transdermal barrier of the skin for effective transdermal delivery of therapeutic drugs. The underlying mechanism includes changes in the conformation of transdermal barrier lipid content and keratin filaments. Frankincense also increases the fluidity of lipid bilayer. These actions increase the permeability and reduce the function of the transdermal skin barrier for effective transport and distribution of drugs. [5]

Anti-Inflammatory Property of Frankincense

Boswellic acids found in the resinous part of frankincense are responsible for the anti-inflammatory properties of this aromatic resin. Boswellic acids hinder the activity of 5-lipoxygenase and reduce the formation of inflammatory mediators. Moreover, terpenes such as alpha-pinene and linalool also have anti-inflammatory effects by suppressing the activity of cyclooxygenase 2. Frankincense is an essential substance for alleviating inflammation. It also shows improvement when used for the treatment of ear inflammation. [6]

Analgesic Activity of Frankincense

Boswellic acid of frankincense inhibits 5-lipooxygenase and reduces the production of inflammatory mediators that modulate pain. Frankincense elevates the pain threshold and makes an individual less susceptible to pain and chronic inflammation. [6]

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Figure 2 A study comprising of patients treated for inguinal hernia compares the effects of fenugreek dermal patch, diclofenal dermal patch, and the placebo group on the overall pain score. As shown in the figure, fenugreek reduces pain more effectively. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30721143/