Audio: Frankincense and Sacred Frankincense, Gifts of Antiquity

Young Living Frankincense Oil

Hello again, and welcome to this edition of Young Living’s Audio Education Series. I’m Scott Johnson, Young Living’s Director of Global Education and U.S. Sales. Today I’m very excited to be joined by members of our Scientific Advisory Council including…

  • Dr. Alishia Alibhai
  • Dr. Ellen Shander
  • Dr. H.K. Lin
  • Dr. Cole Woolley

Today we’re going to talk about two of our most prized oils that hundreds of thousands of people have relied on to achieve optimal wellness. We’re talking about Frankincense and Sacred Frankincense; and I want to get right into the discussion of what is the difference between the two species. I’m glad we have Dr. Woolley here who has been integral in finding the difference between these two species. Dr. Woolley, can you explain to us a little about the differences in them?

Frankincense Essential Oil

Dr. Woolley: I’d be happy to. When Gary Young has traveled throughout Africa and India and the Arabian Peninsula looking for different Frankincense trees and species and the resins that come from these trees to distill into essential oils, he first found Boswellia carteri that‘s grown in Somalia. That’s eastern Africa. The he traveled throughout Oman and Yemen to be able to search for the prized Frankincense that they had there, which is the highest value Frankincense. That species was known as Boswellia sacra. That’s where we get the sacred Frankincense. When we originally looked at the two essential oils, we thought, “Wow, they look very similar, they have somewhat of a similar aroma; and when we analyzed them further by capillary GCMS, we were able to find that they were very distinct in terms of their left hand molecule and right hand molecule orientation and composition. For instance, there’s alpha pinene. Instead of it having just one form, it actually has a left hand and a right hand form. In Boswellia sacra, the species from Oman, we found has a higher content of the positive alpha pinene whereas the negative alphapinene is more dominant in the carteri. That’s just our first initial determination, so we wrote a research paper. You can look it up on Google Scholar or pubmed. What we showed there was that the species are most likely very different, possibly related because their essential oil components are different. That’s all related to the enzymes that produce the essential oil molecules. So, the enzymes that are found in Boswellia carteri from Africa and Boswellia sacra from Arabia are different and produce a composition of essential oil that is very unique in each place. So, we’re really happy to have both Frankincense and Sacred Frankincense.

Scott: It’s really unique, and Young is the only company that has both species. So, it’s great to be able to identify the differences and know how to use each one. Now, there’s lots of beneficial compounds found in Frankincense, such as Boswellic acids and incensole acetate, di-lymanine and sesquiterpene. Can you tell us a little bit more about those as well?

Sacred Frankincense Essential Oil

Dr. Woolley: Yeah, both Frankincense and Sacred Frankincense in their resin form contain about 22%-25% Boswellic acid. When we distill the resin into the essential oil, we get about 1%-3% Boswellic acid. Now, many people have said that when you distill the essential oil, you don’t get up to a high enough boiling point to be able to get these large molecules across. Well, we’ve analyzed our essential oils by HPLC; and we find that in both essential oils, we have about 1%-3% Boswellic acid. Boswellic acids come in six, one we actually found a seventh…seven different forms; so that’s very unique, too that we have Boswellic acids in there. Some people have said that it’s very controversial; but we know from the analysis that it’s there. The other bio-molecules that are very bio-active are the sesquiterpenes and sesquiterpene oxygenated compounds including incensole. These sesquiterpenes and also larger molecules called di-terpenes are very active in promoting really good cellular health. If somebody wants to maintain their health and not have any cellular problems with DNA, then they need to be able to utilize this. We’ll talk about different applications; but women tend to really enjoy Frankincense a lot on their bodies, especially their breasts. It’s very helpful in helping with healthy cells throughout a person’s lifetime. That’s about it.

Dr Lin: Boswellic acid is very important. It’s important to be there in essential oil form even though the content of Boswellic acid low – 1%-3% based on the description from Dr. Woolley. We also in our application indicate that distillation time and temperature will change the ratio of Boswellic acid content in essential oil a longer time or higher temperature by increasing Boswellic acid may not be necessary. That’s the reason why we strongly agree with Gary Young’s statement that multiple compounds within essential oil are important in terms of helping health conditions. It can be translated to pre-clinical model; and that’s the same thing that happened there. Can it be translated to human cases? That we don’t know yet; but Dr. Suhail has a lot of cases over there in Arab countries. So we don’t know. He probably will be able to provide more information from his cases.

Scott: What I see when I’m looking a Frankincense and the molecules we’re talking about and the compounds we’re finding is so many of these can actually influence the normal cell cycle and aid that process so that you have your cells working through the cycle when they’re supposed to, and choosing to die without harming their neighboring cells when they’re supposed to. So, I will open this up to the group. Is it also been found in the literature that Frankincense plays a role or influences the body’s inflammatory response?

Dr. Woolley: We have unpublished research that we’re working on with Boswellic acid from both Sacred Frankincense, from that species Boswellia sacra and Boswellia carteri that show great potential in terms of dealing with inflammation, promoting proper joint mobility, and reduction of general swelling from normal joint discomfort.

Scott: So really a lot of exciting findings are coming as we continue to research Frankincense and find out exactly how it is affecting the body at the cellular level and in many different body processes that really will benefit our health. One of the things I’ve also found out is that Frankincense is really good for the skin. I’ve seen that it can help people decrease blemishes on their face. It can help reduce fine lines and wrinkles. It’s very good at cleansing cuts and scrapes, and even reducing the appearances of scarring. Has anybody else experienced that?

Dr. Lin: The reduction of scarring may be as a result of the inflammatory response as we saw in our animal models; and that is great about Frankincense. We also experienced some reduction of wrinkles.

Dr. Alibhai: This is Alishia, and I’ve also found similar results with many of my clients; and also friends and family especially with the wrinkles. I have a lot of clients who apply Frankincense around their eyes to help with those little eye wrinkles that we get from smiling. Also too, with the blemishes in particular, I client who had an odd spot on his forehead; and after consistent applications of Frankincense it completely disappeared. I’ve also seen great results using Frankincense and skin related blemishes, scarring and wrinkles and those kinds of things.

Dr. Woolley: Also one other note that should be pointed out, is that there seems to be in our research as we collect information from the users of Frankincense and Sacred Frankincense, that about 1 out of about 5,000 people tend to be very sensitive to it. They’ll form a small, red rash wherever they put it. If so, they need to stop using it. If they continue to use it, it will form blisters on their skin.

Dr. Lin: In a diluted form would be helpful.

Dr. Woolley: Yes, either diluted, or if it continues then that’s just one essential oil that they’re very sensitive to. I appears to be 1 out of about 5,000 people.

Scott: Okay, something to be aware of. We want to keep that in mind.

Dr. Woolley: Yes.

Scott: Now one of the things we haven’t touched on yet is some of the emotional benefits of Frankincense. I know that Dr. Shander and Dr. Alibhai, you have both said that you’ve seen great results in influencing mood and emotions Frankincense. So, let’s start with Dr. Shander. Can you tell us a little bit about what you’ve seen with your clients?

Dr. Shander: Well, I think Frankincense is extremely exciting. It’s not surprising because it’s so soluble and goes across the blood-brain barrier, that we see almost instantaneous results in mood and a sense of security in patients. What I have found in people that I have seen that is connected from their strength, is that Frankincense almost immediately decreases fear and dread. If those feelings are lifted, I see an immediate relaxation and a sense of well-being and a release that people can somehow inhabit their bodies without the sense of dread that’s pulsating through them. They say they’re not as overwhelmed or tired. I hear things like, “I don’t feel that I’m as separate from the world as I did before.” I find that if I’m using Frankincense in a session with people who are depressed and unable to articulate what’s going on, Frankincense decreases that inhibition and they start thinking and speaking more clearly. One of my clients said, “I can notice the beauty in nature and connect with others almost immediately after using Frankincense.” Someone else said, “It lightens my load from a consuming stew of emotions.” So, it’s quite dramatic as it comes through the body, and it’s instantaneous.

The other thing with Frankincense is that as well as decreasing fear and dread, I find that it grounds people. I don’t know if you’ve met people who don’t seem to be walking in their shoes, or they don’t feel grounded; or they don’t feel comfortable. Frankincense does that, too. It’s a grounding oil, and it makes people feel more connected to the Earth.

The third thing that I find it extremely useful for is that we remember that Frankincense has been used through the ages in temples and churches and rituals to decrease fear and dread for merging with the divine…for oneness in the other. I find that in spiritual connections it works dramatically. When I do guided imagery, it’s something that’s essential to the group using it; but even in individual sessions, it’s a very instant connection to the divine as some of the people call it.

I want to add something else. Not only dread, grounding, helping people connected to their thoughts, the divine connection. I want to add one more thing; and that’s the concept of bridging. I find that sometimes with Frankincense, with all the oils, but specifically with Frankincense, somebody may need to hold onto their fear and their dread for a defense reason. Fear makes them more powerful, or dread is something they’re more comfortable with. I find that if somebody says that, “Oh, I don’t like the smell of that”, or they feel put off by Frankincense, I use that as information. What they really may need is an oil that makes them feel safer and more comfortable, say Sacred Mountain where they have a sense of safeness and comfortableness in their position. We can use that oil as a bridge and then come back to Frankincense, there’s an immediate response. For instance, another bridge oil might be Valor, a feeling of needing a certain strength and power within oneself to face the demons of the fear and the dread. Again, use Valor first and then circle back and go back to Frankincense and it’s very, very useful. So I just wanted to introduce those three concepts…dread, fear, grounding, the divine connection, and then also the idea of bridging. Bridging is so important to think outside the box.

Scott: I’m glad you brought up that there are complimentary oils that can make Frankincense even more powerful.

Dr. Shander: Not only powerful, but more available. We’re dealing with human beings, and they’re not always ready to take the next step that we would like them to. So, you can back up a little bit and see what needs to happen first.

Scott: Now, Dr. Alibhai, I have had conversations with you and I know that you will echo many of the things that Dr. Shander said. What’s been your experience with it for emotional and mood supporting?

Dr. Alibhai: As you said, a lot of the same things Dr. Shander said. I have a lot of clients who come in experiencing a lot of different kinds of emotional blocks. So they’re having difficulty moving past fear, anger, sadness, jealousy, hurt; and what I’ve found is that in the session when we incorporated the use of Frankincense, I’ve seen them experience the sense of relief and release. It’s been so powerful in their journeys of healing. Just a specific example, I had one client who had a great deal of hurt stemming from some of her childhood experiences; and she’d been carrying this with her for a very long time. When we incorporated the use of Frankincense in the session, we saw just a wonderful sense of emotional balance for her. So she now uses Frankincense regularly and has been experiencing a great deal of healing and relief from those experiences.

I also really like to incorporate the use of Frankincense when I host group meditations. My basis for hosting meditations is for a lot of stress reduction. It’s the main reason a lot of people will come to these meditations to connect deeper within. I put Frankincense in the diffuser and I find that people experience a much deeper level of relaxation. They indicate that they feel a greater sense of balance in the mind, the body, their emotions; and a lot of them have said they’ve been able to let go of emotional blockages or moods that weren’t serving them in the moment. It has allowed them to go even deeper into their meditation and to have better visualizations and much better peace of mind. So I found on the whole, that Frankincense has been helping with moods and emotions.

Scott: Great. I know that both of you have indicated that it’s great for guided imagery and meditation and is really beneficial for those who are struggling with some kind of emotional imbalance. The relaxation effects are readily apparent for those who do get an opportunity to use it.

Dr. Woolley:
The Frankincense that’s available on the market is quite variable. What happens is that since it’s sold as a resin, it comes out of the tree as resin particles, they often get traded and re-labeled as something more valuable. For instance, the Frankincense that comes from Oman is the highest grade, and that’s Boswellia sacra. It’s very common for companies to label their Frankincense as coming from Oman or that it is Boswellia sacra. That’s something that has to be watched for. For instance, a handful of Frankincense from Oman might cost somewhere around 30 or 40 dollars; whereas that same handful of Frankincense from Africa would cost around 50 cents. So you can see that people often market their inexpensive products as an expensive product. So that’s something that people have to watch out for. Gary’s been to Oman I think 16 or 17 times. He’s also been to Yemen where he’s actually seen the Frankincense that grows there. I’ve been to Oman 8 times in the last 3 years. So Young Living spends a lot of time, effort, money to be able to secure and know that the Frankincense that we get comes from the place that we say it does. We’ve spent a lot of effort to make sure that it comes from Oman. It comes right from harvesters, people who collect it; and there’s no chance that any inexpensive Frankincense can be mixed in. In addition, when we test it in our testing labs here in Utah here in the United States, we can see anything that anybody’s tried to put in it. So, there’s no way to fake it. In fact, I think our lab in the United States with Young Living Essential Oils has more knowledge about the Frankincense essential oils throughout the world than anybody else.

Dr. Lin:
Basically, Dr. Suhail and I have been preparing Frankincense oil in more than 200 different ways. We measure the chemical composition of each preparation and try to correlate those with biological response. Different ways of preparation produce different chemical composition within the oil, and different composition results in different biological response. That’s for sure; and we proved that. Unfortunately, essential Frankincense oil in the market, people don’t tell you how they prepare it; and they don’t tell you what’s the composition in the oil. So, you cannot trust every other oil in the market to have similar results that we have collected.

Dr. Woolley:
This is Dr. Woolley. For instance, there’s one company that says they have Boswellia frereana which grows in Somalia; and they say that it’s from Oman. They’re just simply adding value to their customers by saying it grows there. Well, there’s no other Frankincense specie that grows in Oman except for Boswellia sacra.

Scott: I’m glad that you talked about that because it is just so critical to have the high quality product with Living. I want to thank the Scientific Advisory Committee members for joining me on this call today and adding their expertise and sharing their knowledge with us. I really appreciate that. For all of the Young Living members, we want to wish you abundant health and a wonderful day.


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