How to use frankincense essential oil: soothe skin, improve sleep, and more.

The essential facts

  • Has a rich and ancient history with links to different religions and cultures
  • Used heavily in perfumes for its earthy, musty piney scent
  • Ollieโ€™s oil is ethically sourced from Somaliland
  • Anti-microbial – kills harmful organisms like bacteria and viruses
  • Analgesic – relieves pain
  • Anti-inflammatory – reduces inflammation and swelling
  • Helps soothe digestive issues like IBS

What is frankincense essential oil?

Frankincense oil has been known to be the โ€œKing of Essential Oilsโ€ due to its wide array of uses that promote regeneration and good health. Originating in Northeast Africa (Somalia, Ethiopia), it has a rich history and was traded extensively all over Asia and Europe in ancient times. There have been records of it from thousands of years ago! It is prized for its aromatic properties and has a strong association with spiritual practises and mysticism.

Frankincense is often associated with the birth of Jesus Christ, where one of the gifts the newborn Christ received was frankincense. It is also sacred in Islam where it is used in religious rituals. Frankincense was traded extensively between Northeast Africa, Arabia, Europe, and ancient China. Traditional Chinese Medicine makes big use of frankincense in resin and oil form for the treatment of skin disorders and blood circulation problems.

It is extracted by steam distillation from the dry resin of the Boswellia carterii tree (Frankincense Tree) and is famous for its aromatherapeutic properties. It is used in:

  • Perfumes
  • Cosmetics
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Traditional medicine
  • Treatment of diabetes, gastritis and stomach ulcer

Most importantly, frankincense oil is prized for its skin healing and rejuvenating properties. The warm, spicy smell of frankincense oil is also known to promote deep relaxation, induce meditative calmness, and reduce muscle tension. This is probably why many religions consider frankincense as sacred.

Did you know? One the largest buyers of frankincense is the Vatican? It buys several million kilograms each year!

Where does Frankincense Oil come from?

  • Species: Boswellia carterii
  • Place of origin: Somalia

The Frankincense Tree or Boswellia carterii is a short, deciduous tree that grows primarily in Somalia and the Arabian peninsula. It is a hardy tree and grows in dry, harsh conditions. In fact, it thrives in these conditions which affect the quality of oil.

Did you know? The best quality frankincense oil comes from trees that have experienced the harshest conditions. The harsher the elements that the tree has to endure, the better the quality of the oil! Fascinating!

I source my Frankincense Oil from Somaliland, a territory in Northern Somalia, because the tree is native and grows in this region. My Somaliland Frankincense Oil is considered to be of very high quality because of its odour and composition that is unique to this region!

The frankincense tree is a small deciduous tree that produces resin from its inner bark. The resin is collected by making incisions in the bark and waiting for the resin to seep out. Almost all of the process is done by hand. Men scale the cliff sides to chip off resin while women spend hours cleaning and grading the resins. This resin is then steam distilled to produce oil.

Frankincense oil is one of the more expensive essential oils because of several reasons:

  • Frankincense trees start producing resin only after 8-10 years of planting.
  • Frankincense trees are being over-exploited, so supply is rapidly declining while demand for frankincense products keeps growing.
  • A large majority of frankincense oil is produced in countries with unstable conditions such as war, famine, and lawlessness, which results in difficulty in procuring good quality oil.

frankincense essential oil

How to choose the best frankincense essential oil?

There are 3 main types of frankincense oil. I use frankincense oil from the Boswellia Carterii tree. The oil extracted from this has a more citrusy scent due to the presence of higher amounts of limonenes than in the frankincense oil derived from other subspecies of the frankincense tree.

A higher concentration of limonene in the essential oil derived from the Boswellia Carterii tree means that this oil has high antimicrobial, air purifying, and pain relieving properties. I chose this type of frankincense oil because I believe it is the best type and I want nothing but the best for my Ollie tribe!

Remember to always buy your frankincense oil from a seller who puts sustainability above everything else. As the frankincense tree is being over-exploited for its valuable resin, sourcing your essential oil from a grower who engages in compassionate resin harvesting practises will make the use of this oil guilt free and more enjoyable for you, while preserving this wonderful giving tree for future generations.

I pride myself for prioritizing sustainability over profits. I ensure that my frankincense oil is of the highest quality and comes from growers who regularly replant frankincense trees to replenish old trees. I also ensure that my growers have an excellent track record of ethical harvesting of frankincense resin.

Sustainability of Frankincense Oil

With climate change, collapse of natural ecosystems, and lack of new frankincense forests to replace the old, the supply of frankincense is steadily declining. One of the biggest issues plaguing frankincense growers is poverty and low yield of resin due to overharvesting.

As it is the main source of income for many rural communities in Northeast Africa (where frankincense is primarily grown), it is now being harvested to the point of depletion.

Frankincense trees produce only 6% yield, so tampering with this already low yield means an even lower yield that is not sustainable.

The growers are incentivised to tap as much resin as possible, leading to aggressive slashing of frankincense trees. This leaves frankincense trees vulnerable to collapse, diseases, and early death before they get a chance to propagate. It has been estimated that if this continues, there will be no more frankincense within the next 20 years!

Howeverโ€ฆ Sustainably farmed trees can produce frankincense resin for up to 80 years! If we do our part and support growers who farm sustainably, we can do our part to ensure the longevity of this amazing oil.

As a consumer, you have a right to know where your frankincense oil is coming from and how it is harvested. So, always remember to buy your frankincense oil from suppliers like me, who buy from sources that prioritize sustainability.

Shop for your own bottle of ethically sourced frankincense oil from our shop now!

What does frankincense oil smell like?

Frankincense Oil is deeply aromatic, and it is this quality that it is so popular among essential oil users. It is described as a slightly sweet, earthy, and musty pine scent, with high notes of citrus. It’s warm, spicy scent makes it a popular addition to perfumes.

Its woody base pairs very well with floral and citrus scents. It also goes really well with Ollieโ€™s Mysore Sandalwood Oil.

Did you know? Frankincense oil has a shelf life of up to 2 years if stored in a cool, dark place away from humidity.

What does frankincense essential oil blend well with?

It is a versatile oil that blends well with many different essential oils. Here are my picks for how you can blend them with my oils!

It blends especially well with citrus oils such as:

It also goes very well with earthy or flowery smelling scents such as:

Being such a versatile oil, frankincense essential oil also blends well with ylang ylang oil, Ollieโ€™s Peppermint Oil, and bergamot oil. When you combine frankincense oil with other oils, the properties and scents of the other oils get enhanced by the frankincense oil!

What is frankincense essential oil used for?

Frankincense oilโ€™s aromatherapeutic properties are not the only benefits. The compounds in frankincense oil give it powerful skin regenerative properties. It can also be used in stress relief, massages, soothe inflamed skin, and so much moreโ€ฆ

It is made up of compounds like alpha & beta-pinene, limonene, and alpha-thujene. Let me briefly tell you what these compounds are good for!

Benefits of Alpha- & Beta-Pinene:

  • Anti-microbial (antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral)
  • Anti-inflammatory and antioxidant
  • Analgesic (pain relieving)
  • Gastroprotective
  • Neuroprotective

Benefits of Limonene:

  • Anti-microbial
  • Deodorizing (gets rid of bad smells), natural citrus odour
  • Natural insecticide
  • Appetite suppression
  • Muscle relaxant
  • Pain relief

Benefits of alpha-Thujene:

  • Pain relief
  • Soothe digestive issues
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Anti-microbial

As you can see from this list, frankincense oil has compounds that contain a lot of health benefits. Let’s get into the practical benefits of them!

Benefits of frankincense oil

  • Pain relief for arthritis
  • 40% of elderly Singaporeans suffer from arthritic pain.

Most common treatment for arthritic pain is painkillers. But prolonged use of painkillers is ineffective and can lead to health complications such as kidney and liver issues.

Frankincense essential oil has pain killing, anti-inflammatory, and anti-arthritic properties which makes it an ideal choice for those facing arthritic pain and joint inflammation. The usage of frankincense oil along with usually prescribed pain medication has been suggested for longer lasting relief from pain.

Alleviate symptoms of gut issues

  • 1 in 10 Singaporeans suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). This is a chronic and serious digestive disorder that results in frequent diarrhoea, constipation, stomach cramps, and bloating.
  • There is no cure; only diet modifications and medicines to alleviate pain and other symptoms.

Frankincense oil has anti-inflammatory properties, which is an important quality in any treatment for IBS and other inflammatory digestive issues.

Studies show that inhaling or massaging some frankincense oil in the form of diffuser blends or as a massage oil can alleviate symptoms of severe diarrhoea, bloating, and muscle cramps that accompany many digestive issues.

Next time youโ€™re feeling a little bloated after stuffing yourself with some delicious char kway teow, why not try inhaling some frankincense oil in a diffuser blend or just dab some on your wrists and inhale as you go.

Stress Relief

  • Singapore spends $3.1 Billion in treating stress every year!
  • Singaporeans are reported to be among the worldโ€™s most stressed workforce.

Being under chronic stress has been linked to adverse health outcomes such as stroke, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, mental health disorders, and early death.

Aromatherapy has been shown to reduce stress, bring out positive emotions in you, and even reduce high blood pressure caused by too much tension. It can also help bring some mental balance back into the system, therefore aiding in your holistic health.

Frankincense is not limited to religious uses. There is a reason why this aromatic oil is used in spiritual practises. Its mystical aroma is said to induce a deep meditative calmness, purify the air, and soothe even the most exhausted minds and bodies. You can make your own relaxing diffuser blend with frankincense oil and other essential oils which complement its soothing properties.

Sleeping Aid

  • 4 in 10 Singaporeans donโ€™t get enough sleep, and 75% wake up at least once during the night. This leads to reduced sleep quality and more tiredness the next day.
  • Reduced sleep quality has adverse health outcomes and can increase the risk of accidents.

Getting 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep every night is a challenge in our hyper connected world. Do you often wake up in the morning feeling grumpy and tired, and feeling like you just didnโ€™t get enough sleep? Youโ€™re not alone! Many people feel they are not getting good quality sleep every night.

This can result in poor memory, increased inflammation, increased risk of stroke, lowered attention span, poor decision making and reflexes as well as more accidents. The effects of poor sleep quality are numerous and you probably know them already. So how can you get better sleep?

Try my frankincense oil! Add a few drops to your diffuser or create your own easy DIY pillow spray to get a refreshing sleep. To make your own pillow spray:

  • Combine 3 drops of Ollieโ€™s Somali Frankincense oil with 2 tablespoons of water
  • Mix it in a spray bottle and shake right before use!
  • Spray around your pillow for a relaxing nightโ€™s sleep.

Frankincense oil has calming and sedative properties which will help your body relax enough for you to slip into deeper sleep. Many times, we may wake up during the night because of underlying intrusive thoughts or anxiety.

While frankincense oil wonโ€™t get rid of the root cause of your anxiety, it will help you quieten and relax your mind enough to sleep without getting restless.

Boost immune system function

In this era of new diseases such as COVID-19, having a strong immune system is so important. A stressful lifestyle and imbalanced diet can result in poor immune system function and increased susceptibility to diseases.

Frankincense oil has been found to have strong immunostimulant properties. Furthermore, its antimicrobial properties prevent bacteria, fungi, and viruses from growing on surfaces making it a good antimicrobial cleanser. Its antiseptic properties can be used to make a natural mouthwash that can help get rid of gingivitis, mouth sores, and bad breath.

To make the best use of Ollieโ€™s frankincense oilโ€™s antimicrobial properties, mix a few drops of the oil in your hand sanitizer or hand soap to protect yourself and your family from nasty germs.

DIY recipes with frankincense oil

Frankincense Oil diffuser blend for stress relief

Frankincense oil has relaxing and calming properties. Use this diffuser blend to bring down stress levels. This recipe will also be helpful for those who face anxiety and panic attacks, high blood pressure, and hyperactivity.


The combination of frankincense oil and lavender oil will reduce stress and anxiety drastically, make you feel more relaxed, and help you sleep better. Himalayan cedarwood oil along with eucalyptus oil purifies the air and helps you breathe easier. Breathing well is one of the best ways to reduce tension and blood pressure.

Homemade Arthritis Ointment

Frankincense oil has anti-arthritic and anti-inflammatory properties. People with arthritis can use this natural and homemade ointment on aching joints to gain fast acting pain relief.


  • 25 drops of Ollieโ€™s Somali Frankincense Oil
  • 10 drops of ginger essential oil
  • 20 drops of myrrh essential oil
  • 110 grams of cold pressed coconut oil


  • Combine all the ingredients in a bowl until properly blended.
  • Scoop the mixture into a glass jar and store in a cool, dark place away from heat and humidity.
  • Massage the ointment onto aching joints twice a day

Moisturizing serum

Frankincense oil has anti-ageing and anti-microbial properties. It has this amazing property of stimulating new cell growth, which means your skin will lose elasticity slower, gain wrinkles slower, and also heal from skin blemishes and scars faster. Use this serum daily to improve your skinโ€™s appearance.



  • Combine the ingredients into a dark glass bottle.
  • Shake thoroughly.
  • Use the mixture overnight on your face and neck.

This serum will give you glowing and youthful skin. Both frankincense and sandalwood oil are prized for their skin rejuvenating properties, while lavender oil is a good antimicrobial.

The Takeaway

Frankincense oil lives up to its name of โ€œking of essential oilsโ€. It has wonderful healing and spiritual properties that add so much value to our modern, busy lives. Take a moment to sit down and simply breathe in the soothing scent of this mystical oil. Feel all your tension melt away as your body experiences the aroma healing you from within.

Share your experience with me on social media! Tag me @ollie_oils on Instagram and @itsollie.oils on Facebook. Take care of yourself and stay citrusy bright!

Once you’re done mastering this oil, why not try out the rest of amazing oils we have? Shop now!

Have an Ollie good day!

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