Essential Oils of the Bible

Apr 02, 2021

The Gift of Frankincense


"[]and on entering the house they saw the child with Mary his mother. They prostrated themselves and did him homage. Then they opened their treasures and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh," (Matthew 2:11).


As Christians, we are familiar with the biblically famous gifts that the wise men presented to baby Jesus - frankincense representing the symbolic role he would take in fulfilling the redemptive plan of God. However, for many of us, this might be the first time we have heard of the treasure that is frankincense, or perhaps this verse is the only thought this lost gift is granted. But, this aromatic resin, obtained from any of the 25 species of Boswellia trees native to Africa and Asia, dons nearly twenty Biblical passages - most of these dating long before Jesus’ birth. Within the many Old Testament references, Leviticus contains seven with most of its notoriety in the form of an incense used as part of a holy ritual. Moreover, the early Sumerians and Egyptians prized it as a natural healer for almost any disease, seeing it as more valuable than gold.


The word frankincense derives from Old French, "fran encens," meaning "pure incense." Biblically, it lives up to this name, being mentioned among the sacred items needed for burnt offerings. "A priest shall take a handful of the bran flour and oil, together with all the frankincense, and shall burn it on the altar as a token of the offering," a sweet-smelling oblation to the Lord" (Leviticus 2:2). When mixed with myrrh, another precious gift to our Blessed Lord, it is said to represent the purity in our prayers as they rise to Heaven. What a beautiful image of "pure incense."


Exodus 30:34 explains the meticulous preparation of this precious commodity. "The Lord told Moses: Take these aromatic substances: storax and onycha and galbanum, these and pure frankincense in equal parts, and blend them into incense. This fragrant powder, expertly prepared, is to be salted and so kept pure and sacred."


Frankincense was a crucial part of sacrifices to Yahweh in Old Testament worship. Moreover, it was a key ingredient - God instructing Moses to utilize it by name in the making of sacred incense for the holiest place. 1 Chronicles 9:29 describes the vigilant management of this sacred substance, "Others were appointed to take care of the utensils and all the sacred vessels, as well as the fine flour, the wine, the oil, the frankincense, and the spices." While today we might not hold this oil in such regard, nor offer it as a gift to new mothers, it remains a powerful healer!


So, let's break down the properties of this non-toxic, non-irritating essential oil and how to incorporate it into our daily lives:


Properties of Frankincense:


· Strong antiseptic

· Analgesic: pain reliever

· Disinfectant

· Diuretic

· Sedative

· Anti-inflammatory – swelling and inflammation

· Antibacterial

· Promotes skin healing – rejuvenates and regenerates skin

· Aging skin

· Diaper rash

· Scars

· Stretch marks

· Wounds

· Bedsores

· Shrink tumors

· Promotes deep breathing – helping in respiratory recovery from:

· Flu

· Cough

· Cold

· Asthma

· Bronchitis

· Expectorant

· Laryngitis

· Positive effect on mind-body

· Ward of depression

· Soothes headaches

· Interferes with body's pain signals

· Penetrates ears – alleviating discomfort from tinnitus

· Stimulates the brain's emotional center


Some ways to incorporate Frankincense into your daily life:


· It can be applied neat, meaning it doesn’t need to be diluted in a carrier oil such as olive oil as is often the case with essential oils.

· If diluting, you can dilute it with up to an equal amount of carrier oil to be mixed into a body or massage oil to aid in muscle function or promote skin healing.

· Add a few drops to your bath to promote relaxation or add a drop or to your shampoo to rejuvenate hair.

· Apply a few drops on a washcloth and place it on the floor of the shower.

· Ingest one drop sublingually (placed under the tongue) daily as a general physical tonic, as a digestive agent to relieve bloating, or to strengthen your immune system.

· Diffuse it in your home or workspaces to calm the mind, ease stress, alleviate worries and anxieties and help you focus on the good things in life.


*Counterindications: Frankincense can stimulate menstrual flow, so pregnant women should not use it.



Of all the exotic aromas and experiences from my sojourn in Ethiopia, it's the frankincense I miss most.

— Cathleen Falsani




Essential Oils: Natural Remedies, Althea Press, Berkeley CA 2015

Holistic Aromatherapy for Animals: A Comprehensive Guide Kristen Leigh Bell, Findhorn Press, Scotland, UK 2002

Essential Oils of the Bible: Connecting God’s Word to Natural Healing, Randi Minetor, Althea Press, Berkeley, CA 2016

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