Frankincense: Scientific Name, Properties, Precaution

Frankincense has been a cornerstone of herbal medicine for centuries because of its medicinal and spiritual properties. In this article, we will learn about it in detail.
Frankincense: Scientific Name, Properties, Precaution
Table of Contents

Scientific Name

Boswellia sacra


Boswellia carteri Birdw., Olibanum




Frankincense is obtained from the resin of the Boswellia tree. These trees are small to medium-sized, deciduous trees. Their bark is like paper which can be easily peeled. The height of these trees is up to 8 meters, and resin is produced from them through tapping.


Boswellia trees are found primarily in the dry and mountainous regions of the Middle East. These are especially found in areas like Oman, Yemen, and Somalia. These trees require dry, rocky, and well-drained soil to grow. They often grow in such harsh conditions that no other plant can tolerate them.

Common Name

Frankincense, Olibanum

Chemical Composition

Several chemical components are found in frankincense resin, including:
  1. Boswellic Acid: The primary active compound, known for its anti-inflammatory properties.
  2. Essential oil: Mainly composed of α-pinene, limonene, and myrcene.
  3. Polysaccharides: Support the immune system.
  4. Terpenes and terpenoids: Contribute to antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties.

Plant Parts Used

Resin, also known as gum or oleoresin, is the primary part of the plant used for medicinal and therapeutic purposes. It is harvested by making an incision in the bark of the tree.


Ayurvedic Properties

In Ayurvedic, Frankincense is known as Kunduru. It is classified as:
  1. Rasa (taste): Bitter (Tikta), Astringent (Kashaya)
  2. Guna (quality): Light (Laghu), Dry (Ruksha)
  3. Virya (potency): Heating (Ushna)
  4. Vipaka (post-digestive effect): Pungent (Katu)

Therapeutic properties

It has a wide range of medicinal properties, which include:
  1. Anti-inflammatory: Reduces inflammation in conditions like arthritis.
  2. Analgesic: Provides relief from pain.
  3. Antimicrobial: Fights various pathogens.
  4. Immunomodulatory: Boosts and regulates the immune system.
  5. Expectorant: Helps clear mucus from the respiratory tract.
  6. Astringent: Tightens tissues and reduces bleeding.
  7. Antioxidant: Protects cells from oxidative damage.

Uses of Frankincense

Respiratory health

Frankincense may be especially beneficial for respiratory problems. Its expectorant properties help reduce bronchitis, asthma, and cold symptoms. It is often used in steam inhalation or as an essential oil in diffusers to clear airways.

Anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving

It contains boswellic acid which has powerful anti-inflammatory effects. It can help manage arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and osteoarthritis.

Skin health

It can be widely used for skin care due to its astringent and regenerative properties. It helps in treating wounds, scars, and acne. It can also be used to reduce the symptoms of aging.

Digestive Health

Frankincense may aid digestion by reducing inflammation in the intestine and promoting the secretion of digestive enzymes. It may also help treat conditions such as Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and Crohn’s disease.

Immune support

The immunomodulatory effects of frankincense make it a valuable remedy for boosting the immune system. It can help protect the body from infections.

Mental Health and Relaxation

The aromatic properties of frankincense are used in aromatherapy to promote relaxation and mental clarity. It may help reduce stress, anxiety, and depression, and is used to increase focus and calmness.

Precautionary Measures

While frankincense is generally safe for most people, it should be used with caution and be aware of the following:
  1. Allergic reactions
  2. Pregnancy and breastfeeding
  3. Avoid using internal
  4. May interact with some medication


Frankincense has been a valuable medicinal for centuries due to its medicinal applications. It is rich in many properties due to which it remains an important part of both traditional and modern medicine. Knowing its uses, you can use it in many ways, but while using it medically, it is necessary to consult a doctor because it can be harmful in many conditions.

Remember, before starting any new wellness regimen, it’s always best to consult with a healthcare professional to ensure it is suitable for your specific needs and circumstances.

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