August 10, 2021 by D.Fathia
Updated August 10, 2021

Could frankincense be the new drug?

Could frankincense be the new drug?

In Judaism, incense offerings have been mentioned and the exact recipe is detailed in the Book of Exodus. Frankincense was part and partial of the liturgy and holy rituals of temples.

References to this incense have been found in Christianity as well. As a matter of fact, frankincense is still in use in some Christian churches today.

Different cultures and different religious and ethnic groups have used olibanum for several purposes. It has been used in ancient medicine, in ceremonies, and even exorcism rituals. It has been chewed, swallowed, burned, and mixed with other ingredients.

Are there any benefits to burning frankincense?

Folk wisdom and practices have virtually encompassed all known items; frankincense couldn’t escape this circle. Myths have been knitted and stories told about the power of frankincense in casting demons and evil spirits.

Religious ceremonies as well as other common celebrations have been opportunities to show the miracle of this resin and take pride in the elders’ abilities in harnessing its power. Burning frankincense on occasions such as birth dates, wedding ceremonies, sacrificial rituals, and the like has been a pillar of these gatherings.

Folktales tend to exaggerate a lot, but there is always some truth in their allegations. Olibanum does indeed have useful properties, just not in casting demons. So, are there any benefits to burning frankincense?

A study published in the journal of The Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology suggested that chemicals found in frankincense can enhance mood. Raphael Mechoulam of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and his team administered incensole acetate, a component of the Boswellia plant, to mice. Through the experiment, those scientists observed that signs of depression and anxiety were reduced in the mice.

This groundbreaking result is highly promising. New treatments for anxiety might be found using such chemical compounds. Of course, more human trials need first be conducted. Nevertheless, it is a promising start. In fact, this might explain why people used and still burn frankincense during religious ceremonies.

Incensole acetate activates channels in the brain which leads to alleviating anxiety…etc. After centuries, the mystery of burning frankincense has been solved. The practice does not only entail symbolic importance but also psychological and biological underpinnings. New types of natural antidepressants can finally be made available.

Can frankincense destroy cancer cells?

Research on chronic diseases such as cancer has been focusing on exploring new out-of-the-box ingredients. Since cancer has been linked to inflammation, a few studies suggested that frankincense might be useful in fighting cancer.

Boswellic acids have been proven to have significant effects on inflammation. Besides, what’s more, promising is that olibanum might fight cancer cells directly without affecting healthy cells like other treatments.

A 2009 study revealed that frankincense attacked solely cancerous cells. Another 2015 study showed the same results on breast cancer cells. These results give hope that future cancer cells’ targeting is a possible and more effective treatment can be found.

One more study published in May 2019 in the US Library of Medicine, entitled “Frankincense essential oil suppresses melanoma cancer through downregulation of Bcl-2/Bax cascade signaling and ameliorates heptotoxicity via phase I and II drug-metabolizing enzymes” is proof of the potential of this resin.

Of course, frankincense is not an alternative to traditional cancer treatment. Though it can be consumed as a supplement, any use of the substance or its oil as medicine should first be consulted with an expert or your direct supervising doctor. There are not many guidelines on how to use it or the acceptable dosage…etc.


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