Frankincense

The truth about Frankincense – an example of how the herbal/botanical as medicine may be very different from the essential oil as medicine.

“Frankincense is a well-known anti-inflammatory. Of the more than 300 known active ingredients in frankincense essential oil, boswellic acids are the most well-studied. Examining the curative effect of frankincense, Professor Werz and his colleagues were able to show where exactly how boswellic acids – which are responsible for the impact of the ingredients of the Boswellia resin – interfere in the process of inflammation.”

nyrnaturalnews.com/article/a-gift-from-the-desert-the-healing-powers-of-frankincense/

Now if I were a salesperson who knew nothing about essential oil chemistry, I might reference this article and say “use Frankincense EO to treat inflammatory disease”.

Except, this article is not about the essential oil – there is no boswellic acid in steam or hydrodistilled Frankincense essential oil. The “active substances (which) can be very beneficial in therapies against diseases like asthma, rheumatoid arthritis or atopic dermatitis” this article refers to, are extracted using an alcohol extraction method, not steam distillation. So they are not essential oils.


[Disclaimer – I am an Independent Consultant with NYR Organic and sell both frankincense essential oil and aromatherapy skincare products which contain it, as well as a nutritional supplement which contains Boswellia Serrata Extract @ 65% Boswellic Acid; the supplement does not contain the EO.]


 

More Frankincense Research

“The smell of frankincense resin and powder, as well as burned frankincense, has been linked to a series of health effects since ancient times. Additionally, frankincense and its fumes are used as a means to induce positive psychophysical effects and well-being, not only in an ecclesiastical setting but also in traditional medical applications. This review aims to provide an overview of current knowledge of the volatile constituents of frankincense, with explicit consideration concerning the diverse Boswellia varieties. Altogether, more than 300 volatiles in frankincense have been reported in the literature. In particular, a broad diversity has been found in the qualitative and quantitative composition of the volatiles with respect to different varieties of Boswellia. A detailed discussion of the various analytical approaches applied to isolating and analysing the volatile fractions of frankincense is also presented.”
Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Learn more: The volatile constituents of frankincense – a review – onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ffj.1942/abstract

There is another article which readers can access [hindawi.com/journals/ecam/2013/140509/], however it has been retracted

“This article has been retracted as it was found to contain a substantial amount of material from the manuscript titled “The volatile constituents of frankincense – a review” by Michaela Mertens, Andrea Buettnera, and Eva Kirchhoffa which was published in Flavour and Fragrance Journal, Volume 24, Issue 6, pages 279–300, November/December 2009, without proper citation.”

But you can still *read between the lines*!

“The essential oils of Boswellia plants showed different activities which is summarized in Table 3.”

hindawi.com/journals/ecam/2013/140509/tab3/


January 17, 2016 – Updated to add link to this new article by #RobertTisserand
http://tisserandinstitute.org/frankincense-oil-and-cancer-in-perspective/

 

Save the Bees

“A new Harvard study fingers neonics as
the key driver of colony collapse disorder.” 

motherjones.com/tom-philpott/2014/05/smoking-gun-bee-collapse

Many people do not realize that these pesticides are not just being used by industrial farmers, they are common in yard and landscaping products.

What can we do?

First learn more about why bees are disappearing and learn more about the problem with pesticides:

The problem with pesticides US Why are bees disappearing US

These flyers are provided by Neal’s Yard Remedies as part of the Save the Bees Campaign.

Plant a seed of thought…

Salespeople sometimes use studies as support for their medical claims for products like essential oils. These studies are taken out of context. The fact that a product or an ingredient is being studied as a cancer treatment for example, does not mean it should be used *as* a cancer treatment.

Salespeople (and some poorly educated practitioners) sometimes take the herbal use for a botanical, and apply those same properties to the essential oil.

The uses and safety concerns for a raw herb/flower/seed are often not the same as those for the essential oil. The uses and safety concerns for a water extract or an alcohol extract from a botanical are also often not the same as those for the essential oil.

Not convinced? There is a seed which produces an oil we use for its many healing properties. It is used in food and skincare products. “Centuries ago, the plant was referred to as “Palma Christe” because the leaves were said to resemble the hand of Christ. 1.”

And how about this…a product from the waste material from processing the seeds (aka beans) “has been used experimentally in medicine to kill cancer cells. 2.”

Sounds like a win win, doesn’t it! If some of these MLM salespeople had access to this – they’d tell you to take this product internally because “it has been shown to kill cancer cells!”

120px-seeds_of_ricinus_communis

Problem. The seed is the castor bean. The oil is castor oil. The waste material being studied? Ricin. Not familar with Ricin?

“Just 1 milligram of ricin is fatal if inhaled or ingested, and much less than that if injected. Eating just 5 to 10 castor seeds would be fatal.

Once poisoned, there’s no antidote, which is why ricin has been used as a chemical warfare agent.”

So something that kills cells in a petri dish…may also kill a person. And just because one product from a plant may have a safe and appropriate use in cosmetic or medical care, does not automatically mean that other products from the exact same plant are even safe, much less effective for the same purposes.

1. http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/04/28/castor-oil-to-treat-health-conditions.aspx
2. http://www.bt.cdc.gov/agent/ricin/facts.asp

MYTH – EOs in the Bible

Essential oils are defined as “a product made by distillation with either water or steam or by mechanical processing of citrus rinds or by dry distillation of natural materials. Following the distillation, the essential oil is physically separated from the water phase.

Vocabulary of Natural Materials (ISO/D1S9235.2), The International Organization for Standardization (ISO)

There are books and companies who promote the use of essential oils in a way that reinvents historical fact. There were no essential oils used during Biblical times. The Wise Men did not bring Baby Jesus essential oils. Jesus’ feet were not anointed with essential oil, nor did he anoint others with essential oils.

Essential oils were not used in Ancient Egypt, nor are they found in the Pyramids.

“Since essential oils are produced by distillation, and distillation was invented in the 10th century by Persians, it could be said that aromatherapy began 1,000 years ago.” roberttisserand About Aromatherapy

The oils referred to in the Bible are infused oils, not essential oils. The Bible also refers to incense – which is also a completely different product than an essential oil.

To learn more: http://www.aromaweb.com/aromatherapyspirituality/biblicaloilsandincense.asp

Why is this important?

Because if someone is going to lie about historic fact, in order to sell you something – what other lies will they tell in order to sell you something?

And because the history of safe use of an infused oil does not demonstrate the same safety when applied to the essential oil.

And those four Thieves blend you also may have read about? They ALSO were not using essential oils! This is historical FICTION!

Royal 6.E.vi, f. 301 detail

The story goes something like this… four thieves in France protected themselves from the black plague with cloves, rosemary, and other aromatics while robbing victims of the black plague, but who never got sick. “When captured, they were offered a lighter sentence in exchange for their secret recipe.”

This “Thieves oil blend” usually includes Clove, Cinnamon Bark, Rosemary, Lemon and Eucalyptus. There was no Eucalyptus available in France in the 15th Century! This story is historical fiction. The thieves were probably using a botanical vinegar and not essential oils.

But it makes a great story and plenty of companies sell their version – the legitimate companies refer to the story as legend or myth. The ones to watch out for are the ones who refer to the story as if it is historic fact, or who advise topical or internal use!