The Boswellia carteri genus includes several species. Frankincense oil is commonly extracted from Boswellia carterii, Boswellia serrata, and Boswellia ferreana. These are natives to Oman, Somalia, Ethiopia, India, and Pakistan, and famous for their ability to adjust to the harshest environments, needing very little soil and surviving even in desert-like conditions.
Since each tree species is different, the oils extracted from them have different biochemical profiles and influence our health differently. Let’s take a closer look at the differences and how they could impact the oil’s properties.
Frankincense oil sources and biochemical properties
The oil extracted from Boswellia carterii is the most widely available. It has a sweet citrus aroma that induces a state of mental and physical relaxation. Incredibly rich in alpha-pinene and other monoterpenes, it is one of the most potent immune boosters. Applied topically, it has the ability to restore and regenerate the skin. It also reverses UV damage and rejuvenates the skin, eliminating scars and blemishes.
The oil extracted from Frankincense ferreana is higher in alpha-thujene, p-cymene and sabinene than the other varieties. As a result, the oil extracted from it is considered to have stronger anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, antibacterial, and analgesic properties.
It is especially effective at relieving arthritis symptoms, swelling, allergies, and inflammation. Compared to the other frankincense oil varieties, this one has an easy-to-recognize smell – earthy and citrusy.
Frankincense serrata is the oldest frankincense variety, associated with the one mentioned in the Bible and commonly used in Ayurvedic medicine. It is high in alpha thujene, alpha-pinene, limonene, and other monoterpenes. Due to its chemical composition, it acts as a potent anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, and natural decongestant.
This type of frankincense oil is commonly used in aromatherapy and for religious ceremonies. The frankincense serrata resin allows the extraction of a higher quantity of oil compared to the other resin varieties.
It is important to note that the biochemicals in all three varieties of frankincense oil are effectively absorbed by the body, having the ability to pass the blood-brain barrier and stimulate the brain’s limbic system, the hypothalamus, and the pineal and pituitary glands. The health benefits it brings about are numerous and valuable. We will review them in the following lines.
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