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Not Just for Christmas - 5 things you may not know about Frankincense

Most of us know the Christmas story of the three wise men offering gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.  The symbolic nature of frankincense (burned in religious ceremonies since ancient times) is known but frankincense also played an important role in daily life. Here are some things you may not know about it; 

1)      It can boost mood 

Studies have found frankincense can help relieve anxiety and stress and could even be used as an anti-depressant. A component in frankincense, incensole acetate affects areas of the brain involved in emotions.  It has relaxing properties but also focuses the mind to induce peace and relaxation.

 2)      Frankincense may be used in conventional medicine   

There are 17 active ingredients in frankincense, the most useful are boswellic acids responsible for the inhibition of pro-inflammatory enzymes. Traditionally, frankincense has been used to treat a variety of ailments. It is healing to the skin and soothing to the respiratory system.   Recently, there have been encouraging in-vitro studies of extracts of frankincense and cancer cells, in particular ovarian and prostate cancer cells,  trials are still ongoing.   Medical trials are also being conducted to use frankincense in improving medical conditions involving inflammation, such as asthma, crohns/colitis and various forms of arthritis. Studies have shown 70% of asthma suffers had fewer and less severe attacks, digestive inflammation has been successfully reduced and in osteoarthritis it helps relieve pain and swelling and increases mobility.

 3)      Frankincense was worth more than it’s weight in gold  

Archaeological findings in Egypt prove that the land trade became an established reality circa 1500 BC.  As early as the seventh century AD,  frankincense was one of the most valuable and heavily traded commodities along the Silk Roads. The Silk Roads were a network of connected trade routes that spanned from Europe all the way to the Asian and African continents. Simply put this was World trade in it's earliest form and frankincense is said to have had higher value than rare silks and gold.

 4)      It has been important in most cultures 

A mural depicting sacks of traded frankincense adorns the walls of the temple of Egyptian Queen Hatshepsut who died circa 1458 BC. The Greeks, Romans, Israelites and numerous other cultures used frankincense as part of their religious ceremonies.  Frankincense was extensively used in burial rituals as an embalming material, and as an offering to the departed.  It was also offered on a specialised incense altar in the in time of the First and Second Jerusalem Temples.   Frankincense is used in Christian churches including the  Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox and Catholic Churches.  Christian and Islamic Abrahamic faiths have all used frankincense mixed with oils to anoint new-born infants, initiates and members entering into new phases of their spiritual lives.

 5)      Frankincense has been used as an antiseptic 

It was used to repel mosquitos and reduce risk of malaria.  It also has astringent effects which can helps firming of skin, muscles and blood vessels, healing cuts and wounds and helping to strengthen gums and help prevent gum disease. It has been used in cosmetics for it's skin firming and healing properties since the time of the Egyptians, and was found in kohl eye pencils from that time. 

 Sugar Hill Restore candle contains frankincense essential oil, to strengthen & soothe and has a wonderful spicy caramel aroma.