How to make an oil extract of Frankincense and other oleoresins

Frankincense oleo-resin extracted from Boswellia Neglecta.

  How to extract the healing properties of Frankincense and other oleo-resins

There is increasing information online about the healing properties of the different types of Frankincense. Notably, the Boswellic acid family including AKBA which make up a large proportion of the resin in these oleo-gum-resins. In general, they all share anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties which make them ideal for many external and internal applications. Phytochemicals in Frankincense have been proven useful for arthritis,  rheumatism, cancer, ulcers, colitis, brain injuries, depression, and much more. They are especially useful in cremes, oils and salves to help rejuvenate the skin, increase elasticity, reduce wrinkles and signs of aging. Many of these healing compounds can be absorbed through the skin and are able to cross the blood-brain barrier.

Oleo-resins are composed of volatile oils, or essential oils, and resins which are not volatile and cannot be separated via water or steam distillation. Though we rely heavily on essential oils to deliver the therapeutic properties of  plants in our medicine and cosmetics,  many of  Frankincense’s therapeutic properties reside in its resin portion. Boswellic acid, lately researched and promoted heavily for its anti-cancer properties is one of many heavier therapeutic compounds that are not naturally present in the distilled essential oils

Frankincense Sacra/Carterii and Frankincense Papyrifera
Frankincense Sacra/Carterii, top, and Frankincense Papyrifera

The whole oleo-resin provides a broader spectrum of phytochemicals, and from a holistic and synergistic point of view more effective than the isolated essential oils.

There is not much information on processing oleo-resins online, nor is there an abundance of research available on the many types of Frankincense compared to other medicinal Herbs.  This is slowly changing as the interest in therapeutic properties of oleo-resins increases.

A great number of the tree oleo-resins in our little garden world hold therapeutic properties that we have used for thousands of years, long before distilled essential oils were commonly available. Mastic, Spruce, Pine, Fir, Opoponax, Myrrh, Frankincense and many others have been highly valued for their healing properties. We are only beginning to appreciate the degree of their healing potential.

Extracting Oleo-resins

Finely ground Frankincense oleoresins for extractions
Finely ground Frankincense oleo-resins for extraction. From left-Boswellia Papyrifera, Boswellia Neglecta, Boswellia Rivae.

Oleo-resins are usually extracted via volatile solvents.  The most common are ethanol and petroleum distillates. Once the oleo-resin is separated from any water-soluble gum and foreign material, the solvent is evaporated and the remaining sticky mass utilized.

Another approach is to use non-volatile solvents such as vegetable oils and animal fats to extract the therapeutic compounds from oleoresins. They are much gentler than many volatile solvents, do not harm the environment in their production, use and disposal and pose no threat to our health in topical or internal applications. They are easy to make, purchase and use, they break down and decompose without adding toxins to the environment, and are safe and easy enough to use in any kitchen and home. Using non-volatile solvents creates new opportunities for self care and making our own medicine.

Non-volatile solvents for Frankincense oleo-resins

 Frankincense oleo-resin extracted from Boswellia Neglecta.
Frankincense oleo-resin extracted from Boswellia Neglecta with Olive oil.  Originally made as a chest rub for respitory releif. After using it for a year and collecting feedback from other users, I am forced to change its description and application. Rubbed on the chest, it is a surprisingly effective treatment for anxiety, panic attacks and tightness of the chest. It quickly removes the sharp physical pangs of anxiety, lifts and lightens the chest, eases and deepens breathing even during an Asthma attack and brings about a deep feeling of calm. I keep wondering if I am projecting here, but reports from others who use it confirm my description. Pretty amazing. Pine, Spruce and Fir saps still have the lead for coughs, colds and releif of respiratory congestion.

The use of vegetable oils as solvents and carriers for oleo-resins makes these products eminently suitable for external use as oils, liniments, cremes and salves. It can also provide an option for a more readily digestible and easily assimilated product for internal use.

This type of extraction requires no special laboratory chemicals or equipment, and can be performed in any kitchen or field with a simple water bath, mortar and pestle or electric coffee grinder. Oh, and a pillow case..

Solvent/carrier oils for whole oleo-resins

I have found 2 vegetable oils work particularly well with most oleo-resins. They are Jojoba oil and Olive oil. I stick to cold pressed extra virgin Olive oil even though it often has a more bitter flavour and scent.

Jojoba works well if the finished product is for external application only. Jojoba is really a wax and not a true oil. It keeps extremely  well on its own, though if making an emulsion type crème, a broad spectrum preservative is needed due to the presence of water.

Oleoresins are natural preservatives. Hence their extensive use historically for embalming and preserving corpses…. However, I can find no studies that show exactly what percent of oleoresins will preserve vegetable oils or aqueous solutions, and for how long. So for the time being some type of preservative is called for.

Olive oil is an ideal carrier and solvent. It has been used for centuries for its therapeutic effects on skin, hair and  GI tract. If you plan to keep any vegetable oil or animal fat product longer than 6 months unrefrigerated, Vitamin E will greatly delay rancidity and extend its shelf life.

Any vegetable type oil, (not mineral-based), or animal fat such as tallow or lard will work as a solvent for most oleoresins.This includes Coconut oil, nut oils such as Almond, Hazelnut and Macadamia and any of the exotics such as Argan oil, Baobab oil etc. Choose an oil based on your needs and preferences. Some oils keep longer than others though Vitamin E will extend the life of most oils.

 Instructions for making an oleo-resin extract

  • If you are using any type of Frankincense, Mastic, Myrrh, Elemi or other hard brittle oleo-resins, grind them to a fine powder first. (See the post on how to grind Frankincense & Myrrh. ). The finer you grind them, the more readily  and quickly they will dissolve in the oil.
  • If using fresh pliable oleo-resins such as Spruce, Pine or Fir, the soft saps can be used as they are.
  • In a water bath heat up 1 part oleo-resins by weight to 2-3 parts oil in a glass or mason jar. (See  A Solid moustache wax recipe) for complete directions on making and using a water bath at home.
  • When the bath reaches temperature and starts boiling, stir to break up any lumps and let sit in a simmering bath with occasional stirring for up to 3 hours.
  • Remove from the bath and filter when no more oleo-resin can be dissolved.
Water bath with multiple vessels and ingredients warming to the same temperature.
Water bath with multiple vessels and ingredients warming to the same temperature.
Frankincense Papyrifera ground in a steel mortar in preparation for extraction.
Frankincense Papyrifera ground in a steel mortar in preparation for extraction.

In the case of Boswellia Frereana, Maydi),  the oleoresin dissolves into the oils within minutes of the bath reaching the boiling point. (It has little to no water-soluble gum). As soon as you have a hot homogenous liquid you can proceed directly to filtering.

Filtering the oleo-resin extract

  • Filter the hot liquid carefully through a fine metal mesh coffee filter, the corner of a well washed and thoroughly rinsed and dried pillowcase, or through a good piece of cotton cloth similar in weave to a bed sheet.
  • Place your filtering material in a funnel over a clear glass vessel or jar. (so later you can gauge when most of the sediment has fallen).
  • Add the hot liquid extract.
  • If using a cloth filter, twist the excess cloth on top to form a sachet, and press out the liquid from this bag with the back of a spoon.
  • If using a metal mesh filter, running the back or side of the spoon against the mesh will keep the liquid flowing and the mesh open.
  • Working with the extraction while it is still hot keeps it mobile, liquid and more easily filtered. It will thicken a bit when cool.
  • Cover and set aside.
  • Compost the residue or return it to the earth.
  • Wait till all sediment falls to the bottom of the vessel. This could take a day or so.
  • Pour or siphon off the clear liquid, leaving the sediment. You can return this or use it for external applications.
  • If you plan to keep your extract around for a while, add 400 IU of Vitamin E to each 250 ml. or cup of extract. And it is ready to use.

For internal use I suggest starting with 1/2 teaspoon of extract with food. See how your body feels about it. This is uncharted territory and you are ultimately in charge of your own health. We don’t know how much  is too much. However compared to ingesting pure essential oils as some do, this method is relatively easy on the body and I believe likely more effective.
For external use, apply to face, joints etc as often as desired. Again, listen to your body….

To make a Frankincense or oleoresin cosmetic crème

I am not an expert in cosmetics formulation. There is an abundance of great recipes online written by people with much greater knowledge of this art than I. I suggest you find one with detailed instructions for making an oil/water creme that appeals to you, and replace the oil portion in any of these recipes with your oleoresin extract to make a healing creme. The guidelines below are simply that, loose guidelines based around a recipe that works for me at the moment.

  • Set up a fresh water bath with one jar for oil and a large jar for distilled water.
  • Put the filtered and sedimented extract back in a jar in the water bath.
  • Add distilled water in the second jar in a quantity that makes up 75% to 80% of the total weight of your finished creme. More water means a slightly thinner lotion or creme.
  •  If you are not using delicate oils, heat the water bath till boiling till both jars and the bath have reached the same temperature-If you are using oils that won’t tolerate high temperature then follow the instructions that come with the oil and bring both vessels in the water bath to the appropriate and same temperature.
  • Calculate the total of all the oil soluble components you will have in your product, carrier oil, essential oils, waxes and oil based preservative if you are going to use one.
  •  Add 25% of the weight of the oil based portion  of your product in emulsifying wax.
  • Blend the wax in the oil completely.
  • Remove from the bath and add the water slowly to your oil/wax mixture in a large enough bowl or jar to hold both materials comfortably.
  •  Stir or blend the oil-wax mixture for a couple of minutes and let sit. Every 15 minutes or so, repeat the blending till the mixture is room temperature and has started to thicken.
  •  This cooldown period is the time to add your essential oils and any other products that are heat sensitive. the weight of essential oils is added to the overall weight of the oil when you calculate how much wax to add.
  • When room temperature and of the right consistency pour into clean, sterile containers. If you have not added a preservative then keep refrigerated.
  • For long-term unrefrigerated use, a preservative is a must since you have added water to the formula. Bacteria and moulds are “suitcase in hand”,  just waiting to move in. Liquid Germal Plus works well as a broad spectrum preservative and seems relatively benign.
  • Add during the “Cooldown” stage and follow the directions that come with the product. It is considered one of your oil soluble ingredients and should be added to your calculation of how much wax needs to be added to your formula.
  • Of course you can improvise with the formula to your heart’s desire. Depending on the purpose of your creme and your personal preferences, there are many waxes, oils, colourants and essential oils you can fine tune your product with. These are just the basics. I expect you to explore, be creative and have fun with it.
  • For an excellent an excellent website dedicated to all facets of lotion and creme making, recipes, instructions, and tutorials, please visit

I am told regularly by concerned friends that I should not share secrets, methods and successful recipes online. I disagree. I believe we are at a stage in our evolution as a global society that all information needs to be shared freely and openly. The internet is our collective brain and even our collective consciousness. We all draw from it, and contribute to it one way or another. The time for hiding things, for secrets and shadows in the world is past. We need to share whatever we have. If we all shared freely and none of us hoarded any resources, there would be more than enough of everything to go around. There would be no lack in the world, no poverty, and likely no war. If we all actively sought opportunities to share, the transformation would be immediate.  I also believe whatever we put out there always comes back to us in whatever form we need.

So. Have fun, be responsible for your health and wellbeing, and share what you have.

And always, always keep clear notes!

Your future self will thank you.


Muscle & joint rub from a whole extract of Spruce and Pine oleo-resins
Muscle & joint rub from a whole extract of Spruce and Pine oleo-resins
 Therapeutic Chest Rub from whole Spruce and Pine extract
Therapeutic Chest Rub from whole Spruce and Pine extract
 A wonderful rejuvenative skin creme Simply Frankincense with no added fragrances or extra ingredients.e made from the whole oleo-resin of Maydi-Frankincense Frereana.
A wonderful rejuvenative skin creme Simply made from the whole oleo-resin of Maydi-Frankincense Frereana extracted with Jojoba oil. No added ingredients or  essential oils.


  1. I have read your article on the oil extraction of different resins. Will it be possible to use the same method to extract the dragon blood?

    1. Hi Ms Isa.
      Yes, most types of dragons blood resin will yield themselves partially to a hot oil extraction. There will always be some compounds that do not dissolve in the oil.

  2. Hello, can I put a lid on mason jar when it is being bathed in bain Marie, picture shows them with lids ?

    1. Hi Mandi. Yes you can as long as you do not put it on tight. I do so sometimes to keep splashes of water from spraying in.

    2. Yes, I sometimes put a lid on the jars but very loosely and only to keep water from splashing in if I don’t have a lot of clearance in the water bath between the water and the tops of the jars. I do not tighten the lids.

  3. Hi Dan,
    You are doing a great Job,
    can you help me how to extract oil from Myrrh?
    Thank You In Advance!

    1. Hi Assegid.
      The essential oil can be extracted from Myrrh via distillation and an oil extract can be produced by infusing powdered Myrrh in a carrier oil of your choice. The process is identical to that used to make a Frankincense oleo-extract, however, Myrrh contains a substantially smaller amount of both resin and essential oil and yields these more reluctantly. A longer stay in the hot water bath and extended maceration of up to 6 months give better results with Myrrh. Even then, because of the reduced amount of essential oils in the resin, there will not be as strong a fragrance as a Frankincense oleo-extract.

  4. Hi a few questions. What carrier oil will keep the longest (years?) when infusing with frankincense resin. What is the best frankincense to use for a most fragrant aroma when infusing in oil.

    1. Hi Jesse.
      When it comes to choosing the best Frankincense fragrance, it really is a personal choice and everyone is different. As far as a carrier oil that will keep for a long time, I use Jojoba or Fractionated Coconut oil. Both will last many years under normal conditions.

  5. Thank you for such a wonderful article! I was wondering if it is necessary to filter at all, or can the oil be used as is. I want to use it internally for medicinal purposes. Also can it be used immediately instead of letting it sit for a few weeks. Is there ay advantage to using the oil medicinally rather than just the ground powder? Will it digest better? Thank you.

  6. Hello Dan! I think I found a way to get the harder older resin powders to melt into my jojoba. And I have a question further down.

    I infuse my jojoba with cottonwood buds first. Strain and put the strained oil in a jar in a ban marie to warm up.

    Meanwhile, I have powdered my pine/fir/spruce resin I collect (most of it hard) the Frankincense oleoresin powder I had get from you. (to powder I put the chunks in a ziplock bag and with a mallet I gently pound the bag, put the crushed/powder resin and collect the fine powder.

    I have an old 1/2 gallon stainless steel percolating coffee pot with a spout. I add the powder resin (1/2 pine and 1/2 frank) slowly as it melts on a medium heat.

    As stir and watch, the resin slowly melts, as it accumulates I pour into the warm jojoba. Since the unmelted resins sink, it is easy to just slowly pour it off without any unmelted chunks falling in.

    It doesn’t take too long to melt the resin and add it all to the warm oil!

    So my question is – even on a med heat the resin gets pretty hot and bubbles a little. I don’t want to burn it. I am curious what your thoughts are on my process? It seem good just want to make sure I am not over heating the resin. I like that I can add the melted resin slowly into the infused oil so I don’t damage the cottonwood infusion in anyway (I do warm infusion with fresh leaf buds for this infusion). This oil I will make into a salve with beeswax etc.

    Any comments are appreciated! I see others experiments here with melting harder, older resin powders and thought I would chime in now that I have “discovered” my process in case anyone wants to offer their thoughts.

    Many blessings! Valerie

    1. Hi Valerie. Thank you for your comment. The percolating pot is a great idea. Does the resin sit at the bottom or does it dissolve and disappear into the oil? Does all the resin dissolve in the oil, or are you left with a residue after you turn off the heat? The ideal is for all if the resin to get absorbed by the carrier oil
      As long as you have the oil sitting in a water bath or a double boiler, you will never need to worry about overheating the resin. The bath will keep the temperature under 100 degrees centigrade or 212 degrees Fahrenheit.

      1. Hi Dan! Thank you for the reply! I really appreciated it. Here is my process to be more clear:

        1. I place the powdered resin into the percolating pot and heat it up to start melting the resin. An old coffee can would work fine – the spout on the percolator for pouring off the resin as it melts is convenient.
        2. I swirl the pot with the resin around on the heat.
        3. As it melts I stop and pour what has melted into the warmed oil infused with the cottonwood buds.
        3. then place the pot of resin back on the medium heat, melt some more and pour it off as it accumulates in the bottom of the pot.
        4. Very quickly all the resin has melted and poured into the warm oil.

        I’ve gotten the most dissolution of the resin with this newly discovered technique. WAY more than ever before when I would slowly sprinkle the powder into the “HOT as possible in a water bath” jojoba. With that process some melts but much does not, just clumps right away. I feel like I have to hold at the hot temp for quite some time to get more to melt but wonder if it is even melting much, now that I look back on it and have this new process to compare it to.

        I made this oil about 10 days ago and will check it today to see if it has cleared. After 4 days it was still opaque! I will send you a picture! Thanks again for the reply! 👍💕

  7. Thank you Dan for sharing such wonderful and precious knowledge in such a hugely helpful way. I found your website a couple of months ago when I wanted to know about buying a good quality Frankincense on my trip to Jordan and Israel in January. Now I’m back to learn how to use the resin I bought. I’m going to try the warm oil strategy first, though my husband might make a small distiller for us. Especially if we could also distill eucalyptus oil. Being from Australia there’s plenty of that around! Perhaps you can tell me if the same distilling method is good for eucalyptus leaves? A book I have on oils says eucalyptus is best distilled for extraction, and there’s only the one general method of distilling, right? Thought I’d ask while I’m here before ‘googling’ it. Thanks again!

    1. Hi Sharon.
      Yes! You can use the same type of distiller for eucalyptus leaves. Some folks prefer to do a hydrodistillation where the leaves are immersed in the water in a similar manner to frankincense, a hydrodistillation, and others prefer to suspend the leaves in a basket above the boiling water and perform a steam distillation. Both can be conducted in a simple still and most stills come with a basket for steam distillation from the vapours if the boiling water..

  8. Hi Dan! Thank you for this thorough article! I do have a couple questions- do you know if emu oil would make a good carrier for infusing the resin?
    Also, if it dissolves into the oil, what are we filtering out withe the pillow case/sieve?

    And you mentioned water a few times so I’m a little confused. Does the resin contain water? Will it introduce water to the oil?

    1. Hi Stephany.
      I have a customer who uses Emu oil exclusively with great success. The only drawback, as far as I know, is that it may have a limited shelf life.
      Frankincense contains oil soluble resin and water-soluble gum. After we grind the material and extract the oil soluble resin, we need to separate the water-soluble gum which remains in the oil undissolved. Hence the pillowcase.
      Regarding your last question, there is a very small % of water present in the gum and it is separated when the gum is removed.

  9. Dan, Have you ever used dmso to dissolve the oleoresin in? I know it is classified as a solvent, but it is so much more. Just curious what you thought. It has properties, I am told, like Frankincense, in that it crosses blood/brain barrier…thanks man, for all you do…

    1. Hi Frankie. As if yet, I have no personal experience with resins and DMSO. If you try it please let me know how it went.

  10. Hi Dan. I have infused frankincense in a 1:3 ratio of cold pressed extra virgin olive oil by crushing the Boswellia Sacra and putting the jars in a water bath in a crockpot for 26 hours on low. No boiling. The color is beautiful. I’m looking to have an oil I can use for topical treatment as an anti-tumor agent to help with lipomas on my arms. I have had someone tell me recently that the only way I can get the Boswellic acids I need for this use is to make a tincture. Is this true? I love your knowledge and I suspect that my oil is good. I went by instinct and love my finished product. I just wanted to run it by you. Thank you for your help and I can’t thank you enough for sharing your knowledge so I can find it.

    1. Hi Heidi.
      You are right to listen to your intuition.
      The resin acids, including the boswellic acids are indeed collected via the warm vegetable oil.
      While it is true that an alcohol tincture will collect them, it is not practical for topical use since it leaves a sticky residue of resin on the skin. An oil extract prepared just as you have done is a much better product for external use and likely delivers a higher concentration of Boswellic acids.
      A tincture collects both the water-soluble gum and the resin/essential oil while an oil extraction absorbs only the resin and essential oils.

      1. I believe the boswellic acid is in the gum, not the resin, so an oil extraction actually wouldn’t be successful for this purpose.

  11. Thank you for sharing what you know, and are learning. Hoarding comes from fear (of lack, of loss) while sharing comes from love. You are choosing love—good for you!

  12. Maybe you can help me. I have some Labdanum it’s like a dark very sticky stuff and smells very good but I am just getting interested in Essential Oils and wanted to try some health remedies and some perfumes so I got this Labdanum but no idea how to make it into something like a liquid I can use to make perfumes unless maybe wondering if I put a little in a glass jar and added some essential oils to it a few days if that would add fragrance to that oil so I would still get the fragrance of the Labdanum and can then I guess strain it and add a couple more essential oils and come up with something that would work because I don’t see anything else I can do especially because it’s extremely sticky. I would appreciate any advice I can get. Got to get off here a little while and so glad maybe I finally found something that will help with this Labdanum.

    1. Hi Brenda.
      You could indeed infuse your Labdanum resin in an essential oil for a very potent fragrance material.
      Traditionally, Labdanum resin is infused in either alcohol or a carrier oil, filtered, and then added to a blend or a perfume product. These are all options for you.

  13. Thank you /dan for sharing your information. I agree with you about free sharing and do this on my own blog. Grateful for the information on Frankincense. I will be trying out your methods.

  14. Thank you so much Dan for this excellently written article . It gave me exactly the information I needed and I particularly agree wholeheartedly with your feelings about the world’s need for this kind of open sharing at this time .

  15. This was very informative! Do you think I could use coconut oil instead of olive oil? Thank you very much for all info!!

    1. Absolutely Amanda!
      Most vegetable oils available for use in cosmetics, (or food), are suitable carriers and will dissolve the resins.

      1. Rendered pigs lard was used in times past as a base for medicinal ointments and cosmetic creams. Today is is usually oils produced from trans fats in cosmetics and commercial ointments & creams..Pigs fat in particular is very similar to & permeable to human skin. Vegetable and seed oils have become popular only very recently

  16. Dear Dan,

    thank you very much for sharing this article! Yesterday, I did my own oil extract of Boswellia papyrifera into fractionated coconut oil. The colour turned out exactly as yours, however, the smell surprised me. I expected similar smell as to when frankincense is incensed but the smell of my oil reminds me of fresh lemons instead. It has a very subtle acidic smell. Is it correct or should I be suspicious something turned wrong during the process of making? Thanks

    1. Hi Eva
      Usually the scent of the infused oil is similar to but stronger than the fresh resin. Not at all like the burned resin.
      If your oil does not smell like the fresh resin then I would check your oil to see if it has gone bad or if any of your tools and vessels came in contact with a substance that could pass on it’s fragrance to your product.
      A good way to capture the scent of your fresh resin is to hold some if it tightly in your clenced hand, let it sit and warm for a few minutes, then put your nose to the warm resin and gently inhale.

    2. HI dan, question when do you know that you’ve extracted all the frankincense tears into the oil? first i ground up the tears into a fine powder, then i put it in a jar and added oil to it, then placed that into a pot of water and turned up the water so it was just under boil, very hot, i still see lots of white sediment at the bottom of the oil after a few hours, does it stay like this? or am i done? thanks, anna

      1. Hi Heidi.
        I tested the results after infusing powdered Frankincense for 3 hours in a boiling water-bath and letting the infusion stand for 4 weeks. I found I had extracted approximately 90% of the oil-soluble resins. The sediment at the bottom of your infusion is mostly the water-soluble gum that will not dissolve in the warm oil. Once filtered out it makes a great exfoliant in soaps and other skincare products.

  17. Hello Dan
    I am interested in your point of view on the following idea: dissolve boswellia tears in turpentine.
    I take turpentine (internally) periodically and recently got interested in boswellia. So I was wondering if steeping frank tears in clean turpentine for a certain number of days or weeks (to be determined) would extract the boswellic acid?
    As an experiment I have a tablespoon soaked in turp in a small bottle sitting for a few days and start seeing a thick cloud forming on top of the tears and was wondering if that’s the therapeutic part or something else.
    Your comment much appreciated.

    1. Hi Sam.

      Yes, Frankincense oleoresin will dissolve in Turpentine and other essential oils in much the same way as it does in warm oil and alcohol.
      The water soluble gum will be left behind as granules that you can sediment or filter out.
      Heating thr mixture in a water bath will help dissolve the resin and speed up the process. I suggest a gentle heat between 40-60 degrees centigrade. It will benefit from macerating for a few weeks in a warmish spot. I would leave it to sit 4-6 weeks before filtering and bottling it. Make sure you powder the material as fine as you can. The thick cloud you saw floating in the turpentine is likely the resin dissolving in the turpentine.
      Good luck with your experiments!!

  18. Hey Dan, thank you so much for your post. I utilized your instructions to dissolve dragon’s blood in jojoba oil. I may have been a little impatient but my mixture didn’t seem to reach saturation until I had close to a 13% resin to oil mixture at 212F. I was hoping to create a mixture I could use to sent candles and was wondering if you had any suggestions that might help. Thanks so much

    1. Hi Bryan.
      There are 3 or 4 different species of trees that provide what we call Dragons Blood resin. Each has a different chemical makeup and reacts differently than the other in solvents.
      In general, the Dragons Blood I have worked with, Dracaena Cinnabari, dissolves easily in alcohol and partially in warm fixed oils.
      It has little to no essential oils or scent until burned and is pretty much a pure resin.
      The only alternative I can think of is to try dissolving the powdered resin in hot candle wax and perhaps leaving the finely powdered resin in your product so the aroma of the resin is released when it comes in contact with the flame of your candle.

      1. Thanks Dan. I’m currently using Daemonorops draco but plan on experimenting with some of the other types in the future. I’ll give your advice a try and let you know how it turns out!

  19. Hey Dan – I made the Boswellia Neglecta balm medicine following your instructions (with your powder) and it came out wonderfully. I gifted bottles to friends and family for Christmas. A friend told me yesterday that she shared some with a friend who’s been sick and her coughing subsided for 4 hours. Amazing medicine and fun to make.

    Making the next batch on the eclipse and will add the vitamin e this time. Oops. Thank you so much for sharing your wisdom, so that I can help my family and friends. Safe travels if you’re still out gallivanting! You’re a wonderful human being!

  20. Dear Dan
    I have really been inspired by your site, thankyou very much.
    I am going to run a workshop tomorrow and we will be making a chest rub using pine lump resin. I took on board what you said about Francincense, by the way.
    My query is, what exactly is pine lump resin. Has it been processed, it looks really clean and a little like amber glass. Is it actually Rosin? I of course bought it rather than harvested it, as I just wanted to see what it was. Basically what I am asking, is it (in your opinion), suitable and safe to use in a salve?
    I am a herbalist and have only just ventured into resins for salves.
    Thankyou in advance, Helen

    1. Hi Helen.
      What you have is indeed Rosin which is the byproduct of distilling the fresh Pine sap and removing the essential oils. It should dissolve in the hot oil in your water bath. Though it may not have the strong Pine aroma of fresh sap, you will be able to add essential oils of your choice to the product during the cool down phase and before you pour the salve into containers.

  21. Hi Dan,
    Have you played around with the Soxhlet apparatus yet. I remember you had expressed an interest in it in the past.

  22. hello! ive found your blog after reading up on the wonderful properties of frankincense. ive bought some resin and ground into a poweder so the next steo is oil extraction. I want to use either argan or rosehip oil. to heat up can i do so on a stove if i dont have a heating plate?

    1. Hi Yunyi.
      Both Argan oil and rosehip oil will work to extract the resin and Boswellic acids from Frankincense. Also, any heat source will suffice for the process. However, I do not recommend heating your oils directly on the stove-top, hotplate or gas burner. Use a water-bath to regulate the temperature of the oils. The water will ensure the temperature does not go above 100 degrees Centigrade, and thus save your oils from either combusting, oxidizing, or spoiling. Some oils are more temperature sensitive than others. For the infusion of resin, one only needs a temperature of 40-60 degrees Centigrade and a bit of patience. If you process your extract in a double boiler/Bain Marie/Water-bath it will be much easier to ascertain and control the temperature of the process and ensure a high quality finished product.

  23. hiii
    im ramees….could anyone suggest me the best machine suitable to extract frankinsence oil and its process??

  24. Regarding the suitable amount of Boswellia for oral application, up to 3 grams per day should be a safe dose. This amount was used in clinical trials at the University of Würzburg by the Investigator Oliver Werz, one of the leading scientist in germany in this field.
    I try to involve the regular consumption of Boswellia in my daily food input, without being forced to swallow capsules at several times a day, so I had the idea of using one or more teaspoons of olive oil solution of Boswellia as an additive to my usual olive oil consumption.
    Did not try it until now, because I was too lazy for making the extract, but surely I will do so in future. I bought the simple Boswellia Serrata, because it was the cheapest variety for experiments.
    I tried else to use this B. Serrata as chewing gum, because this could be too a simple way to involve the consumption of frankinsense easily in the daily usage, but this was a flop, because this variety of frankinsense at least does not have a strong flavour or scent, anyway the Boswellia Serrata I used. May be, that more expensive Varieties, such as B. Frereana, are better suitable as chewing gum.

  25. I normally get myrh and frankincense cinamon, bay leave and cloves and add to a boiling water , cover it for few min and turn it off and leave it there, I use it for bath , or final rinse water to cleanse my kids and myself , it make us feel great , to cleanse my house I burn palo santo, the water is bitter and whiter some times i drink a table spoonif i feel down or with pain somewhere , they dissapear straight away , all the resin disolve , only a bit gummy stay around but soft if i press them , of course the pot sides get stuck with the gum I suppose . Thanks for sharing your knowledge and am I doing something wrong ?

    1. Hi.
      The “gum” that floats around your pot and gets stuck to the side is actualy the resin and contains most of the therapeutic resin acids such as the Boswellic acids. However, depending on the type of Frankincense you used, you likely had a bit of an emulsion of the oil and water soluble compounds in your pot, (the cloudiness of the water), which means you were likely getting some of the resin acids when you drank your tablespoons of the brew. I would collect this sticky gum and put it to use if possible since it contains the Boswellic acids.

  26. Hello joanne and Dan,
    Can I use Uunsi as myrrh and incense ?? Can i dissolve it in alcohol? Hot oil? It is a truly exceptional product, thank you.

    1. Hi Cathy. Uunsi will certainly transfer its fragrance to both oil and alcohol. You will have to experiment a bit with the ratio because it is very intense.

    1. It likely wouldn’t hurt Mike, though it might be easier to make separate caps for each product. Taking them separately could give you a better idea which was helping and how. If both were helpful you could consider a blend of the two.

  27. I’m wondering if you need to dilute this as you would an essential oil for topical use as it says oleo-resin is composed of volatile oils or essential oils. Would the infusion make it the same strength as an essential oil?

    1. Hi Susie. Distilled essential oils are highly concentrated and are 100% essential oils which can be harsh and unhealthy if used undiluted. The natural oleoresin or oleo gum resin of Frankincense contains only around 10% essential oils on average. The infusion of Frankincense in oil actually reduces the % of essential oils by 3 or 5 times depending on the ratio of oil to oleoresin you used. This means that in an infusion of Frankincense in vegetable oil at a ratio of 1:3 you would have 1/3 the essential oils naturally present or about 3% and in a 1:5 infusion you would have about 2% essential oil of Frankincense. This type of infusion can be used directly on the skin with no need for further dilution.

      1. After adding frankincense resin to water then let it simmer the water turns white like milk and a yellow sticky resin will settle at first it is soft like a taffie when cooled down it is a hard resin which is easy to grind to a powder Is this yellow resin what you would want to keep and use by mixing it in another oil ? I found it so much easier to do it this way then to try to push it through a filter which I do not think could be done what little bark may be in it is easy enough to pick out Is it this the resin you are extracting ?
        any reply I would be gratful for

  28. I just found this astonshing site on my search for recipes/preparations for medical application of frankincense, both on the skin and internal. Information here is very comprehensive, and, even better, you may find practical know-how. Thank You very much, Dan, for sharing Your knowledge.
    Christian (from Southern Germany)

    1. I discovered this site two years and made a big batch of frankincense oil to give as Xmas gifts to my friends with bad knees, myself included. Everyone loved it and said it gave them better relief than anti-inflammatories. I have a batch cooking in the crackpot right now and next week I am off to Guatemala where I usually buy frankincense by the pound! Thank you for sharing this information. It’s been a godsend.

      1. Thank you for sharing your findings Carl!
        It may be a type of Bursera that is available in Guatemala,(Bursera microphilia?). I don’t think there are any representatives of the Boswellia family that grow in South America. Though they are of the same family, the Burseracaea, I believe the Burseras have different chemical compounds. It would be interesting to learn what medicinal properties they possess and whether there are local, cultural uses for the resin from a medicinal point of view.

      2. to be honest, Dan, I’m not sure the frankincense that I buy in Guatemala actually comes from there. Considering the number of religious ceremonies that take place almost weekly, I would bet that it is imported and this time I will ask the vendor. There are entire stalls in the central market that sell nothing but various types of resin, and the frankincense is sold from 50-gallon burlap bags. This trip I will pay attention to the other resins they have. Until I discovered your site, I had only ever used frankincense to purify my house.

  29. Some articles showed that Boswellia resins have antioxidant properties, as you are an expert please can you tell me which part of oleo gum resin is responsible for the antioxidant activity?

    1. Hi Linda.
      I am far from an expert, more of a student of these things. I have gone over the research and so far, antioxidant activity of different Frankincense species is displayed in both the water extracts which are mostly the water-soluble gum portion and the alcohol extracts which contain the whole oleo gum resin. I have yet to find a study that pinpoints the location of the antioxidant compounds or associates them specifically with the gum, resin or volatile parts of Frankincense. That being said, many essential oils exhibit antioxidant properties, but from what I can tell, the Frankincense extracts have a greater antioxidant effect than the essential oil alone.
      If you do come across any information that sheds light on the specific antioxidant compounds in Frankincense, please let me know. Maybe then I will have an answer next time someone asks this question.

  30. Hi Dan,

    I apllied your instructions for preparing extraction of frankincense, but I used cold pressed nigella sativa (Black cumin seed) oil instead of olive oil. Extraction has very bitter taste and hard to consume it by drinking directly. How was the taste of your extraction with olive oil? If I add more oil, can I lower the bitter taste?

    Thank you.

    1. Hi Baris.
      My extraction in Olive oil was pretty bitter too. You can definitely try diluting with more oil and see if that makes it more palatable. You could also try mixing some honey in with it. I have found it is easier for me to take 1/2 to 1 level teaspoon of the powdered fresh resin with water and no longer consume the oil. The powder can also be encapsulated easily which completely bypasses the issues of taste.

  31. Hi Dan,

    I wish that I had found this website sooner. About two months ago I bought some powdered myrrh gum and heated it up in olive oil over a double boiler for a bunch of hours. Then I jarred it up and have been shaking it everyday for about two months. What I’d like to know is how much powdered myrrh gum will be left when the process is done. In other words, how do I know when enough’s enough?



    1. Hi Jamie.
      You did exactly as I would with the Myrrh powder. Since myrrh has much more water-soluble gum than Frankincense, you are going to have a lot of undissolved powder left over after an oil infusion/extraction. Frankincense contains an average of 20% gum, while Myrrh has about 65%.
      The method I use to see how much of the resin has dissolved in the oil is this-I press out as much of the oil from the spent material, then mix the residue in warm water. The water-soluble gum will dissolve in the water and what is left will be mainly resin that did not dissolve in the oil. Myrrh is notoriously difficult to extract with oil. After running the oil/Myrrh solution through the ht water bath, I will put it in a warmish place and keep checking it till its colour and fragrance cease to deepen or intensify.
      In the case of Frankincense I found that a minimum of 4 weeks will get most of the compounds out of the oleoresin and I performed the above test to find only 5%-10% of the resin did not dissolve in the oil. I haven’t done this test with Myrrh though I have done the same type of extraction with it. I found the Myrrh oil continued to become more fragrant even after 6 weeks of sitting.

  32. I didn’t have a bunch of time in my schedule, but needed to make a non alcohol frankincense extract for a medicine, so I decided to use my slow cooker for the water bath. My question is, what does the oil look like once it is ready to be taken out of the heat? I brought it to a boil in a separate pot before transferring it to the slow cooker. Using the 1:3 ratio, my jar looks decidedly cloudy and a bit gritty after about 5 hours, so I’m not sure how to tell if my resin has dissolved. I used a spice grinder, but I’m now wondering if the b.serrata was powdered enough. I used cold pressed olive oil, as was recommended in your original recipe.
    I’ve done a fair bit of canning, so I am familiar with water baths, and since this was not in the water to be sealed, I saw no logical problem with using the slow cooker, but if that is part of the problem, I have enough to start over. I’d be sad, but I could.

    1. Autumn, I apologise for the delay getting back to you and realize this won’t be of as much help. I have been travelling and it takes me a while to get settled back in to my routines.
      -Grinding the Frankincense to a fine powder is of great help in extracting the resin and essential oils from older or more brittle resins.
      A slow cooker can work as long as it reaches 100 degrees centigrade and keeps your solution close to 100 degrees for a few hours.
      -You will see some cloudiness in the mix, often this is from the water-soluble gum portion and will filter out for the most part.
      -I usually keep the mix in the water-bath for 3-5 hours, then I let it sit in a warmish place and shake it daily just as I do with alcohol tinctures. I notice the solution of oil and resin gets more and more fragrant for about 4 weeks. When it seems it is no longer growing in fragrance, that is when I filter it out and consider it ready.
      -I have taken the residue, pressed out all the oil, and washed it in warm water to dissolve the water soluble gum, to find I have extracted between 90% to 95% of the resin based on the amount that will not dissolve in the water. This is one way to test your product and see if you indeed have collected most of the resin in your extract.
      I w\hope this was of some help, even if a bit late for your earlier project.

  33. Dan,
    My husband and I both love the Frankincense and Myrrh smell and priced the essential oil in the health food store and found it to be very expensive. We bought the myrrh powder and he crushed the frankincense himself. We mixed it with olive oil but could not tell or smell any difference. So i found your website and saw where you said to heat the oil. That did the trick and got the scent going. Thank you so much for your website and knowledge.

    1. Carla, thank you for sharing your experience. It is gratifying to know I have been of help in some way. If you have any questions as you explore these beautiful oleoresins please let me know.

  34. Can I use Myrrah oil to make myrrah salve? If so, where would you recommend I but the oil?
    I have severe psoriasis on feet and hands and quiet a bit on my body. I bought some myrrah salve an d it has really helped me, but so expensive for 2 oz. and it takes so much.
    If this can be done, will you give me the recipe and instructions?

    1. Hi.
      Myrrh essential oil is dear but could be used in your salve. There is an affordable Myrrh resinoid available that has more of the beneficial compounds the essential oil does not contain and it might work well for you. The third option is for you to process fresh Myrrh oleoresin into an oil by hot infusion. It is more difficult than Frankincense and takes longer to prepare, but the instructions are the same as my instructions for making an infused oil of Frankincense.
      The 4th option you could try is making a salve from Pine or Spruce sap. I have a client who swears by it and finds relief for his Psoriasis.

      1. Dan,
        Thanks for your regarding myrrah salve. You mentioned Pine sap. We have plenty of pine trees. Will you tell me how to make a salve from pine sap, we call it pine tar, I think it is the same thing.

      2. Hi Littledove. Please find instructions for making salves and other products from fresh pine sap/pitch here-

  35. Thank you for posting your knowledge. I have just combined resins of frankincense and myrrh with a few different plants to infuse all together to use for skin care. Was going to do a simple 6 week infusion. Now I realize I may need to heat it up a bit to get it going. I will experiment with this to see how all combines. If anything other than the expected outcome happens. I will give you an update to share. I’m interested to see how it will turn out! Thank you ever so much. Absolutely love your blog.

  36. I was wondering if you have heard of the magical butter pot used for Cannibas oil and was wondering if this could be used to make frankincense oil or any tinctures for that matter, since it heat very low and stirs the product every 30 seconds for 4 hours I that this would be a good way to do it.

    1. Hi Lorraine.
      Unfortunately I have zero experience with Cannabis, the tools and methods for its processing. Stirring and warming an oil extraction for 4 hours is a useful and practical feature, though both an oil extract and an alcohol tincture will need to sit and macerate afterwards for a few weeks.

    2. Hi Lorraine!

      I was wondering the same thing myself, but I actually decided to play it safe and I’ve powdered down the resin for the magic butter machine. Alternatively, I’ve used a double-boiler to cook down the resin wit a fixed oil into an oil to add to tinctures. If you’re using for antidepressant or circulation, add scullcap oil and cook w. the resin. The latter option took about 2 hours however….

  37. Sounds so cool! Thanks for sharing! Is it okay if I pick your brains for a bit? If I were to simply soak a small piece of resin (myrrh and or frankincense) in fractioned coconut oil to use as a baby blessing oil, would that be safe? I know essential oils (myrrh and frankincense) are said to be too strong for babies so I thought maybe the raw resin soaked in oil would still have a little bit of therapeutic benefits without being too powerful topically. Thoughts? Thanks so much!

    1. Hi Courtney.
      To the best of my knowledge, a bit of oil infused with raw Frankincense will do no harm to a baby. Not using concentrated essential oil in your blend is wise.

  38. Hi Dan,

    Thanks for all the very useful info. I am, however, a little confused about one specific point. In this post, the instructions state: “In a water bath heat up 1 part oleo-resins by weight to 2-3 parts oil in a glass or mason jar”. But in another post (I don’t know if it’s earlier or later, since no date is provided) – – the instructions require the oil menstruum and the resin to be heated separately before mixing, with the specific warning: “Please note-You will encounter difficulties if you do any of the following-
    If you heat the oil and the resin in the same container”. Which is the better procedure?
    Thanks in advance

    1. Hi Kevin.
      I apologize for the delay responding to your question! As the years pass, I learn more, and ideally, should revisit and edit older posts with new experience for cohesiveness. However, I find I am still trying to keep up with the new posts that demand my attention!
      In my experience it is always best to work with separate containers for each material in the water bath, they just blend more easily.
      I realize that I come across a bit like a water bath Nazi at times, I’m working on that… I do however believe everyone should learn and practice using a water bath before they start microwaving their ingredients in a single bowl.
      That being said, I have found some ingredients demand separate vessels in the water bath or they do not blend or bond properly and tend to separate or granulate in the finished product. Other ingredients can be melted together successfully in a single container.
      Vegetable oils will blend easily in a single container with Beeswax or microcrystalline wax for instance while Carnauba wax, Candelilla wax, Cocoa and Shea butter can granulate in the final product unless heated to the same high temperature as the carrier before blending. Some people will freeze or whip the products to avoid granulation, but the problem can be averted earlier in the water bath.
      Regarding soft, pliable oleoresins high in volatile oils, like fresh Pine or Spruce pitch/ sap, a single vessel works just fine.
      I found when working with hard, brittle or older oleoresins like Frankincense Frereana, or if you are making a product with a pure resin such as is left over after a Frankincense distillation, (the B. Serrata mentioned in the post?), melting the resin separately in the water bath, then mixing in equally hot carrier oil in small increments like a roux, gives me a superior product and an even mixture quickly. Like thickening a stew with cornstarch, a carefully prepared roux creates a smooth lumpless product which blends homogenously with your next set of, (hot), ingredients.
      If you are making an oil infusion or extract of an oleo gum resin such as Myrrh or the rest of the Frankincense types, after powdering fine they can be blended together in one container in the water bath, stirred for a few hours hot, then set in a warm place for a good length of time to macerate like a regular tincture or oil infusion.
      An alcohol tincture of any oleoresin or oleo gum resin will form a solution quickly if warmed in one vessel in the water bath for a short period of time.
      I hope this was of some help Kevin and will serve till I can go over the posts and recipes and clarify them. If not, please don’t hesitate to contact me here and I will make sure I don’t take so long to respond.

      1. Hi again Dan,

        It’s been really a very long time since I came back to your site – almost year to very the very day!
        The fact is, I’ve had some serious health issues in the meanwhile, much more serious than anything curable by boswellic acids alone – by a really long shot.
        However, I’m doing much better now and have been experimenting with various methods. I live in Italy and have plenty of friends in Africa, especially Mozambique. Anyways, since certain parts of East Africa (Somalia and Eritrea, in particular) used to be Italian colonies until the fall of the Fascist era in the aftermath of Italy’s (very welcome) total defeat in WWII, the country still maintains close trading ties with the region, and that, linked to the fact that the Catholic Church is a major consumer of incense, means that most types of African incense are generally not to so difficult to come by here, at reasonable prices.
        So, I managed to get my hands on several kilos of high quality incense (including Boswellia Serrata from India, through a German distributor), and thought I could in some small way follow in your footsteps by sharing the tiny amount of knowledge I’ve gained in the past year.
        I tried both your methods (since I waited quite a bit for a reply whilst you were apparently away, I just went ahead a tried my own experiments!), i.e. trying to extract boswellic acids using oils by heating the resin and oil in the same container and also in different containers, in a bain marie). I also tried grinding the resin myself using your freeze and grind method, and checking how that did against purchasing pre-ground resin – duly certified to contain nothing but the ground incense). I found that pre-ground resin is superior to home-ground for resin extraction purposes, primarily, I believe because of the larger quantities that are ground in a single batch which allows for the use of sophisticated equipment (the resin is ground in Germany). The powder I received is very finely ground, almost like dust (which would possibly not be good to inhale!).
        I however found that when using this very finely ground powder, heating the resin separately from the oil promotes clumping since the very finely ground particles tend to clump together rather rapidly under heat.
        I used a 1:4 ratio of resin to oil (20 g resin with 80 g oil). I oil I used was not really an oil but a processed product known as “Medium Chain Triglycerides” (MCT) aka fractionated coconut oil or “capric/caprylic triglicerides”.
        I opted for this because of it both highly durable and resistant to heat and oxidation (almost indefinitely) AND at the same time, can be consumed internally whilst also blending easily into creams, lotions and salves for topical application. Furthermore, MCT has no odour of its own, which allows the full scent of the incense resin to take centre stage.
        The home ground incense, gives a coarser powder, but provides greater interest, since as it ages, the uppermost layer of the sediment becomes finer and finer at each weekly (sometimes only monthly!) shake and one can actually see the powder turn to sedimenary dust.
        I’ve tried (a) keeping the mixture heated (whether in a single container from the very outset or blended following preheating in separate containers) at 100°C (measured using an infrared thermometer pointed at the very centre of the container) for five to six hours, and filtered while still hot; (b) same as (a) but with the temperature maintained at around 75-80°C; (c) same as (b) but keeping the blend unfiltered after cooling for several months; (d) same as (b) but continuing to maintain the blend heated at about 40°C using a yoghurt maker for about a week, and then filtering the warm mixture without further maceration; (e) same as (d) but leaving the blend to macerate from a few weeks to several months.
        To my mind, the results using method (a) were quite good but were superseded by all of the other methods. The best results were obtained – in my highly subjective opinion since I have no way of objectively measuring boswellic acid content and base my findings purely on sensory appeal in terms of scent and the colour/cloudiness of the resultant oleous extract – using method (e), followed very closely by method (d) – in fact neither my wife nor kids could distinguish between the results of methods (d) and (e). The next best results were obtained using method (c). The results obtained using methods (a) and (b) were not distinguishable at all. As a result, I don’t feel that heating up to 100°C is necessary for several hours especially since this increases the risk of scorching at the bottom of the container. I have improved my bain marie quite a bit by using a round fish-bowl looking heavy vase about 12 cm in diameter that floats in the bain marie when half full, leaving the oil evenly surrounded with water since no part of the inner menstruum+resin container is in direct contact with bottom or sides of the hot water bath container. The only hitch is that you’ve got to check water levels more often since as the water evaporates the vase obviously tends to sink. The vase is sealed on the top using a silicon stretch wrap.
        I have tried the above methods with various types of boswellia, including rivae, neglecta, frereana and serrata.
        I have also used myrrh but have found that myrrh necessarily requires maceration for at least three months before decanting/filtering.
        All the members of my family have found the resulting oil-based extracts very useful, especially for skin problems (minor rashes as well as persistent chronic skin allergies), small burns, fungal attackes (tinea sp. on various parts of the body, especially under toenails). It is also much appreciated simply for its scent, especially since the MCT oil leaves a dry feeling on the skin, is quickly absorbed and does not leave stains on clothing.
        Sorry for the rather long-winded post. Feel free to edit out useless/boring/repetitive stuff (or even the entire post altogether if others find it too intrusive!).
        Above all, keep up the good work!

      2. Thank you for your in-depth and detailed record of your explorations Kevin! I I especially appreciate your comparison of the different processing methods and their results. It answered some questions for me. I think other readers will also benefit from your work. I hope your condition continues to improve and you continue to add to our communal knowledge far into the future. Keep up the good work my friend!!

  39. Vrry nice read. Where are places I can purchase these different variety of frankincense. I’ve worked with a few locally harvested cedar and pine resins.

    1. Hi Amaru. I sell a variety of Frankincense and Myrrh resins and essential oils in my Etsy shop here-

  40. Reblogged this on On Becoming a Lemonade Maker and commented:
    I’m starting to experiment with making my own Frankincense oil after buying some expensive extract and having very good results with it as a rub for sore muscles and joint pains!

    My first attempt wasn’t yielding the results I had hoped for, so I jumped on the Internet to find an article which would explain the process for me!

    Here’s a great article I found and I hope it helps you too!

  41. My first attempt was with three tablespoons of tiny tears of Gum Olibanum I had bought as Frankincense, which I put directly into a half cup of coconut oil in a metal bowl and put in directly on the stove on low heat for a couple of hours.

    None of the grains appeared to dissolve, but now that I’ve read your article I’ll try the water bath method after grinding the grains into powder.

    I’ve transferred my first attempt into a glass jar and will use it topically as I moisturizer with coconut oil. It does have a very faint scent, so perhaps letting it sit for a while will help it to release more goodness into the oil?

    1. Hi Tamara. Yes, I find that letting the oil/Frankincense sit in a warmish place for 4 to 6 weeks definitely helps more of the fragrance transfer to the oil. You can also try grinding the oily grains in a mortar and pestle even after you have set them to macerate in the oil. It’s a little messy, but well worth the effort.

      1. Thank you Dan! I did a second try, pounding the grains inside of a couple of coffee filters folded into a type of envelope. Those I added to a glass jar with some olive oil in a water bath. I got a much stronger scent that time. I strained the oil into a small glass jar and reserved the grains in a container to allow them to continue to dissolve.

        Another experiment was with dissolving the grains directly into water in a glass jar in a water bath to make Frankincense water. The grains dissolved very well, the water is now cloudy white, and I can add a little (a couple tablespoons full) to juice or my coffee. I’m trying this out for an overall tonic, to treat my joint pains since it’s an anti-inflammatory and to see if it will treat some early skin carcinomas.

      2. Sounds great Tamara! This type of tea/infusion of Frankincense has been used for thousands of years medicinally. I would be interested to hear how it worked for you.

      3. That’s what I read too! I’m giving it a good shot! So far I haven’t had any adverse reactions, I’ve only started yesterday so it’s too soon to see any changes for the positive yet. I’ll try to remember to come back and let you know, but I might get caught up in the hustle bustle down the road. (Can’t think of an appropriate emoticon to use here! Lol)

        I will be writing about it on my own blog once I have more feedback to give folks!

  42. Hello.. I appreciate this.. I am Kenyan bt this is what I plan to do in my undergraduate project.. I just like this.. Thanks

  43. Hello, could you possibly give me approximate of how many grams of sap would distill to approximately how many ml of essential oil? Thanks!

    1. Hi Lori.
      On the average most Frankincense will yield about 5% essential oil or 50 ml per kilogram when fresh. After a few years or poor storage conditions the yield may go down a bit.
      Fresh Pine and Spruce saps will give about 10% essential oil in distillation.
      I hope this was of some help.

  44. Hi Dan,

    Thank you for such a great and informative site!

    I have just started “working” (it is really more “playing” for me) with essential oils and resins in making my own lotion bars, oil bars and bath melts. I have some myrrh gum pieces and frankincense tears. I would like to make an oleo-resin extract using your water-bath method. I am planning to mix the frankincense and myrrh oils anyway, so is it okay if I distill them together (I’m planning to make only 1 jar as this is my first time)? Also, is it okay if I use almond oil to do this? Finally, can I re-use any pieces strained from the oil as incense or something else (It would be a shame to throw it out)?

    Thank you so much,


    1. Hi Alison. Thanks for dropping by and checking out my resin recipes.
      To answer your question,,,,
      I’m pretty sure you can use almond oil for the extract/infusion . I haven’t tried it, but it should work as well as Olive, Jojoba and coconut oils.
      The only problem I foresee mixing both the Frankincense and the Myrrh in the waterbath, is that the Myrrh is more of a slow poke and in general a more difficult oleoresin to work with. I’m not sure, but it may have to do with its high water soluble gum content.
      I am finding that Myrrh needs a long time to release its essential oils or resin to the oil. Much longer than any Frankincense. It seems to need a month or so to sit and infuse after the water bath.
      If you put them both in the same vessel, you might find that you have a predominance of Frankincense fragrance in your filtered oil and little of the Myrrh. Of course you could leave them both to infuse together in the oil for a number of weeks till you achieve the desired effect.
      I should and will write a post on Myrrh and its different behaviour. It’s on my list…..
      Alison, please keep in mind that you have to grind the oleoresins to a very very fine powder to facilitate this process. It will simply not work with chunks of Frankincense or Myrrh. The only exception to this is if you are using Frankincense Frereana from Somalia. It is the only Frankincense that will completely dissolve in the oil even when solid pieces are used.
      Also, once you have bathed the oleoresins in oil, they are pretty much kaput as far as being used for incense since it will be impossible to get rid of the oil or the smell of the vegetable oil burning on your censer. Yuch.
      I hope this was of some help.

  45. Hi Dan,

    Thank you for so much information!
    Do you think I can use these extracts for cold process soap making and do you know if the smell will resist the lye mixture?

    1. Hi Sophie.
      To the best of my knowledge it is possible to use these oil extracts of frankincense in soap making. Though soapmaking is not my forte, I think you would use the oil based extract the same way you would use the raw oil such as olive oil in a soap. I can’t tell you how the lye would affect the scent, but adding a bit of the essential oil of the frankincense you used would make up for any essential oils that evaporated in the process. Some experimentation would be needed either way. The therapeutic properties of the resin portion would likely stay unchanged in your finished product. (The extract gives you both the resin and the essential oils of the Frankincense.) You could also have a look at my later post on an easy extraction method for frankincense that leaves you with the whole oleo resin using water as a solvent and could be incorporated in soap much like pine sap is.

      Please let me know if I can be of further help.

    2. Hi Sophie.
      Yes, I think you can use the extract in cold process soap making and I don’t think the lye will neutralize the fragrance. If there is less aroma of Frankincense than you are aiming for, you can always add the essential oil to your soap as well. Since I am not an expert on soap making and I don’t know of others who have done this, you might have to do some experimenting.

  46. Hi Dan,
    If I were to do this extraction method, I would actually use coconut oil as I would then want use it medicinally in bullet proof coffee. Would this have the Boswellic acids and the AKBA in it.
    Also is, the resin that is left the water soluble part and would I be able to use it in a bath with Epsom salts for a “therapeutic” bath ?
    For making a cream are you suggesting using the oil with the sediment that you have left after the second step of pouring off the clear oil ?

    1. Hi Cathy. If you read my more recent post- it may clarify things for you, and possibly present an easier method of extracting the Boswellic acids and resin from Frankincense.
      Aside from that, the resin, and non-water-soluble portion of Frankincense contains the Boswellic acids and any AKBA in the oleoresin.
      Adding the water-soluble gums to your bath water is a great idea and should work well. There are most likely trace amounts of the Boswellic acids in it and other therapeutic compounds that are not as well researched as the resin acids.
      Regarding the creme, you could use either the clear and sedimented oil you have extracted, or as you wondered, the sediment that has been separated from the oil as long as it does not contain gritty and abrasive particles.

  47. Dear Dan,

    I have been doing a research about this topic for a while online and I have to say THIS IS UNIC! Your guide is very detail and understandable.
    I have a question for you: I want to infuse cinnamon and cassia into extra virgin olive oil. Should I follow the same procedure for the myrrh or is it better to just let the oil with the cinnamon and cassia to set in a mild temperature for couple of weeks?

    1. Hi Jose. Thank you!
      Absolutely. Traditionally spices such as these are crushed and left to infuse the oil for a few weeks in a moderately warm place. Though it might be tempting to grind them fine to speed the process, it would the be difficult to filter out the powder from your finished product. Crush them coarsely in a mortar and pestle before maceration, this will expose more material to the oil and facilitate your infusion. As far as how long to let them infuse, there are different theories and methods. I would say at least a moon cycle or a month and up to 2 months. You will likely be able to tell when your oil has reached a peak of fragrance and is no longer getting stronger. This would also be a good time to filter it. If using this method shaking it daily is good practice.
      I have not used the shorter water-bath method for these kinds of materials, but you could always try it and see if it yields good results for you…

      1. Dear Dan,

        To avoid small particles on final product, or to easier the filtering process, I was thinking to put the spices in a cloth bag and then immerse them into the oil (kind of like tea bag process.) Do you think the cloth will restrain the fragrance from infusing?

        Thank you,

      2. Hi José both these spices keep themselves pretty well together during the process of infusion. It is possible to use a cloth bag, however a bag with a fine enough weave to keep small particles from entering your oil, may also inhibit the flow of oil to your spices.
        In my experience most particles will sink to the bottom of your jar after an infusion. I usually put my material directly in the oil and filter it through a fine cloth or mesh after maceration, then let any particles settle for 2 or 3 days before I pour off the clear liquid. A little vitamin E-400 IU to a cup of your finished oil helps preserve the oil if you plan to keep it for a long time.

      3. Dear Dan,

        Thank you for your prompt reply. Last question (…I hope.) I found a very old recipe for myrrh oil and it says that for tow pounds of myrrh, use a litter or oil. Basically, they are the opposite proportions of 1 to 2-3 you use (I am not saying that your proportions are not accurate at all; as a matter fact, I agree with them 100%.) However, wanted your expert opinion about those proportions. Do you think is it doable? Any experiences with proportions like this one before?

        – To be more accurate the recipe reads: 12 pounds of myrrh, 6 pounds of Cassia, 6 pounds of cinnamon, 12 pounds of calamus and 6.2 litters of extra virgin olive oil”

        Thank you very much

      4. Hi Jose.
        Myrrh is very different and frankly more difficult to infuse in oil than any Frankincense type. Often, even in a double boiler I find I get very little essential oil or resin transferring from it. Even with very fresh material it is still loath to yield of itself.
        I would say try the recipe, or try the myrrh first and see if you get any transfer of myrrh to the oil, if you do then continue with the rest of your ingredients. The Myrrh won’t spoil if it gets a good head start and it will give you a good idea if the recipe was written from experience or from theory.
        If you do pursue this, I would be grateful to hear of your experience with it.
        Best of luck.

  48. Hey Dan!!
    First and foremost I just wanted to say I absolutely love everything about your site. The information is amazing and I love the different resins your shop has to offer.
    I had a question and was hoping you can shed some light on the situation. I recently purchased a steam distiller with two 2000ml flasks and was curious about using it for extracting essential oils from resins such a myrrh (without grinding it to a fine powder) and if perhaps this method would be okay or if it would ruin the batch and possibly damage my steam distiller.
    I was hoping it would be okay as long as I maintain a steady flow of steam with a temperature of no more than 100 degrees C with maybe 2/3 water in the first flask at all times.
    Any information on this would be very helpful. Thank you!!

    1. Hi Christopher..
      Thanks for dropping by. To answer your question, When working with the oleoresins there is no need to grind them prior to steam or hydro distillation. The gums dissolve with the hot water and vapors, while the oleo resins melt with the heat of the distillation. All in all the material breaks down in the process and makes all the volatile components accessible. Grinding the oleoresins seems to be of benefit only when extracting the oil soluble resins and volatile oils in an infusion.

  49. Hi Dan,

    Is rice bran oil not an option to use instead of olive oil.The taste is less bitter.

    All the best,


    1. Hi Erik. I haven’t looked into using Rice bran oil as a carrier oil. It may be suitable. My primary concern would be it’s longevity and whether it would resist rancidity for extended periods. I would be happy to hear how it worked for you if you use it this way…

  50. Hi Dan, I love your philosophy about sharing knowledge and the Internet. We are all opulently wealthy with the abundance of information at our fingertips! That aside, I don’t recall exactly where I read it, but it works beautifully. If you freeze the oleo-resin before you grind it, the clump factor is a non-issue. This more than likely could apply to any of the many varieties. I’ve personally used this method with a coffee grinder, frankincense and myrrh with excellent results. If using mortar and pestle, grind in small batches while leaving in the freezer. The affect of such low temperatures on the gums/resins? I’ve no idea. However, it certainly made processing a snap. Hope this can help someone.

    1. Hi Toby.
      Thank you for your comment. Well put. We are indeed opulently wealthy in the west, both in material resources and information. I wonder sometimes if anyone else sees this…. I’m happy you found the link to my post - If a little late :-D! To the best of my knowledge, no oleoresins are harmed using the freezing method and it is safe to use with all and any of these sticky materials. It works beautifully though, doesn’t it! Thank you for visiting and taking the time to share your thoughts and experiences. I hope to see you around again..

  51. Dan,
    Thank you very much for sharing your knowledge!
    I came to your website to search for information on making my own frankincense oil. I am a practicing licensed acupuncturist in Austin, Texas. My goal is to make a frankincense cream for topical use on non-healing sores for diabetic patients. I am interested in using coconut oil instead of olive oil. Do you think it would work? I may end up doing test batches, one with olive oil and one with coconut oil and see if it works similarly or if one works better than the other in function and longevity of the cream. I am trying to keep the ingredients as few a possible but I want to make sure the cream will last for at least a year.
    I cook with both olive oil and coconut oil. My olive oil is stored in the refrigerator but my coconut oil can stay at room temperature easily. I don’t want to have to keep the cream made with olive oil in cool storage to keep it from spoilage. Summertime in Texas can be challenging to keep things cool.
    Also, can you give me advice about making this cream on a new moon or a full moon? I have friends that claim their home made creams and other medicinals seem more energized or potent at different phases of the moon. What do you think?

    Thanks again,

    1. Hi Belinda.
      Thank you for your comment and some great questions!
      I am pretty sure Coconut oil will work just as well as a solvent and a carrier for the resin and essential oil portion of all types of Frankincense. Make sure to grind them fine first and heat the oleoresins with the oils with your water-bath at a boil till you are satisfied no more resins will dissolve.
      As you can likely tell, I have a weakness for extra virgin cold pressed Olive oil. I find it keeps well for a couple of years at room temperature. The resins also have a preserving effect on oils which I find lengthens the shelf-life of infused oils and salves considerably. An olive oil infusion will usually keep 2-3 years at room temperature for me, and as a salve with a little beeswax for viscosity, years longer. I haven’t tested coconut oil, if you do, perhaps you could let me know how it performed for you. If you make an oil/water emulsion and a creme from this, you will no doubt have to add a preservative or keep it sealed in the fridge.
      Sun, Moon, planets and zodiac, all impact and affect our creations. As a general rule, all types of Frankincense are ruled by the Sun. This means they are warming, expanding, (anti-inflammatory), (Assist in circulation to some degree), nourishing and supporting. The Sun rules the chest and heart area, Physically, emotionally, and spiritually. This is also heart Chakra, our emotions, which can often be the source of some of our physical ailments. Sun ruled plants can also contribute to a sunny outlook, heightened spirituality, general vitality, good self-esteem, courage, and strength. Ruled by the Sun, they are at their energetic best when the Sun is prominent. This could mean working with your oil on a Sunday, in the Hour of the Sun. Noon is a time associated with the fullness of the Sun, as is the Summer solstice etc. These are just some hints of how to work with different plant and planetary energies. There are, you will find more correlating factors as you explore this approach.
      There are different ways to work with the Moon. Preparing your medication during the new moon, or as the Moon wanes to new, would be good for reducing things, such as tumours, ulcers etc. Working at the full, or waxing to full moon would be better for medications that are supporting and nourishing the system or imbalance you are addressing. I prefer to work with the signs the moon shifts through. These are the signs of the Zodiac, and the Moon “changes clothes” every 2-2 1/2 days or so. It goes from being in the same sign as the Sun is in at the New Moon point in its cycle, and transits through the signs to be in the Sun’s opposite sign at the Full Moon etc. Leo is ruled by the Sun, so has a great affinity with Frankincense. I also find working with these placements of both the sun and the moon is effective in charging and refining my own medications. (I don’t start anything when the moon is in between signs, which is called- “Void of course”). These are just some of the basics. If you check the navigation menu at the top of my blog, you will find a page called “Astrodynamics 101”, and there, further explanations and some useful links.
      Not to overwhelm or complicate things further, but it is important to know that in traditional plant alchemy and medical astrology, timing the preparation of your medication according to the disease and or organ you are treating is also a consideration.
      It may seem complicated, but you will find there is a natural and intuitive logic to all this which will always lead you in the right direction. Any and all the above methods of timing will add to and increase your medicine’s efficacy in my opinion. Your intent is also a powerful factor that affects the end result, so don’t worry about getting it all right or perfect to start. When you yourself are focusing on these energies, you are actually tuning in to them, drawing them, and channeling them to your work. As you learn more about it, you will intuit much of how it works and steadily see what works for you and what doesn’t. The physical results will always guide you as well. I find working in this manner consistently yields herbal products with enhanced colour, fragrance, shelf life and efficacy.
      Regarding non-healing sores from diabetes, Lack of circulation is often an underlying contributing factor to consider if possible. My Yemenite father in-law in Israel, had a sectret plant medicine that he made a poultice with to heal these types of ulcers. After the Yemenite jews moved to Israel early in the last century, their diet changed and they started consuming much more refined sugar and white flour. Diabetes became and still is a problem in the Yemenite communities in Israel. I eventually followed him, and discovered he was collecting leaves from the Jujube trees, crushing them in his brass mortar and applying them to diabetic leg ulcers. The tree is Zizyphus Spina-Christi. If you would like to look further into its use for these types of ulcers, let me know.
      Good luck Belinda. I feel excited for you :-)! Please let me know if there is anything else I could help with.

      1. Thank You Dan for the wealth of knowledge!!

        I look forward to implementing your ideas.
        I have some knowledge of astrology so I was able to understand what you wrote.
        I have known about void-of-course and have worked around that for many years now.

        As for the Ziziphi Spinosae, it is also used in Chinese Medicine. However, the seed of the Jujube known as Suan Zao Ren. It is used to Nourish Heart Yin, Tonifies Liver Blood, Quiets the Spirit. It is used in formulas to help people with insomnia.

        Now I want to have that plant for the leaves! 🙂

        Again thank you for your generosity!


      2. Wow.
        All I can say is that is the kind of heart this earth needs. Keep sharing , it returns 1000 fold.

        I wanted to add because I work extensively with coconut oil, and being from the Caribbean I understand the heat factor. I would advise against it for such long term use. I make pure coconut oil from raw coconut and the longest any has ever lasted unrefrigerated is 2 weeks. I make body butters using cocoa butter and coconut oil with essential oils and some Shea butter , and while the rest may stay well, the coconut oil turns rancid first, even with vitamin e oil added.
        To keep it stable I rest it in a small bucket of cool water everyday, so it’s soft enough to use at will and keeps longer.
        For frankincense, and to make such a prized cream, I would recommend cold pressed olive oil. I am going to use your instructions and extract from Frankincense Papyrifera.
        I am honored to receive this ancient information. Thank you a thousand times for sharing Dan.

        That’s the way we bring enlightment to the earth, and we all must ascend for it to become whole.

      3. Stachenne.
        Thank you for sharing your kind words, vision and experiences. Your insights and understanding of Coconut oil are a valuable addition here. I will not be suggesting its use for these types of oleoresin extractions in the future.

      4. Thank you so very much for the additional information about working with coconut oil vs. olive oil.
        The more information I have the more comfortable I feel about doing my project. I am coming to the point of beginning my project. Now that spring is finally here and temperatures are more conducive to this kind or work. Also all the astrological events in the last 3 weeks had me put a hold on my project. I don’t need any variable adding to my situation. The wiser part of me says to do the first small batch and see what happens. Wish me luck! – Belinda

  52. Another beautifully illustrated post, Dan. Thank you for what you say about the collective brain and the sharing. This is my philosophy also – to extract the abundance rather than lock in the shadows – revolution for a holistic society, and expanding organically from all its local points. It follows natural Law.

  53. This is a great post and idea!! Thanks for thinking outside of the box and even more sharing your knowledge. I am curious what time of heating element you use for a water bath?

    1. Hi Bryan.
      Thanks for dropping by and for your kind words.
      I use a regular kitchen pot on an electric element or gas range. For a more detailed description, please have a look at my post/page “Solid moustache wax recipe”. There should be a link in the navigation menu at the top of the page and in the post you are referring to.

  54. This is fantastic. Thank you so much Dan.

    Now I know how to work with the Myrrh I purchased from you.

    Did you see the photo I took at the conference in Toronto – of your St. John’s Wort oil ?

    Mine sure doesn’t look like yours I can tell you that ! It’s still macerating but yours is a huge WOW.

    I should have got some along with the Myrrh.

    Date: Wed, 30 Jul 2014 10:01:37 +0000 To:

    1. Hi Dan – What do you think about using Honey as the solvent? .. I have powdered resin (Boswellia papyrifera) . I make herbal infused honeys through either cold extraction or a prolongued gentle heat process . Do you have any thoughts on this? I appreciate anything you can share. (i’m trying to figure out how i can work with the frankincense powder for skin care). Thanks in advance and thanks for posting this!

      1. Hi Kiannaa. Unfortunately I have absolutely no experience working with honey as a solvent or carrier. I know it is used in many branches of traditional herbalism. Off the top of my head, I would assume that because it is water based, it could dissolve the water soluble gum in Frankincense, but would likely be unable to absorb the resin portion which is oil and alcohol soluble. That being said, I think it is definitely worth exploring. it could very well absorb some of the essential oils and resin which would be of use in skin care products, but in minute amounts, similar to a Frankincense tea or infusion which are used in Arabian cultures. if you pursue this further I would love to hear about your experiences and findings.
        On a different note, I have been experimenting with emulsifying waxes that will allow for the blending of oil and water soluble compounds. It is possible to create a “Creme” or emulsion with the whole oleoresin this way and use honey in the water soluble portion. Not a purist approach, but it could allow you to use both Frankincense and honey in one product.

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