A tea made with Frankincense resin is an ancient and widely accepted remedy in many cultures and traditional medical systems for a broad range of ailments. Some of these traditional uses have been researched recently to confirm or dismiss the therapeutic claims behind them, and I am surprised to see that many of the claims associated with Frankincense tea seem to be substantiated in the laboratory. I have listed a few here, but trust you to do your own research as well.
Our recent obsession with Frankincense essential oil and Boswellic acids, (which are not found in the essential oil of Frankincense), can easily blind us to the plethora of therapeutic compounds found in the whole oleo gum resin and is no doubt increasing the pressure we are putting on trees that are already over-harvested and over-burdened with our market demand for Frankincense essential oil.
The following gem is borrowed from a wise scientist in one of the linked studies below. I couldn’t have said it better myself.
“However, exclusive focus on individual biochemical targets neglects the fact that strong synergy of multiple constituents in a crude drug may prove more potent and effective than any single purified compound, or that interactions of co-occurring phytochemicals may help nullify the toxic effects of individual constituents. So while it is important to understand the active agents within medicinal plants, it should also be with caution that we extract and use constituents in isolation.”
Frankincense tea is used in many cultures for widely different purposes.
- As a sexual tonic and aphrodisiac
- To increase fertility in men and women.
- To increase brain function, memory and intelligence
- As a home remedy for coughs, colds and congestion
- to help with respiratory complaints such as Asthma and Bronchitis.
- To treat diabetes, ulcers and arthritis.
A teaspoon of Frankincense steeped overnight in water is a formula that has been around for hundreds if not thousands of years and attributed with numerous medicinal qualities. Though I found no research that enumerated all the chemical constituents delivered through an aqueous solution of Frankincense, I have no doubt that besides the obvious water soluble components one will find both essential oils and resin compounds.
How to prepare Frankincense tea
The traditional ratio of Frankincense granules to water is about a teaspoon crushed resin to a cup of water. To get the most out of the Frankincense granules you could grind them to a coarse powder first.-(See the post “How to grind Frankincense and Myrrh”).
- Place a teaspoon of ground Frankincense in a cup, mug or bowl.
- Cover with a cup, (250 Milliliters), of either boiling water or cold water. Both methods are traditional and there are no studies to indicate which is best.
- Cover your container with a saucer or plastic wrap and let it sit overnight.
- Sip the tea by the spoonful throughout the next day.
- If you prepare too much you can keep it in the fridge for a day or two.
- If you want to prepare a larger amount for future use you can freeze it in ice cube trays, then store the frozen cubes in Ziploc bags in the freezer. Thaw them as needed.
- Remember, traditional use suggests consuming 1 cup throughout the day. It is likely more beneficial to consistently drink a cup a day than to consume large quantities over a short period.
- Listen to your body, and don’t overdo it.
Laboratory studies of the tea, infusion or aqueous extract of Frankincense support many of the traditional uses. Below, are a few of the studies I came across. I urge you to do your own research. An online query such as “Frankincense tea” or”Frankincense infusion” won’t yield many results. However, if you phrase your search, “Aqueous solution of Boswellia”, or something similarly scientific, you will be well rewarded. I have by no means collated everything there is, and can’t judge the veracity of all the studies, but a few hours searching proved fruitful and educational. The potential benefits of a simple tea of Frankincense are extensive and yet to be fully explored. Here are a few.
- To increase fertility in both sexes-https://www.jstage.jst.go.jp/article/jhs/53/4/53_4_365/_pdf
- To reduce cholesterol, protect the liver and kidneys.-https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15991575
- To reduce inflammation and trauma after stroke-http://jssu.ssu.ac.ir/page/11/Journal-Information
- To act as an antioxident and anti Diabetic-http://jjnpp.com/?page=article&article_id=6755
- To increase memory and learning abilities-http://zums.ac.ir/journal/browse.php?a_id=2886&sid=1&slc_lang=en
- To increase the power of memory and learning in adult offspring-http://en.journals.sid.ir/ViewPaper.aspx?ID=48926
- As an antibacterial-shaik20ismail20mannur20et20al
- To treat dementia and Alzheimer’s disease-effect-of-frankincense-as-on-alzheimers-disease-model
- To prevent or treat rheumatoid Arthritis other autoimmune inflammatory Diseases-Analysis of Frankincense Extracts which Inhibit the Growth of Bacterial Triggers
- To address memory impairment-https://www.researchgate.net/publication/305636410_
- As an analgesic and anti-inflammatory-anti-inflammatory-and-analgesic-activity-of-different-fractions of Boswelia Serrata
- As a neuroprotective agent-http://jssu.ssu.ac.ir/article-1-3586-en.html
Studies like these remind me how much we don’t yet know about nature, our bodies and diseases. There is so much more for us all to learn.
Again, I invite you to leave a comment and let me know if there is a traditional use of Frankincense, Myrrh or another oleoresin in your culture. Sharing traditional knowledge keeps it alive.