People have burnt Frankincense in the form of incense as a part of religious and other cultural ceremonies for centuries.
It is actually made from the resin from the Boswellia tree and is believed to have potent mystical properties that help the soul to reach spiritual exaltation. It has been mentioned in numerous ancient texts, including the Old and New Testament.
During ancient times, it was considered to be a precious commodity in the Middle East and was brought in from the sub-Saharan regions on the traveling caravans. Nowadays, it is still one of their major exports.
It was burnt as incense with the intention of the scent floating up invisibly to heaven in order to attract God’s attention and was also considered to be a powerful tool that could vanquish negative energies or hold evil spirits at bay. It was often used to honor various gods, as a sign of gratification, and the Ancient Greeks often gave it to Egyptians as a gift. Both, Jewish and Christian religions have used it in their worship.
It was extremely valuable during ancient times, and was literally worth its weight in gold, or prized even more.
The co-author of the study, Raphael Mechoulam, said that despite the information from ancient texts, the components of Bosweilla had not been investigated for psychoactivity. Their research showed that incensole acetate, a Boswellia resin constituent, reduced anxiety in mice and caused antidepressive-like behavior.
Therefore, researchers from Johns Hopkins University and the Hebrew University in Jerusalem decided to investigate its psychoactive effects. They administered some of the resin from the Boswellia tree known as incensole acetate to mice and found that it affected the brain areas which regulate emotions.
It activated the protein TRPV3, which affects the ability to feel warm sensations on the skin. The findings confirmed its strong anti-depressant and anxiolytic effects and showed that it relaxes and soothes while relieving stress.
According to Gerald Weissmann, M.D., Editor-in-Chief of The FASEB Journal, Marx wasn’t too wrong when he called religion the opium of the people, if we consider the fact that morphine comes from poppies, cannabinoids from marijuana, and LSD from mushrooms.
All of these have been used in religious ceremonies, and the discovery of the effects of incensole acetate, purified from frankincense, on specific targets in the brain helps us understand diseases of the nervous system.
These findings also give a biological explanation for millennia-old spiritual practices that have persisted across time, distance, culture, language, and religion.
Namely, this potential frankincense explains why it has been involved in various rituals all over the world. It calms the mind and helps you to clearly reflect on the important things in life. When used in religious ceremonies, it makes them stress-free, relaxed, and balanced.
Due to its beneficial effects, in modern times, frankincense is also recognized as a practical form of treatment in the case of anxiety and depression, which are, unfortunately, extremely common, and affect more than 60 million people in the U.S.
It is a natural alternative to pharmaceutical drugs which come with a myriad of dangerous side-effects, and if combined with yoga, meditation, and proper nutrition, it effectively returns the balanced state of health.
Our sense of smell is directly linked to the limbic system in the brain, which regulates emotion and motivation. Therefore, if used moderately, inhaling diffused incense is an effective way to calm the mind and relieve anxiety and stress.
Moreover, frankincense is an excellent natural remedy for hypertension, fever, nausea, chest coughs, and a potent insect repellent.