Substitute for Frankincense Oil + When & How to Use
By Caryn Gehlmann, clinical aromatherapist
Over the last decade, I’ve seen Frankincense explode in popularity. This is no great surprise since it is an amazing essential oil with properties that can greatly enhance your physical, emotional, and mental health. However, sadly this is also due to misinformation about supposed “cures.” Here at e3, we’re all about making informed decisions. So let’s explore more about Frankincense so you can decide when to use it and when to opt for a more affordable substitute for Frankincense oil
Frankincense is derived from sap found in trees of the Boswellia genus which are commonly found in Middle Eastern and African countries. We stock Frankincense Somalia and Frankincense Ethiopia and both options have a warm, sweet, balsamic, woody aroma. They are interchangeable in use since they are both good for stress, skin care, meditation, and as immune stimulants.
Below I share three ways Frankincense is used, along with specific application recommendations. I also share what you can substitute for Frankincense oil if you are looking for something that is more affordable. This is a good time to remind you that not everyone likes the smell of Frankincense and that’s okay! As I like to say, “Your Nose Knows!” Learn more about what to do if you dislike a popular essential oil by watching this Q&A with Caryn.
USING FRANKINCENSE FOR SKIN CARE
Frankincense is used to treat wrinkles, dry skin, mature skin, scars, inflammation, small wounds, and minor skin infections. Here are three easy ways to use Frankincense for skin care:
Add to Products: Frankincense can be added to pre-made, fragrance-free products to enhance their performance. Add 4-8 drops to 2 ounces of facial moisturizer; 6-30 drops to 1 ounce of lotion; 10-20 drops to 8 ounces of shampoo; 15-30 drops to 8 ounces of conditioner.
Compress, Facial: Fill the sink with warm water. Add 1-3 drops of Frankincense to the water and agitate the water to mix well. Lay in a clean washcloth, wring, and apply to face, with eyes closed, holding in place for 5-10 seconds. Repeat dipping, wringing, and applying – 3 times. Pat dry.
Skin Mist: Mix 10-40 drops of Frankincense in 4 ounces of water in a mister bottle. Shake well before each use and avoid getting the mist into the eyes.
You will find additional application instructions on our Frankincense product page. For other excellent choices for skin care, pick from the following list of substitutes for Frankincense oil:
- Inflammation: Lavender, Peppermint
- Dry/Itchy: Lavender
- Scarring: Neroli, Helichrysum
Sun damage: Lavender
- Mature Skin/Wrinkles: Geranium, Palmarosa, Vetiver
We also carry blends that contain Frankincense, along with other skin-nurturing essential oils, at a reasonable price: Bruise & Scar Blend and Skin Care Blend.
USING FRANKINCENSE FOR BREATHING & IMMUNE SUPPORT
Frankincense is used to treat coughs, bronchitis, infections, tense breathing, shallow breathing, and rapid breathing, as well as to provide some immune support. Here are three ways you can use Frankincense to soothe breathing or provide some support to your overtaxed immune system:
Chest Rub: Mix 15 drops of Frankincense essential oil in 1 tablespoon of carrier oil or fragrance-free, natural lotion. Apply to your upper chest and upper back.
Inhalation, Hot Water: Add 1-2 drops of Frankincense to a small bowl of hot water. Keeping your eyes tightly closed, lean over the bowl and breathe in deeply yet gently, pause then exhale. Continue for 30 seconds. Inhale through your nose for respiratory or sinus conditions and through your mouth for throat issues or coughs. Repeat as desired.
Room Mist: Mix 30-60 drops of Frankincense essential oil in 4 ounces of water in a mister bottle. Shake well before each use and avoid getting the mist into the eyes.
You will find additional application instructions on our Frankincense product page. If you’re looking for breathing and immune support, here are alternative essential oils to consider:
- Calm breathing: Pine, Eucalyptus, Ravensara, Lavender Spike
- Deep breathing: Eucalyptus, Thyme
- Rapid breathing: Melissa, Ylang Ylang
- Coughs, bronchitis: Eucalyptus, Ravensara
- Infections and Immune support: Eucalyptus, Ravensara, Ravintsara, Lemon, Oregano
USING FRANKINCENSE FOR MENTAL & EMOTIONAL SUPPORT
Frankincense is used to help with anxiety, stress, nervous tension, fear, and a restless mind. Here are three ways you can use Frankincense to enhance your peace of mind and a sense of well-being:
Bath: Mix 4-8 drops of essential oil in 1 teaspoon of carrier oil, such as fractionated coconut oil. (You can also add the essential oil to 1/2 cup of whole milk or heavy cream.) Set aside. If you have muscle aches, add 1-2 cups Epsom or Dead sea salts. Fill the tub with warm water and immerse yourself. Add the essential oil mixture and swirl the water around you. Massage your skin and breathe in the aroma. Remain in the tub for 10-15 minutes.
Inhalation: Put 1-3 drops of essential oil on a tissue and inhale the aroma through your nose. Pause and inhale again.
Massage: Mix 12 drops of essential oil in 1 ounce of carrier oil or fragrance-free, natural lotion.
You will find additional application instructions on our Frankincense product page. While Frankincense is an excellent choice for mental and emotional support, here are some alternatives to consider.
- Mild depression: Bergamot, FCF, Geranium, Melissa, Rose
- Anxiety: Bergamot, FCF, Black Spruce, Ho Wood, Myrrh, Sandalwood
- Stress: Bergamot, FCF, Black Spruce, Lavender, Sandalwood
Choosing essential oils is a very personalized thing and you’ll discover that if one oil doesn’t work you can find alternatives with similar properties, just as I’ve shown today with using a substitute for Frankincense oil. Do you want to deepen your understanding of scent and explore the world of aromatherapy? Download our free guide, Listen to Your Nose: An Introduction to Aromatherapy.