I Need to be Frank With You

Some time ago, a friend of mine sent me a message. She said, “I have a dirty little secret.”

She added, “I’ve been using your liquid soap with Frankincense in it, and my skin has totally cleared up! No more acne!” She said she looked a few years younger too. Frank is great for the skin, and we’ll soon find out why.

Frankincense essential oil is very well-known and versatile. It is indicated for everything from relaxation and grounding to controlling coughs to spiritual purposes. Now let’s go into further detail and find out why Frank is the jack-of-all-trades.

There are a few varieties of Frankincense. There are Boswellia serrata, Boswellia carteri, and Boswellia frereana, which are all derived from the Boswellia tree native to Ethiopia, northern Somalia, south-western Oman and southern Yemen. It is most widespread in northern Somalia, and in the woodlands of the mountains on the southern coast of the Arabian Peninsula. (1)

Boswellia Serrata


Resin from a Boswellia tree

Boswellia serrata is thought to be the type of Frankincense referred to in the Bible and Ayurvedic medicine because it is the oldest documented Frankincense in existence. Boswellia Serrata is high in alpha-thujene, alpha-pinene, and limonene monoterpene compounds, which make Frankincense Serrata a powerful antiseptic, decongestant, and anti-inflammatory agent. Frankincense Serrata is also useful as a deodorizer or air purifier. (2)

Frankincense Serrata essential oil, also known as Olibanum, is steam distilled from the gum resin of the tree. It has been used for thousands of years by native peoples as an incense, medicine, and in cosmetics. The oil has a green, woody, earthy scent. (3)

Since Frankincense Serrata yields a higher amount of essential oil, it is less expensive than the other Frankincense varieties which don’t yield as much oil. Its aroma is sweeter and more delicate, with terpenic-pine top notes. (4)

Personally, I find serrata to be a bit more spicy smelling than the other two varieties, which are described below.

Boswellia Carteri

Frankincense carteri is steam distilled from the Boswellia Sacra tree’s gum resin. It has been used for thousands of years as a spiritual incense, folk medicine and in cosmetics. In traditional Chinese Medicine, the gum resin is used for bruising, swelling, sores and pain from traumatic injuries. This oil has a green, balsamic, lemon-wood odor. (5)

Frankincense Carteri is the most well-known and used Frankincense of the three varieties. This oil is high in alpha-pinene and other monoterpenes, providing good support to the immune system. Frankincense Carteri improves the appearance of mature skin and scars due to its ability to repair skin cells. The respiratory system can also benefit from this Frankincense, as it aids acute colds and asthma. This oil has a deep, rich, grounding aroma that touts the ability to quiet the mind, support focus, and encourage tranquility. (6)

The Boswellia sacra (carteri) tree is found in Oman, Yemen, and surrounding areas, whereas Boswellia serrata is from India, and Boswellia frereana is from Somalia. (7)

I personally like the scent of Carteri over that of Serrata and Frereana, which will be described below.

Boswellia Frereana

Frankincense Frereana and Frankincense Carteri originate from the mountainous regions of Somalia. But because Frankincense Frereana is typically grown at a higher elevation, this oil has a unique chemical makeup. Frereana is high in pinene, thujene, and cymene, giving this oil great anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antispasmodic, and analgesic properties. Frankincense Frereana is indicated for relieving inflammation caused by arthritis, swelling, and allergies, and is also a good addition to local pain blends. This oil has citrus-lemon top notes and an earthy, resinous Frankincense heart. (8)

Frankincense Frereana is valued for its skin-rejuvenating properties. When added to a carrier oil, it smooths the appearance of wrinkles, scars, dry and damaged skin. It can also help promote natural healing of a wound or cut. When diffused in the air, Frankincense Frereana supports the immune system and is calming and relaxing to the body, thereby uplifting one’s mood. (9)



The versatile Frankincense serrata, carteri and frereana – antiseptic, decongestant, anti-inflammatory, analgesic, antispasmodic and air purifier that can also support the immune system and repair and rejuvenate damaged skin. Have you ever used Frankincense before? What it is about this oil that appeals to you? Feel free to leave comments and feedback in the form below. And to obtain a copy of my FREE ebook “Essential Oils Made Easy,” head over to and subscribe.

Thank you for your time,

First name (white ink)


(1) Boswellia sacra (frankincense)

(2), (4), (6), (8) This or That: All About Frankincense Carterii, Frereana, and Serrata

(3) Frankincense serrata Essential Oil

(5) Frankincense carteri Essential Oil

(7) Frankincense Oil Uses and Benefits

(9) Frankincense frereana Essential Oil

Categories: Essential Oils and Blends, Skin & Hair CareTags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


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