The Novice’s Grimoire

The Novice’s Grimoire: Frankincense Oil

By Z. Smith


Welcome back Novices to the great Grimoire. This week we are diving into the stuff of kings, an oil/herb steeped in millennia worth of lore, use and medicinal value; I am, of course, talking about frankincense and its accompanying oil.

Frankincense oil has been in use for near 3,000 years in the realms of magic, religion and medicine and to this day continues its mighty reign. In the past it was used for embalming, especially those of great import; in ceremonial worship—the Catholic Church still uses it in its practices; in funeral rites; and for the fumigation of one’s home. The Egyptians uses the herb and its derived oil in rituals celebrating and honoring Ra, the god of the sun. But frankincense is, perhaps, best known as a gift by one of the three wise men to the baby Jesus (in Matthew 2:11), though it is mentioned in numerous other places throughout the Bible and in other texts. The tree from which frankincense grows is found mainly in the southern part of the Arabian Peninsula and at one time made that region especially wealthy through its sale and distribution.

For medicinal purposes, the oil may be applied to the affected area or simply inhaled; but in either case, it is suggested that one dilute the oil, either in a carrier oil, like almond oil, apricot oil, or jojoba oil, or in water, for frankincense is said to cause irritation of both skin and mucus membrane. If inhaled or rubbed on a stiff muscular area, frankincense can ease physical tension—consider rubbing on your temples to ease mental tension, as well. It is said to be effective against hemlock poisoning, though ingestion—though it isn’t recommended to ingest essential oils, due to their potency; if one were to significantly dilute frankincense in water, it may prove effect here. However, it is best to avoid ingesting hemlock in the first place.

This oil may also be effective against tumors of the head and ears—simply rub on the afflicted area. If you are experiencing a fever—hopefully only a slight one—consider rubbing some diluted frankincense oil on your forehead to alleviate the symptoms. In the ancient East, this oil is said to have been effective against carbuncles, boils, gangrene and even gonorrhea—though, of course, seek medical attention with any sexually related infection. For use against pimples, mix frankincense and egg whites, then apply liberally to those little red bumps.

In magic, frankincense is often used for attaining higher conscious and spiritual realms. Simply inhale the oil’s odor before meditating to heighten your chances for spiritual awareness; the deepening of any religious experience may be achieved in this same way. If inhaled and meditated upon, this oil can reveal to us that we are involved in realities far beyond the ones we perceive, assuring us of our place in the universe and cosmic scheme. For added luck, protection and spiritual growth, dab a lucky amulet with frankincense oil and wear the amulet about your neck.

Thank you for checking in on our discussion of frankincense oil! I hope it has been every bit as enjoyable and informative for you as it has been for me. May this oil continually enrich your lives. Until next week, stay studious.


Smith is a cookie connoisseur, moonlight meanderer and aesthete at large. His work has appeared in 13 Experiments, Folio, Stone Soup Review, SLUG Magazine, Salt Lake City Weekly and CATALYST Magazine. He earned his BA in English from The University of Utah and currently writes from a room with many plants.



The Complete Book of Incense, Oils & Brews by Scott Cunningham

Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs by Scott Cunningham

Herbs and Things by Jeanne Rose

Magical Aromatherapy by Scott Cuningham


This post made possible by a generous contribution from: 

oilshopThe Original Oil Shop, 150 S. State St. SLC, UT

Photo by Ben Norvell

This article was originally published on September 14, 2016.