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Frankincense is also used in traditional medicine
Frankincense is not only used in the church, but also as a natural remedy and in traditional medicine. A new book now provides a comprehensive overview of scientific research and confirmed findings on frankincense, its ingredients and their active principles.
Part of religious ceremonies
According to tradition, incense was already among the gifts of the Three Kings, which they brought to Bethlehem in addition to myrrh and gold for the newborn baby Jesus. The aromatic scent of frankincense resin has been part of many religious ceremonies since ancient times and still gives special expression to many celebrations in the church today. And incense has also been used in traditional medicine for many years.
Extensive overview of scientific research
"Frankincense has been used for cult and medical purposes for several thousand years," explains chemist Prof. Dr. René Csuk from the Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU) in a message.
In a new book, the expert, together with colleagues from the University of Nizwa (Oman), gives an extensive overview of scientific research and confirmed knowledge about frankincense, its ingredients and their active principles.
Kilograms of incense cost up to 2,000 euros
According to the information, the first recorded source of incense comes from Egypt in 1500 BC. In India, Africa, China, ancient Greece and Rome, the tree resin was also used for many different purposes.
And there are also 22 places in the Bible where frankincense is mentioned directly.
"Frankincense is currently experiencing a renaissance, especially in the wellness industry. Not all frankincense preparations are really sensible, but the business is very lucrative, ”says Csuk
A kilogram of incense can reach up to 2,000 euros on the market.
The Boswellia acids are of particular interest
Frankincense is obtained from Boswellia trees, which grow mainly in Oman, India and parts of Africa. In several places, cuts are made to the trees, at which a liquid then escapes.
When it is dry, the frankincense resin can be harvested. Of particular interest are the boswellia acids found in the incense.
As the message says, the first scientific study of frankincense dates back to 1892: the two chemists Alexander Tschirch and Oscar Halbey were the first to study the composition of frankincense.
The researchers from Germany and Oman have edited over 350 scientific publications on frankincense and boswellic acids for their book.
"Our goal was to provide a comprehensive overview of frankincense research," said René Csuk.
The chapters are therefore not only dedicated to the chemical mode of action of the individual ingredients as well as pharmaceutical studies. They also give an overview of the different types of incense and historical aspects.
Without strong side effects
"It is noteworthy that recent studies on the effectiveness of frankincense confirm its traditional, very wide-ranging uses," says Csuk.
Several studies, for example, attest the Boswellia acids contained in the frankincense to have an anti-inflammatory effect.
The substances can not only alleviate inflammation, but can also achieve good results in the treatment of chronic diseases such as osteoarthritis or Crohn's disease, skin diseases, malignant neovascularization or ulcers.
In addition, some of them even work against various types of cancer. Some ingredients in frankincense could also be a very good addition to other medicinal substances and even increase the effects of other substances.
What is special: Most studies do not describe any strong side effects.
"However, serious clinical studies on frankincense are still in short supply, the clinical effectiveness has not yet been sufficiently researched and proven. Our book is also intended to initiate further research projects, ”explains Csuk.
Incense itself has not yet been fully researched: there could be other, previously unknown ingredients. (ad)