by Suzie McDarra, LMT
As much as Peppermint essential oil provides mental clarity, Frankincense too is particularly good for memory and focus, making the combination great in combating the forgetfulness of “pregnancy brain”. This is because Frankincense has powerful anti-inflammatory compounds for the brain. Diffuse Frankincense with a drop or two of one or more essential oils of Peppermint Lemon, Ginger or Spearmint to boost your memory. Emotionally, Frankincense enhances a meditative space by calming the nervous system. Diffusing it in the birth space brings the ability to “be here now”. Educator, Stephanie Pearson says it's ability to help you “stay present” during birth, makes it outstanding for pre-labour anxiousness, the transition phase of labour, and mother-infant bonding.
"Frankincense essential oil is one of those "must have" essential oils for the birth kit because it has such a diverse number of benefits. It strengthens the immune system and supports the digestive system and is thought to facilitate postpartum physiological changes for infants (eg. breathing & digesting). It is a very beneficial in helping new mothers avoid postpartum blues," Stephanie says.
Physically, because Frankincense oil helps inflamed joints, I find it is particularly useful in a massage blend to use during both pregnancy and birth. It can either be applied by itself or mixed in a pain-relief blend which your support person can rub it on your sacroiliac joints (SIJ) where the two dimples are on your lower back. It is safe to use during pregnancy and labour to alleviate lower back pain and nerve discomfort symptoms like sciatica which can often cause pain in the lower back, through the glutes and down the leg. It tones and strengthens the uterus, particularly during labour. It can also be used with Geranium for perineum massage in preparation for birth in order to avoid episiotomy, throughout the birthing process or in a sitz bath or spray to help heal perineum tears or hemorrhoids in pregnancy or postnatally. It is also a wonderful skin repairer so its use during pregnancy can help avoid or treat existing stretch marks and dryness. It can be used postpartum to help heal a cesarean scar during the maturation healing phase (after about 21 days). Applying Frankincense in your wound healing blend can help reduce scar thickness and also make the skin area of the wound stronger. Whether for mum or bub, it's also beneficial to dilute in a carrier oil and rub on hormonal rashes or pimples along with a drop of Tea Tree oil.
Spiritually, Frankincense is revered in many religions, but particularly the Christian religion, where it was gifted along with Myrrh and gold to baby Jesus by those three wiser-than-most dudes. It was used in ancient times across many cultures as a protection to ward off evil. For this reason, I really like to include Frankincense in Birth Blends for the diffuser to keep your birthing space smelling warm and woody and feeling safe and sacred.
Watch Stephanie's webinar on Frankincense to see some more fascinating uses from different cultures.
Precautions or Contraindications: Avoid Frankincense if you suffer from asthma. Whilst Frankincense is beneficial internally, Daily Nectar Essentials does not recommend oral use of any essential oils while pregnant or breastfeeding. If you are interested in using Frankincense internally, although it's one to keep in mind for internal use once you finish breastfeeding. Frankincense has 200 recognised medicinal compounds, many with benefits for maternity.
Learn more about Suzie.
Stephanie McBride is a published writer and certified clinical herbalist who has worked with herbal medicine for over 20 years. She has been in practice as a functional nutritionist and essential oil educator for Daily Nectar since 2009.