Arthritis arises as a result of inflammation built up over a number of years. The inflammation usually begins when we’re younger, though the pain often doesn’t manifest until we hit our retirement years. So, what is the role of frankincense and how does it alleviate achy joints? Much scientific literature actually exists between frankincense and arthritis. Discover how this tree-derived resin may bring down inflammation and promote joint health.
The Root Cause of Arthritis
Before we proceed, it helps to understand why arthritis occurs and how it leads to pain in the elbows, knees, digits and more.
READ MORE: Pain And Inflammation
As mentioned, arthritis pain is a result of joint inflammation. This is known as rheumatoid arthritis, which contrasts with non-inflammatory arthritis (osteoarthritis). The former is a form of autoimmune disease. Due to factors doctors still aren’t entirely sure of, the immune system attacks healthy tissue cells. This includes the joints and corresponding ligaments and cartilage, hence the inflammation. Osteoarthritis, on the other hand, is caused by wear and tear of the cartilage. The condition results in some inflammation as well. This naturally occurs as the cartilage begins eroding away. There is a growing body of evidence that frankincense just might be effective for treating both forms of arthritis.
How to Use Frankincense Oil for Arthritis
An extensive 2011 report1 concluded that frankincense may be beneficial as an anti-inflammatory agent. This was supported by a 2015 study2 that showed strong evidence for frankincense as an inflammation suppressor. That’s not all; a systematic review analyzing 47 studies on frankincense showed that the compound was effective for treating both rheumatoid and osteoarthritis. On top of that, the research also concluded that frankincense was effective for treating other conditions, such as colitis and Crohn’s disease.
Frankincense as an Inflammation Reducer
How does frankincense bring down inflammation? It actually does this through multiple pathways. One way is by inhibiting the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines. Cytokines refer to a number of small proteins that play an active role in cell signaling. They’re secreted by the immune system and interact with other cells. Depending on the type of cytokine, that interaction may be good or bad for the body. Just as there are pro-inflammatory cytokines that create disease and illness, there are also anti-inflammatory cytokines that help the body.
One study3 showed that frankincense suppresses pro-inflammatory cytokine production in joint cartilage.
Furthermore, frankincense also contains a compound known as acetyl-11-keto boswellic acid (AKBA). Studies4 show that this substance inhibits an inflammatory enzyme known as 5-lipoxygenase.
On top of that, frankincense is also known for boosting the immune system. This is especially good news for sufferers of rheumatoid arthritis. Remember that rheumatoid is an autoimmune disease caused by an abnormal immune response. Frankincense corrects this response by promoting white blood cell production and improving your body’s natural response to inflammation and foreign pathogens.
See our other post on frankincense benefits; learn more about this substance and its role in treating other inflammatory-induced diseases.
Frankincense as a Natural Pain Reliever
Store shelves are lined with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) like aspirin, Motrin and Advil for relieving arthritis pain. Sure, these over-the-counter products definitely provide temporary relief. However, as with any other medication, there are side effects. Users of such products have reported nausea, stomach cramps, diarrhea, increased perspiration and swelling.
There is also the risk of overdosing and causing serious health scares. Regular use of ibuprofen has actually been linked to stomach ulcers and gastrointestinal bleeding. The likelihood of this occurring depends on frequency of use and your sensitivity. If you become reliant on the drugs and take it every day just to manage the pain, then you up the odds of the NSAIDs causing serious damage.
Stomach ulcers are no laughing matter. According to data5, roughly one in 13 cases result in death. The mortality rate increases to one in five when NSAIDs enter the equation.
We’re not pointing any of this out to scare the bejesus out of you. We’re pointing it out to show that lab-produced medicine has long-term consequences if you become a regular user.
Since frankincense is all-natural, there are no negative side effects, at least nothing serious. Essential oils do not cause such life-threatening maladies. At worse, you may experience itchiness or a slight irritation, though that will quickly dissipate once your skin adjusts.
Frankincense and arthritis: Make Achy Joint a Thing of the Past
Once you hit your 50s and beyond, you’ll quickly realize that Father Time spares no one. You’ll notice this in the form of sore joints and other maladies. The correlation frankincense and arthritis is clear. The former is a natural compound proven time and again to combat joint inflammation.
This is why we included frankincense as an ingredient in our new Total Relief supplement. Our latest product combines powerful compounds like frankincense and vitamins B6 and B12 for naturally bringing down inflammation without side effects. In essence, you’re eliminating inflammation at the source and not just masking the pain.