Love of Frankincense for Mind Body Spirit

October 01, 2010 By: Allison Stillman Category: Mind Body Spirit

Frankincense Tears

Last week I found myself in one of my all time favorite cities, Santa Fe, NM on a magical, mystery ride. I was finally getting to study with a master distiller of essential oils, one whom I have been waiting for years to study with, and the time had finally come. I have been working with essential oils for 36 years, and knowing that one day I would begin my exploration of distillation in earnest. I have taken a few distillation classes over the years, but had never been inspired to start the process of distillation, not until now that is.

I had been hearing about Jack Chaitman (founder of Scents of Knowing) for ten years or more, and had the pleasure of meeting him a few years ago.  I have been buying his oils for a few years, and there is something so special about his oils. He is one of the only ones in the world who does hydro distillation, which is unique to him, and in fact, he is the only one who uses the equipment he uses, as he developed it over the last twenty years.

Distillation is the process of turning plant material into essential oil and hydrosol. It is a very complex process and science, but yields delectable products. The hydrosol is the watery compound released which contains molecules of the plant materials, and the essential oil is the concentrated form of the plant essence, or soul consciousness of the plant, that permeates the hydrosol and the more dense particles float to the top of the hydrosol where they are captured and used as an essential oil.

Frankincense Tree

For years now, most people who know me, know that my all time favorite essential oil is frankincense. Frankincense is a gnarly tree that grows in very harsh, hot environments in only a few places in the world, and has been used for thousands of years in spiritual and religious ceremony being worth its weight in gold many times throughout history. The properties of frankincense are innumerable, from the anti-viral, anti-septic, antibacterial, anti-tumoral properties, to the more esoteric properties. Frankincense has known respiratory properties making it an excellent oil to use to open up the respiratory channels.

This year there was a great study released that verified the anti-tumoral properties of frankincense, and went on to state that “frankincense has the ability to reverse the DNA of cancerous cells and turn them into healthy cells. . .” making frankincense a miraculous essential oil. Frankincense also has psychoactive properties that open the mind up to altered states of awareness and consciousness, hence the use in churches to sanctify the space before services, and for use in spiritual and religious rites and ceremony. In fact, the biggest buyer of frankincense on the market today is the Church. It is now on the endangered species list as it is becoming increasingly more difficult and expensive to buy.

Which brings me back to Santa Fe, and the distillation class last week. Much to my delight we distilled frankincense, 12 hours of distilling frankincense in fact! The odors of the aromatic elixir permeated my hair, my clothes, my skin, and I can tell you, there has never been a more exciting or elevating experience than seeing the mountains of gum turn into liquid gold, and slowly begin to drip into the vessel in which would deliver the precious drops of oil, long coveted for thousands of years.

To say that this was a religious experience for me, would not do the experience justice, for my long held dream is to create a small frankincense farm on land I have down in Baja, CA. to preserve the species for future generations. I have nurtured my first two trees for the last year, and while the farm is a very long-range project, learning to distill the plant and turn it into liquid gold is now one step closer to reality.

The most incredible part of this story is that we weren’t supposed to distill frankincense at all, originally we were scheduled to distill pinon pine, another incredible essential oil, but at the last minute, it was decided to do frankincense instead. I laughed when I heard the story, because my angels pulled strings to get frankincense distilled, as my greatest desire was to begin to learn about frankincense, and once again I delighted in the power of manifestation! If you can dream it, you can create it! Thank you to all my heavenly helpers!

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