How to Make Frankincense Oleoresin

Here at Tender Essence, we love essential oils, but even we have to admit that sometimes there are better alternatives. Take Frankincense for example; it’s a great product with many health benefits. It even contains Boswellic acid, a natural anti-inflammatory.Unfortunately, when Frankincense is distilled into an essential oil it loses many of these therapeutic properties that make it so special. Luckily, there are other options.
If you just want to experience the fragrance of frankincense while still enjoying its therapeutic benefits, you can use Frankincense Resin – it’s great in an oil burner.If you’re looking for something you can use to create cosmetics, but want to retain all the therapeutic compounds found in frankincense resin, then an oleoresin is what you need.
These mixtures of resin and oil are versatile and can be used in many of the same ways as essential oils. Plus, you can produce them at home, thanks to an easy extraction method.You can use this same process with Myrrh Gum. Myrrh essential oil is notoriously difficult to work with – it’s very thick so won’t easily pour from a bottle, and it doesn’t emulsify with other substances unless heated. Creating a myrrh oleoresin allows you to work with the scent and thought-stimulating properties of myrrh, minus the hassle.

What is an oleoresin used for?

While the scent of an oleoresin isn’t as strong as that of an essential oil, it does intensify when heated, making it perfect for use in an oil burner. Unlike essential oil, you can apply an oleoresin directly to the skin, meaning you can make the most of its natural anti-inflammatory and anti-aging properties. Try applying it to aching joints, or rubbing it into your face to revitalise skin cells and help prevent wrinkles.

Frankincense oleoresin also makes a great ingredient for homemade cosmetics, such as creams and salves. It can infuse them with those highly-prized anti-aging and anti-inflammatory properties. Please note that if you plan to mix this with any other product, you will need to add a broad-spectrum preservative. 

How to Extract a Frankincense Oleoresin

To make your frankincense oleoresin you will need the following items to hand;

  • Frankincense Resin
  • Grape-seed Oil
  • Pestle & Mortar
  • Microwaveable glass container
  • Filter (Coffee filter or Cotton Cloth
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  • Grind the frankincense resin into a fine powder.
    The finer you grind it, the quicker it will dissolve into the oil. 
  • Combine the powder with your carrier oil.
    Use one part powder to two parts oil (e.g. 50g powder and 100g oil). Combine them in a microwave safe container – glass is best as oil can get incredibly hot.
  • Microwave the mixture in 1-minute bursts, for a total of 5 minutes, stirring in between.
    Be very careful when removing it from the microwave, as the mixture and container will be very hot. Alternatively, you can bring it to the boil in a water bath then leave to simmer, stirring occasionally. The extraction is complete when no more resin can be dissolved (this may take a few hours in the water bath).
  • Allow the mixture to cool slightly, then filter into another container.
    You can strain it through a fine coffee filter or a clean piece of cotton cloth.
  • Cover the mixture and set it aside.
    Leave it until all the sediment has sunk to the bottom. This could take up to a day.
  • Pour the clear liquid off into the container you wish to store your oleoresin in.
    You can discard the sediment.
  • Your frankincense oleoresin is now ready to use!
    It should last for around 6 months unrefrigerated.

While oils don’t require a preservative (as they have no water content) they will deteriorate or go rancid over time. To extend the life of your oil you can add an antioxidant – we recommend Vitamin E. You can purchase this in capsules; the contents of one 400 IU (10ug) capsule is enough to preserve 250ml of oil.

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