Frankincense essential oil is obtained from the sap of the Boswellia tree. In ancient Arabia, frankincense resin was often used in traditional health practices. In a recent study, doTERRA scientists examined the effect of Frankincense essential oil on human skin cells using the BioMAP® fibroblast system on the skin.
The BioMAP system is a molecular biological method that the researchers used to investigate how healthy cell activity was supported by Frankincense essential oil in human skin cells. By adding certain factors to cultured skin cells, the researchers induced a cellular response in vitro that was designed to mimic a cellular inflammatory response in vivo. Some of the pre-infected skin cells were exposed to Frankincense essential oil, while others were left alone.
Cells from both groups were burst open and the lysate (cellular content) was analyzed using two methods. One method was an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), a test that measures the levels of a specific protein. The proteins of interest in this study were biomarkers known to be regulated (produced in excess) in a cell during inflammatory conditions. Han and his collaborators found that cells exposed to Frankincense had significantly lower levels of three biomarkers than cells not exposed to the essential oil. Cells exposed to Frankincense had significantly lower levels of interferon gamma-induced protein 10 (IP-104), collagen III, and intracellular cell adhesion molecule 1 (ICAM-1), all of which are involved in inflammation and tissue remodeling. They also had slightly lower levels of PAI-I, serine proteinase inhibitor, and inhibitor of tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) and urokinase (uPA), both of which are involved in tissue remodeling. Cell proliferation also decreased significantly in cells exposed to Frankincense essential oil.
RNA microarray analysis is a powerful tool that allows researchers to measure the levels of different messenger RNA transcripts. RNA levels provide a rough estimate of the levels of various proteins. Messenger RNA sequences are made directly from genes in a cell’s DNA. RNA contains instructions for ribosomes, the molecular machines that synthesize the cell’s proteins. Since each protein is encoded by a different messenger RNA sequence, the levels of a specific RNA sequence usually correlate with the levels of the protein. For example, high levels of VCAM-1 RNA transcripts would be present in a cell with high levels of the VCAM-1 protein. In this experiment, the levels of 21,224 RNA sequences were measured. The genes identified from the RNA microarray results indicated that signaling pathways related to inflammation, wound healing, and immune response were robustly affected in cells exposed to Frankincense oil.
Together, the results of these experiments suggest that Frankincense essential oil supports a healthy immune response, promotes overall skin health, and supports a healthy inflammatory response in skin cells.*
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.