Need a natural pick-me-up? Burn some frankincense.

Scientists from Johns Hopkins University and Hebrew University in Jerusalem recently discovered that burning frankincense affects receptors in the brain by relieving anxiety and depression.  The findings of the study, published in the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) Journal on May 20 and reported by ScienceDaily, reveal that when frankincense was tested in mice, it lowered their anxiety levels and they exhibited anti-depressive behavior.

The mice were given the frankincense (incensole acetate), which is a resin extracted from the Boswellia plant, and the scientists noted how it released a protein in the brain known as TRPV3.  This protein found in the brains of mammals has been associated with the feeling of warmth in the skin.  According to the chief editor of the FASEB Journal, Dr. Gerald Weissman, this would explain why the incense has been used worldwide in religious practices and will help scientists get a greater understanding of diseases of the nervous system.

The benefits of frankincense were mentioned in the Old Testament by Moses when he relayed the commandments of the Lord to the Israelites:

… and he [Aaron] shall take thereout his handful of the flour thereof, and of the oil thereof, with all the frankincense thereof; and the priest shall burn the memorial of it upon the altar, to be an offering made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the LORD:  Leviticus 2:2

When the frankincense burned with the offering, it was described as being a “sweet savour.”  The word for sweet used here means soothing and tranquilizing and savour means odor or smell.  So it should be no surprise to the readers and hearers of God’s word that modern scientists have now caught up with what was stated by God’s inspiration centuries ago.

–posted by Harry A. Gaylord–


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