Making Your Own Frankincense Oleoresin

Here at Tender Essence we love essential oils, but even we have to admit that there are sometimes better alternatives. Take Frankincense for example; it’s a great product with many health benefits and even contains Boswellic acid, a natural anti-inflammatory. Unfortunately, when distilled into an essential oil Frankincense loses a lot of its therapeutic properties.

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 for use in an oil burner.

If you’re looking for something you can use to create cosmetics, but 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 and therefore won't easily pour from a bottle (one of the reasons we don't sell it), and it won’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.

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.

These pictures show our process for making an oleoresin from Frankincense Resin.

To extract an oleoresin from Frankincense Resin or Myrrh Gum:

Grinding Frankincense resin in a pestle and mortar
  1. Grind the resin or gum into a fine powder. The finer you grind it, the quicker it will dissolve into the oil.
  2. Combine the 1 part powder to 2-3 parts carrier oil (such as olive oil or grapeseed oil) in a glass container.
  3. Microwave the mixture in 1 minute bursts for 5 minutes, stirring in between. Alternatively, you can use a water bath but this will take much longer, up to 3 hours.

    Frankincense oleoresin in a jug separating sediment
  4. Remove the liquid and wait for it to cool slightly before filtering. You can use a fine coffee filter or a clean piece of cotton cloth.
  5. Cover and set the mixture aside. Leave it until all the sediment has sunk to the bottom (this could take a day) then pour off the clear liquid.
  6. Your oleoresin is now ready to use! It should last for around 6 months without a preservative.
Whatever you make, be sure to share your creations with us on Twitter or Facebook, and feel free to contact us if you have any further questions.
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