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Frankincense was a staple in the medicine of ancient civilizations of Egypt, Greece, and China, and even then it was a bit of a wonder. Also known as luban and olibanum, frankincense resin comes from five varieties of the boswellia plant: sacra, carterii, frereana, serrata, and papyrifera. Each has distinct properties, but all have been a source of medicine and trade for over 6,000 years. As people look for more holistic health remedies, science is finally catching up to what ancient apothecaries and herbalists already know.

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1. Antimicrobial

A couple of studies show that the boswellic acid in frankincense boosts immunity defense. In one, lowered doses increased lymphocyte production. Another shows that in conjunction with its synergistic partner, myrrh, frankincense’s antimicrobial properties are effective against Cryptococcus neoformans, a microscopic fungus that can create infection in immunocompromised individuals. It also worked against Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a drug-resistant pathogen that causes blood infections that can wreak havoc in multiple environments, including hospitals.

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