Helping Depression with Frankincense

Helping Depression with Frankincense

When you think of frankincense, you probably think of essential oils or even the holiday story of Gold, Frankincense & Myrrh. Burning frankincense in incense form is a ritual full of religious and cultural meaning that goes way back, and still, today is believed to be a scent that helps your soul reach spiritual exaltation. But outside of deep meditation and soul-searching, today I want to talk to you about the LPS (lipopolysaccharide) model of depression and how frankincense extract can help.

The overgrowth of negative gram bacteria in our gut can create inflammatory endotoxins called LPS. These toxins can have damaging impacts on the mind and body and can contribute to leaky gut, chronic immune activation, systemic inflammation, and other ‘sickness behavior’ essentially known as depression. In ancient times, frankincense was used in traditional medicine to treat chronic inflammatory disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis. Today, bioavailable oral consumption of frankincense is being explored to benefit anxiety and depression. 

That said, we live in a society where everyone’s guts are permeable due to stress and the average American diet (highly processed, non-organic food sources). So, many of us are already starting with high levels of LPS, which can lead to and create leaky gut. The average human gut contains between a thousand and a million times less LPS than the lethal dose. Toxicity arises when high amounts of LPS penetrate the safety barrier of the gut, passing through or in between cells and reaching deeper into our tissues, muscles, and bloodstream.

Over time, in addition to leaky gut, high LPS can lead to systemic levels of inflammation and chronic immune activation and neuroendocrine and neurochemical changes in the brain. This is now being connected to depression.

So why frankincense? It's an herb that is being explored as an anti-inflammatory agent potentially helpful in the treatment of depression and anxiety. A study on rats concluded that LPS could cause depression, anxiety, and increased markers of inflammation within the body. The study then went on to show that frankincense extract reduced the increased markers of inflammation in the body, especially at the highest dose. It also concluded that frankincense can help mitigate and fight LPS-induced depression and anxiety by reducing inflammatory cytokines. 

Other studies have looked at the Boswellic Acids (found in Frankincense Extract) and have confirmed that they inhibit the functionality of LPS and suppress LPS activity. 

To that end, clinical trials into the protective effect of Casperome®, an orally bioavailable frankincense extract concluded that “orally bioavailable frankincense extracts may serve as a new supportive treatment option in acute systemic inflammation.” 

I love helping people who are trying to find answers when it comes to their health. If you’re struggling with depression, the first place to start is understanding the connection to systemic inflammation within the body and other imbalances and deficiencies that stop the body from functioning the way it's meant to. 

Love this article and want to dig deeper. Start with the articles I wrote on the root causes of depression that often go unnoticed and functional medicine tests that can help get to the root of the problem. Also, try and understand which supplements and clinicals might help you on your healing journey. And don't forget to explore high-quality Frankincense Extract because I believe we will see a great deal more of it in the coming months and years.