Frankincense oil, or boswellia, is the resin taken from the boswellia tree, which grows along the sandy hillsides of India. According to Arthritis M.D., frankincense oil has anti-arthritic, analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties. It comes as an oral supplement and as a topical cream. Take oral forms of frankincense with food to facilitate absorption. Never ingest the highly toxic frankincense essential oil. Topical variations of boswellia are also available. Consult with a doctor before taking any supplements. While side effects of frankincense oil are rare, they do occur.
Common Side Effects
Common side effects of boswellia when taken orally include abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea, nausea, stomach pain, vomiting and a burning sensation in the stomach. The side effects of frankincense oil creams include a rash, redness, itching and increased skin sensitivity. The side effects typically occur at the application site. Seek immediate medical attention if the rash, redness, itching and sensitivity spread or if swelling occurs
Rare Side Effects
The Physician's Desktop Reference reports that some patients have experienced serious allergic reactions to frankincense oil. Rare side effects of boswellia include chest pain, wheezing and shortness of breath. Allergic reactions can be life-threatening; immediately discontinue the use of frankincense and seek immediate medical attention if any allergic reactions occur.
There have been no extensive studies conducted to determine the long-term effects of frankincense oil use. The side effects of boswellia on pregnant women, nursing mothers or their fetuses are unknown.