Effects of Frankincense Compounds on Infection, Inflammation, and Oral Health

Molecules. 2022 Jun 29;27(13):4174. doi: 10.3390/molecules27134174.


Boswellia trees, found throughout the Middle East and parts of Africa and Asia, are the source of frankincense oil. Since antiquity, frankincense has been traded as a precious commodity, but it has also been used for the treatment of chronic disease, inflammation, oral health, and microbial infection. More recently, the bioactive components of Boswellia trees have been identified and characterized for their effects on cancer, microbial infection (especially infection by oral pathogens), and inflammation. Most studies have focused on cell lines, but more recent research has also investigated effects in animal models of disease. As natural products are considered to be safer than synthetic drugs, there is growing interest in further developing the use of substances such as frankincense oil for therapeutic treatment.

Keywords: frankincense; immunology; infection; inflammation; microbiology; oral health.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Boswellia*
  • Frankincense* / pharmacology
  • Inflammation / drug therapy
  • Oral Health
  • Trees


  • Frankincense

Grants and funding

This research was supported by intramural funds from the University of the Pacific to DMO and CLCAS (Start-Up Funds D30059—Activity 101).