Frankincense may have psychoactive properties and treat anxiety, depression

A study conducted and reported on in 2008 is making the rounds again; articles about beneficial aspects of frankincense have been appearing on alternative health blogs, and probably your social media feed, over the past month.

The authors of the study found that frankincense activated poorly understood channels in the brain; channels which seem to alleviate anxiety and depression. The research was conducted with lab mice based on historical texts which claimed beneficial effects.

From the original press release:

To determine incense’s psychoactive effects, the researchers administered incensole acetate to mice. They found that the compound significantly affected areas in brain areas known to be involved in emotions as well as in nerve circuits that are affected by current anxiety and depression drugs. Specifically, incensole acetate activated a protein called TRPV3, which is present in mammalian brains and also known to play a role in the perception of warmth of the skin. When mice bred without this protein were exposed to incensole acetate, the compound had no effect on their brains.

Do you burn frankincense? Why do you think a study from 2008 is only now being written up and shared over social media?

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