frankincense oil for menstrual cramps

With its anti-inflammatory, stress-relieving and immune boosting properties, you simply can’t go wrong with using frankincense oil for menstrual cramps.

You see, frankincense is quite simply one of the most versatile essential oils that you can get your hands on.

Plus, frankincense oil is incredibly skin-friendly, which makes it very practical for relieving period pain or PMS cramps.

Now, whether you’re brand new to essential oils or you’re an expert, this article will help you understand:

  • the core benefits of frankincense essential oil.
  • which type of frankincense to use for period pain specifically.
  • some simple ways to use frankincense oil.

Note: this post contains affiliate links and I earn a commission (at no additional cost to you) if you use them to make a purchase.


To understand why frankincense essential oil helps with painful menstruation, we have to start with inflammation.

Inflammation is the underlying cause of menstrual cramps. More specifically, there’s an excess of pro-inflammatory prostaglandin hormones. This leads to more frequent – and painful – uterine contractions.

Now, it’s worth noting that stress, as a whole, contributes to inflammation.

And here we’re talking mainly about emotional stress as well as chemical stress (such as unhealthy food and toxins).

So, when looking for natural remedies for period pain, it’s best to choose something that can address inflammation in multiple ways.

And this is where frankincense comes in.

Now, let’s look at what frankincense has to offer for our menstrual cycle.

1. Natural Anti-Inflammatory

Frankincense contains boswellic acid, which is a potent pain-reducing compound.

In fact, studies show boswellic is effective even for chronically painful conditions like arthritis, bursitis and ulcerative colitis (source).

Furthermore, studies indicate frankincense reduces pain by inhibiting the production of leukotrienes.

Leukotrienes are similar to the prostaglandins that I mentioned earlier in that they both mediate the inflammatory process. In essence, leukotrienes and prostaglandins contribute to painful sensations (source).

So, by inhibiting the production of leukotrienes, frankincense oil is able to effectively reduce the amount of pain that you feel during your cycle.

2. Supports The Immune System

Did you know that our immune cells also produce, store and transport hormones (source)?

Yep, this includes thyroid hormones and prolactin, both of which have a strong impact on the menstrual cycle.

Also, the immune system and endocrine (hormone production) system are always talking to each other (source).

And if the immune system isn’t strong enough or it’s overworked (due to toxins, an unhealthy diet or other chemical stressors) then guess what happens?

Inflammation increases and hormone production is thrown off balance.

Frankincense can help to counteract this because it supports the immune system by fighting inflammation at the cellular level.

So, this goes beyond fighting the physical pain associated with inflammation. Rather, frankincense appears to target harmful free radicals that contribute to various inflammatory conditions (source).

Therefore, by improving immune function, frankincense helps to (indirectly) support hormone health as well.

3. Induces Calm and Relaxation

Like many essential oils, frankincense is great for lowering stress and tension. It helps you feel more calm, balanced and relaxed.

Now, this may not seem like much but remember that emotional stress and tension contributes to inflammation.

So, while cramps in your uterus may not be entirely due to your busy schedule or your racing mind…they do play their part.

And simply inhaling frankincense oil can give you a moment of peace and serenity, allowing tension to melt away just a little more.


best type of frankincense to use for painful menstrual cramps

All frankincense oils come from the boswellia tree. However, there are different types of boswellia trees and therefore, different types of frankincense. These include (source):

  • carteri: grows in East Africa and China.
  • frereana: grows in East Africa (specifically, Somalia).
  • serrata: grows in India.
  • sacra: grows in Oman, Yemen and Somalia

Most essential oil brands list the exact type of frankincense on the packaging. So, just read the label to know what you’re getting.

Regardless of which type of frankincense you buy, they all have anti-inflammatory properties and therefore, can help with pain.

However, Plant Therapy – one of the companies I rely on for essential oil education and purchases – recommends the use of boswellia serrata specifically for menstrual pain (source).

Now, the side benefit of using the serrata variety is that it’s usually more affordable than other types of frankincense (because the serrata tree produces more yield than the others).

However, do keep in mind that the serrata variety is not safe for kids. So, if you have little ones, be sure to keep it away from their reach.

If you’d like to try Plant Therapy’s serrata oil, you can get it here.


how to use frankincense essential oil for menstrual pain

The best way to relieve painful menstrual cramps with frankincense oil, is to use it in a DIY massage oil.

However, before you reach for your essential oil, please keep the following tips and safety guidelines in mind:

  • Always dilute frankincense in a carrier oil. This can be something light like almond oil, jojoba oil or fractionated coconut oil. Avoid very heavy oils and butters because they make it harder for the essential oil to penetrate the skin.
  • For menstrual cramps a 3 – 10% dilution level is ideal. The higher the dilution level, the stronger the mix will be. So, a 10% dilution is stronger than a 3% dilution.
  • Do some testing to see which dilution works best for you. Generally, the more intense your cramps are, the more you need a high dilution.

In addition, frankincense essential oil is considered safe for topical use. So, as long as you follow the safety guidelines outlined above, you shouldn’t experience any skin irritation.

However, there are almost 8 billion of us on this planet. And that means there’s always a possibility that some sensitivity can occur. If it does, then discontinue use of the oil.

Lastly, if you find that you don’t get results with frankincense alone, then you may want to combine it with other essential oils for period cramps.

In fact, with essential oils you can get much better results by combining two or more oils.

Some other period-friendly oils that blend well with frankincense are copaiba, peppermint and clary sage.

Frankincense-Only Massage Oil for Menstrual Pain 

This recipe uses a 3% dilution.


27 drops frankincense oil

1 oz glass bottle 

Carrier oil of your choice


  1. Add the essential oil drops into the glass bottle.
  2. Fill the rest of the bottle with carrier oil.
  3. Close the bottle and shake well to combine the ingredients.
  4. Massage onto the lower abdominal area (and lower back if desired). 
  5. Reapply every few hours as needed to relieve pain.

Frankincense and Copaiba Period Pain Blend

This recipe uses a 3% dilution


13 drops copaiba

14 drops frankincense

1 oz glass bottle 

Carrier oil of your choice


  1. Add the essential drops into the glass bottle.
  2. Fill the rest of the bottle with carrier oil.
  3. Close the bottle and shake well to blend the ingredients.
  4. Massage onto the lower abdominal area (and lower back if desired). 
  5. Reapply every few hours as needed to relieve pain.

NOTE: to change the dilution level of these recipes follow the guidelines outlined in this post on how to dilute essential oils.


What is the best essential oil for menstrual cramps?

Aside from frankincense, other oils that are good for menstrual cramps include clary sage, copaiba, ginger, peppermint, black pepper and clove oil.

To learn more about these oils you can read these mini guides that I put together:

Which tea is best for menstrual cramps?

Cramp bark, ginger, nettle and cinnamon tea are just a few of the herbal teas that can help with painful periods.

For a full list of teas, as well as tips on how to use them, check out this post on the 10 best teas for menstrual cramps.


Frankincense is a versatile and potent essential oil that can provide quick relief from unbearable period cramps.

You can start easy by using frankincense alone, or you can enhance its action by blending it with other essential oils.

Just remember that as amazing as essential oils are, they’re not always enough to get down to the root cause of symptoms.

So, it’s a good idea to also eat a hormone-friendly diet that supplies your body with the nutrients it needs.

For more details on which foods to focus on, check out this hormone-balancing diet plan (it includes a printable food list to help you get started).

In the meantime, if you have any comments or questions about frankincense oil for painful menstrual cycles, feel free to share below:)

frankincense oil for menstrual cramps pin with carrier oil

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