This Or That: What Are The Differences Between Frankincense Essential Oils?

It’s difficult to pinpoint the main differences between the four varieties of Frankincense we offer. Many aromatherapists agree that though the chemistry differs between them, the therapeutics are very much the same.

The outstanding difference between our Frankincenses tends to be in their aroma, but rather than leaving it at that, we’d like to delve a little deeper and give those of you wondering which Frankincense to choose, a bit of direction. Rooted in rich history, and valued by myriads of cultures, there is much to learn about one of EG’s most popular essential oils.


The most well known and used Frankincense of the four we offer is our Frankincense Carterii essential oil. Besides its intoxicatingly smooth, and relaxing aroma, Frankincense Carterii has a knack for charming users with its many therapeutic properties. This oil is high in alpha-pinene, and other monoterpenes, making it a great immune support.

Frankincense Carterii has many benefits towards the skin, such as reducing the appearance of mature skin and scars due to its ability to repair skin cells. The respiratory system can also benefit from Frankincense, as it aids illnesses and breathing. The aroma of Frankincense Carterii is what most people are familiar with, and is commonly used in making natural incense and resin burning. It has a deep, rich, grounding aroma which touts the ability to quiet the mind, support focus, and encourage tranquility.


Though both Frankincense Frereana and Frankincense Carterii are sourced from the mountainous regions of Somalia, Frankincense Frereana is typically grown at a higher altitude, giving this oil a unique chemical makeup. This variety of Frankincense is high in pinene, thujene, and cymene, giving this oil great anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antispasmodic, and analgesic properties.

This oil is your go-to for relieving inflammation caused by arthritis, swelling, and allergies. Frankincense Frereana would also be a good addition to local pain blends. What’s commonly notable about this oil’s aroma, is its citrus-lemon top notes and earthy, resinous Frankincense heart.


Native to Oman, Frankincense Sacra is a gem to the Middle East. Not unlike most Frankincenses, Frankincense Sacra tends to thrive in precarious environments, like rocky, eroding slopes and chalky soil. Out of all four of the Frankincense offered at Edens Garden, Frankincense Sacra has the highest amount of alpha-pinene.

When paired with oils high in limonene such as Lemon and other citruses, Frankincense Sacra has been found to be highly antimicrobial. Containing high amounts of alpha-pinene also gives Frankincense Sacra the ability to act as an anti-inflammatory. It’s aroma is pungent, and strong, with a deep, earthy Frankincense aroma. You may pick up on some medicinal top notes and woody undertones when enjoying this rich Frankincense oil. If you love the aroma of Frankincense, you will truly appreciate the aroma of Frankincense Sacra.


It is believed that, because it is the oldest documented Frankincense, Frankincense Serrata may be the Frankincense referred to in the Bible and Ayurvedic medicine. Frankincense Serrata is high in natural constituents called alpha thujene, alpha-pinene, and limonene. These components belong to the monoterpenes chemical family, lending Frankincense Serrata to being a powerful antiseptic, decongestant, and anti-inflammatory agent.

You may want to choose Frankincense Serrata when you’re in need of a deodorizer, or air purifier. This oil is also commonly used during meditation and as an anointing oil. The Frankincense resin from which it is produced is soft, sticky, and rich in oil. Because Frankincense Serrata yields a higher amount of essential oil, it is less expensive than our other Frankincenses which don’t yield as much oil. Its aroma is sweeter and more delicate, with terpenic-pine top notes.


Frankincense resin, from which the essential oil is distilled, is extracted by stripping the bark of a Frankincense tree. The resin then bleeds out a sappy, resinous substance, which dries to heal the tree. The tree itself tends to grow in rocky soil, and even in rocks to prevent itself from being uprooted during a storm. Frankincense continues to astound us with its amazing characteristics and abilities, which is why we’re proud to offer this oil in its purest form, sharing its benefits with everyone!  

Certified By An Aromatherapist


These comments were contributed by customers without influence from Edens Garden. The opinions expressed in these comments are 100% the authors' own and do not reflect the views or opinions of Edens Garden.

  • Edens Garden says...

    Hi Mary! Frankincense carterii has the most traditional Frankincense aroma. However, you may be used to the blend of Frankincense that doTERRA offers, and we can’t promise that Frankincense carterii alone will have a similar aroma to the blend.

  • Mary says...

    I was delighted to find EG recently, after using Doterra for a year! But have a question about frankincense. I was conscientiously using Doterra frankincense (made of carterii, frereana, and sacra) every day and every night on a pre-cancerous skin spot on my cheek. I got the scabby spot to disappear after 1 month, and it had been there for several years. Since Doterra is too expensive, and I liked EG ethos, and their other products, I decided to try the most expensive ‘frereana’ type, and bought the 30ml size about 2 months ago. Mistake! It smells like a faint tea tree oil, not frankincense, and a tiny scab is coming back on the spot.

    I know you can not give medical advice, but will your ‘carterii’ EO smell good like frankincense??! Just wondering.

  • Edens Garden says...

    Hi Diane! In this case, we would suggest working with a doctor and aromatherapist who can provide you with safe guidelines that meet that person’s specific medical conditions.

  • Edens Garden says...

    Hi Jan! You might try one of our blends, such as Head-A-Sore-Use or Head Ease.

  • Diane says...

    Which one of these might be the most beneficial for someone recovering from brain cancer?

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