sniff2I remember the first time I ever smelled frankincense. While I was in college, a friend burned a piece of the amber-colored tree resin. And this suburban chick from Long Island thought it was the most exotic–and delicious–thing I’d ever sniffed.

Over the years, I’ve since sniffed many more amazing aromas–but the rich, sweet scent of frankincense still remains at the top of my list of favorites.

So, I’m happy to report that there’s an actual research-backed reason to breathe in frankincense: Doing so can alleviate the blues and anxiety, making you feel happier and calmer–a big help during your premenstrual days or any other challenging day of your cycle, according to a 2012 study in the journal Psychopharmacology and a 2008 study in the FASEB Journal.

Credit goes to a certain compound released from frankincense–incesole acetate–that activates areas of the brain that alleviate down moods and anxiety when inhaled.

Best of all, not only do frankincense’s uplifting and relaxing effects kick in fast–within just minutes–they last for hours and may even linger for days.

Sounds like a good reason to head to the natural foods store or incense shop for frankincense today.

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