The “Christmas cure” for cycle-related anxiety and the blues

My Hormonology

The “Christmas cure” for cycle-related anxiety and the blues

ChristmastreeAround this time of year, you’re probably getting a whiff or two of sweet frankincense–for instance, at church, during Christmas events or, like me, in your local incense store.

Of course, that’s because frankincense was one of the three gifts the Three Wise Men brought the Baby Jesus.

Now, I don’t go to church, so I’m not sure what inspired a wise man to bring incense to an infant. Surely, there’s some interesting backstory there, right?

Well, no matter what his motivation, turns out, frankincense is a pretty smart gift to give.

That’s because breathing in frankincense can alleviate the blues and anxiety, making you feel happier and calmer, according to a 2008 study in the FASEB Journal. And this can be a big help during your Week 2 (which starts 8 days from the onset of your period–sooner in a cycle shorter than 28 days) when high estrogen can prompt stress-outs, during your premenstrual Week 4 when plunging estrogen can trigger sadness, or on any other challenging day of your cycle.

What makes frankincense have such a big impact on your mood? Credit goes to a certain compound–incensole acetate–released when frankincense is burned that activates areas of the brain that ease down moods and anxiety when inhaled.

The part I like best is that 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 after inhaling it, the research suggests.

Now that I’ve finished this post, I’ve totally talked myself into going to the incense store for a fresh supply of frankincense. Guess who’s going to be having an uplifting and relaxing afternoon?

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