As physicians struggle to find a cure for COVID-19, an ancient resin with known medicinal qualities may be helping some people. This resin was one of the elements in the Temple service and played a part in saving Israel from several Biblical plagues.
Several people from the Haredi community, a community that has been especially hard-hit by the coronavirus, contacted Rabbi Yosef Berger, the rabbi of King David’s Tomb on Mount Zion, to tell him that their loved ones who were ill from COVID-19 had gotten some relief from using frankincense, an herbal treatment that has long been recognized by naturopaths and herbalists for treating a number of diseases.
“As a leader in my community, a naturopath came to me, requesting that I make it known that frankincense may help some people,” Rabbi Berger said. Rabbi Berger spoke to many of these people and was convinced that it had indeed helped them.
One such person was Rabbi Dov Kook, a mystic from Israel with a large following. Rabbi Kook tested positive for coronavirus last week and was self-quarantining in a private home until his condition deteriorated and he was taken to Poriya hospital in Tiberias, where he was in the intensive care unit. Rabbi Kook was reportedly released from the hospital and in addition to the medical treatment, Rabbi Kook was ingesting small quantities of frankincense.
Not only was frankincense prized throughout history for its purported medicinal qualities, sometimes being worth more than its weight in gold, but was known as levona and had great spiritual significance playing a prominent role in the Temple service.
And Hashem said to Moshe: Take the herbs stacte, onycha, and galbanum—these herbs together with pure frankincense; let there be an equal part of each. Make them into incense, a compound expertly blended, refined, pure, sacred. Exodus 30:34
Not only was frankincense one of the eleven elements of the Temple incense but it was also placed on the rack holding the Show Bread in the Temple.
With each row you shall place pure frankincense, which is to be a token offering for the bread, as an offering by fire to Hashem. Leviticus 24:7
Aromatherapists and naturopaths use frankincense to treat viral infections. Frequently, the common cold is caused by a viral infection that cannot be treated by antibiotics. This is because unlike bacteria, a virus enters the cells of the host and replicates. Antibiotics are effective against bacteria which are foreign invaders. Viruses are not recognized by the body or by the antibiotics as foreign invaders.
Frankincense, made from the resin of the Boswellia tree, has been proven by medical testing to be helpful in reducing inflammation caused by cold and flu viruses. Frankincense contains boswellic acid, which may help fight inflammation, the body’s reaction to infection. In 2006, a study published in Planta Medica showed that oil made from Frankincense attenuated influenza virus infection and suggested a number of ways the boswellic acid in frankincense might fight inflammation.
This excerpt from Avraham Sand’s book, Mystical Aromatherapy, describes the health benefits of Frankincense:
“Frankincense has the ability to slow down and deepen the breath, is extremely healthy for the entire respiratory system, and treats many ailments such as cough, asthma and chronic bronchitis. Recently it has been shown that the use of Frankincense as medicine may revolutionize the treatment of cancer.”
Sand explained in his book that cancer, similar to viruses, spreads by corrupting the DNA code withing healthy human cells. In a manner that is not entirely understood, frankincense prevents the nucleus from reproducing corrupted DNA codes.
But Rabbi Berger noted that in addition to its health benefits, frankincense addressed the spiritual element of the pandemic.
“God does not allow His Creation to needlessly suffer,” Rabbi Berger said. “This pandemic is clearly intended to wake people up. It will bring down governments. Some people refuse to listen and are still playing political games while the world is on fire. The world has changed and this disease is intended to lead all the people of the world to turn to God.”
“Before God brings a disease, he creates the cure,” Rabbi Berger said. “The Temple was always an essential element in stopping disease and it is clear that frankincense, a part of the Temple service, would also play a part in curing disease.”
Rabbi Berger noted that Jews have a tradition of reciting pitum ketoret, a prayer describing the composition of the Temple incense, as a means of dispelling epidemics. He also noted that after Korach caused the congregation of Israel to sin, a plague struck the nation. Aaron was commanded to pass the burning incense among the people to stop the plague.
Then Moshe said to Aharon, “Take the fire pan, and put on it fire from the mizbayach. Add incense and take it quickly to the community and make expiation for them. For wrath has gone forth from Hashem: the plague has begun!” Numbers 17:11
Sand goes on to describe the place frankincense plays in the final redemption according to Jewish sources:
“Levonah zakah – pure Frankincense – the most exalted of the Ketoret Spices, represents the final stage in evolution. A massive awakening will bring the whole world out of a limited awareness that hides the Godly Light, into a totally luminescent state of Messianic consciousness. The Frankincense in the Incense represents the full revelation of Light in the Creation, recognizing in everything the nekuda tovah – point of holiness – the level of pure White Light. Pure Frankincense corresponds to the Light that surrounds all of the rest of Creation.”
Rabbi Berger requested that anyone who has the ability to acquire quantities of frankincense or is interested in investing in pursuing this for the good of the public contact this reporter at firstname.lastname@example.org
DISCLAIMER: This article is intended to report on a possible natural remedy for viral infections that some studies have shown might be an effective treatment for some ailments. This article is not medically authoritative. A certified physician should be consulted before using Frankincense as part of a treatment for COVID-19.