• Frankincense, or other wise known as olibanum, is an aromatic resin obtained from trees in the genus Boswellia. The genus Boswellia is a part of the family Burseraceae. The English word frankincense is actually derived from the Old French “franc encens” meaning high quality incense. Frankincense is used mainly for perfumes and incense. Most frankincense that is produced today comes from Somalia, however it is also native to Yemen and Oman. Frankincense has been used and traded in the Middle East and North Africa for over 5,000 years. Did you know that in the Bible frankincense is one of the gifts brought to the baby Jesus on Christmas by the three wise men?
• A few of the trees included in the Boswellia genus that contain true frankincense are Frereana, Sacra, and Serrata. The process of extracting the actual frankincense from the tree is called tapping. The bark on the tree is actually slashed off, or other wise known as striping, which allows the inside resin to bleed out of the tree and harden into frankincense tears. The tears are different shades of yellowish-gold.
• These tears can be used in many different products and industries. While mainly used for the incense and perfume industries, it can also be used for bath and body products, candle making, cosmetics, medicinal purposes, hair care, skin care, foods and beverages, and soaping. Common products it can be used in are lotions, ointments, creams, emulsifying scrubs, soaps, bath teas, perfumes, incense and potpourri. In the Hebrew Bible, frankincense is one of the special consecrated incenses offered on an incense altar used in Ketoret ceremonies. It was considered a symbol of the Divine Name, was an ingredient in the perfume of the sanctuary, and was an emblem of prayer.
• While there are many trees within the Boswellia genus, Boswellia Sacra is one of the main trees used for true frankincense. It is native to Oman, Yemen, and Somalia, and is a tree that reaches heights anywhere from 6 to 26 feet. It can tolerate any kind of growing condition up to even the most critical, and is often found on rocky slopes and ravines. They can sometimes even grow out of pure solid rock. A disk-like swelling of the trunk prevents it from being ripped off the rock during storms. Sacra trees have a special root called a buttress that goes all the way up into the base of stem of tree, which is what causes the swelling of the trunk.
• Sacra trees actually tend to have one or more trunks on them. The leaves are compound while the leaflets are odd numbered and will grow opposite each other along the tree branches. The bark of the tree has the texture of paper which makes is very easy to remove. It also has tiny whitish-yellow flowers that are in clusters of five petals. The actual frankincense resin will not begin to produce within the tree until the tree is about 8-10 years old.
• There are some threats to sacra trees however. Animals on Oman seem to be killing the mature trees because they browse on the foliage, flowers and leaves which results in the tree not being able to regenerate quickly enough. Frankincense tree population is also showing to decline from overexploitation.
Frankincense Uses in Industries
• While frankincense is mainly used for perfumes and incense purposes, it can also be used for food and beverages. It is mainly used as an enhancer in desserts and can be used to make frankincense ice cream and shortbread cookies. However some people even include it as an ingredient in homemade salad dressing. Frankincense can be added to beverages to be used to fight cancers.
Bath and Body Products
• Frankincense can be used in many different products including skin care, hair care, soaping, bath and body products and even medicinal purposes. Frankincense perfume can be used to help calm and relieve people of stress.
• Many common products that include frankincense are lotions, ointments, creams, emulsifying scrubs, soaps, bath teas, perfumes, incense and potpourri.
• For skin care, frankincense can help with scarring. It helps to fade acne, stretch marks and even surgery marks. It also helps to rejuvenate, smooth and soften skin, and reduce wrinkles and fine lines.
• When used for hair care, it helps to make the hair shinier and helps prevent dandruff. It also helps to makes the roots stronger and brings healthier hair.
• There are many medicinal benefits to using frankincense. It can be used to treat osteoarthritis, rheumatism, rheumatoid arthritis, tendonitis, bursitis, asthma, abdominal pain, hay fever, and sore throats. Frankincense can even be used as a treatment for syphilis.
• For women, it can be used as a stimulant for menstrual flow.
• It can be used to treat back pain, relieve inflammation and itching, and can even help to improve the immune system.
• Frankincense can even be used to improve and treat visual problems and helps to improve concentration.
• One of the best known medicinal uses for frankincense is its anti-carcinogenic properties. It can be used to treat and fight cancer.
• It can also treat many other ailments such as pneumonia, warts, tonsillitis, jaundice, prostate problems, hyperactivity, and restlessness.
• It has many anti-infectious, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, sedative, and anti-tumor properties.
• In history, frankincense was used as a sacred oil in the Middle East for sacrificial ceremonies.
• Nature’s Garden sells frankincense tears for external use only. We do not sell it as a food item. The information above talks about how great frankincense is for many industries, however we only sell it for external use. We provide this data for educational purposes only. Nothing in this article is to be construed as medical advice. Please consult your doctor before using this product or any of this information for treatment purposes.
• Are you wondering how to use this wonderful product? Try out our free recipe for Frankincense and Myrrh Soap this holiday season made with Frankincense and Myrrh Fragrance Oil!