Frankincense (Boswellia carteri)

Frankincense comes from a small tree native to North Africa (Somalia) and some Arabian countries. When the bark of the tree is damaged it exudes a white emulsion, the resin, that is white and milky. When this emulsion comes into contact with air it slowly hardens and congeals into tears and drops that are whitish to amber or burnt orange in color. Frankincense oil is deep golden in color, clear like water, very viscous with a deep intensity of scent and the fragrance is rich, spicy, balsamic, agreeable, with a citrus or lemon back note. The historical use of frankincense is in spiritual and religious rituals. It is one of the oldest herbs/resins used for this purpose. Rising smoke from burning resins was a means of communicating with the gods by the ancient peoples, and Frankincense was burned on hot coals for this purpose as well as for its healing properties and fragrance. Frankincense was considered a very sacred gift. In ancient times frankincense was bought and sold everywhere. Arabia was the largest exporter and its trees produced the best quality frankincense. The story most people are familiar with is that of the three holy kings who presented what they considered the most precious gifts to the Son of God at Bethlehem: gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh. The smoke of Frankincense fills churches and sacred spaces to this day as well as the ritual areas of many people. From this burning incense a fragrance issues that “that floats on an invisible thread to heaven to attract the attention of the Gods”.For it is on fragrance that the gods feed and it is fragrance that they desire. The use of the essential oil of Frankincense has expanded beyond spiritual use. It is a valuable addition to skin and body care products due to its astringent and antiseptic properties. It is useful in lotions, salves, soaps and oils and indicated for acne, skin problems, and boils. Frankincense essential oil benefits the skin by keeping it healthy and preventing wrinkling and aging. Used by inhalation in a candle diffusor, Frankincense beneficial in treating bronchitis, excessive mucus, colds, and coughs. Frankincense is a useful addition to aromatherapy blends and potpourri, where it serves to fix the scent and acts as a base note. It is of particular value in perfume blends of the Oriental style, because it rounds out and gives alluring tones that particularly difficult to identify as to the source.