The Frankincense tree, or Olibanum, upon first glance, may seem rather unremarkable. It appears as a giant shrub, with many knurled branches topped with abundant slender leaves and occasionally, small white flowers. A native to northern Africa, it looks like it belongs in the desert, growing in some of the world’s harshest conditions. But it is not the tree itself, but rather its sap that has such profound lore surrounding it. When the tree’s bark is pierced with a knife (known traditionally as a ‘Mingaf’), a milky-white oleoresin is exuded, though the tree is not harmed (Myrrh is also harvested in this way). The resin forms droplets known as ‘tears’ or ‘pearls’, which harden into the orange-brown gum known itself as Frankincense. The English name of this natural incense is derived from the medieval French ‘franc’, meaning ‘pure’ or ‘free’, and from the Latin ‘incensium’, meaning ‘to smoke’.
About The Oil
All Frankincense essential oils are derived from the resin lovingly referred to as “Liquid pearls from the tree of life.” These oleo gum resins function as the protective and defensive support for the tree, and in its essential oil form, passes onto us these same precious properties. This Frankincense carteri is steam distilled, and we find the aroma just as amazing as the CO2 extracted carteri.
The resin of Boswellia carterii, along with its relative Boswellia serrata, contains high levels of the soothing compounds beta elemene. These compounds have been found to enhance overall comfort and ease in our bodies and joints, as well as for the health and beauty of our skin.
Research supports the therapeutic use of every one of the Frankincense varieties. It’s really a matter of personal preference to find the aroma you most enjoy!
Resins and their oils have always been associated with fumigation and purification. This explains why Frankincense essential oil was first used as incense in India, China and the Catholic churches of Europe and North America. The spirit of the sacred and of meditation have surrounded Frankincense for ages, allowing the spirit, as it’s smoke does, to rise to the heavens. Frankincense can properly be said to belong to the family of sacred scents.
In ancient Egypt, the famous kyphi, derived from frankincense, was used in perfume, incense, and beverages. Ancient Egyptian women would char frankincense resin (called kohl) and use it to blacken their eyelids and outline their eyes.