Frankincense (Boswellia carterii)

Frankincense, also called olibanum, is an aromatic resin used in incense and perfumes, obtained from trees of the genus Boswellia in the family Burseraceae, particularly Boswellia sacra (synonym B. bhaw-dajiana), B. carterii, B. frereana, B. serrata, and B. papyrifera. The word is from Old French franc encens ("high-quality incense").

Frankincense is tapped from the scraggy but hardy trees by striping (slashing the bark) and letting the exuded resin bleed out and harden. The hardened streaks of resin are called tears. Several species and varieties of frankincense trees each produce a slightly different type of resin.

Frankincense has been traded on the Arabian Peninsula for more than 6,000 years. The Greek historian Herodotus was familiar with frankincense and knew it was harvested from trees in southern Arabia. He reported that the gum was dangerous to harvest because of venomous snakes that lived in the trees. He goes on to describe the method used by the Arabs to get around this problem, that being the burning of the gum of the styrax tree whose smoke would drive the snakes away. Theophrastus mentions the resin, as does Pliny the Elder in his Naturalis Historia.

Southern Arabia was a major exporter of frankincense in antiquity, with some of it being traded as far as China.

The Egyptians cleansed body cavities in the mummification process with frankincense and natron. In Persian medicine, it is used for diabetes.

It is used in incense as well as in perfumes. Frankincense is used in perfumery and aromatherapy. Olibanum essential oil is obtained by steam distillation of the dry resin. The oil's chemical components are 75% monoterpenes, sesquiterpenes, monoterpenoles, sesquiterpenols and ketones.

The therapeutic properties of Frankincense Oil include use as an antiseptic, astringent, carminative, digestive, diuretic, sedative, tonic and expectorant. It has remarkable rejuvenating and healing properties.

Olibanum is characterised by a balsamic-spicy, slightly lemon, fragrance of incense, with a conifer-like undertone. It is used in the perfume, cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries.

Find Organic Frankincense Essential Oil in the following BVO Products.


For educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.