What is Frankincense?
The name Frankincense comes from old French words: franc encens, which means “high-quality or pure incense”.
It is tapped from the scraggly but hardy trees by striping (slashing the bark) and letting the exuded resin bleed out and harden. The hardened resin is called tears. Various species and varieties of the frankincense trees produce slightly different types of resin. Differences in soil and climate also affects the resin.
Boswellia sacra trees are considered unusual for their ability to grow in environments so unforgiving that they sometimes grow out of solid rock. The trees start producing resin at about eight to 10 years old. Tapping is done two to three times a year with the final taps producing the best tears due to their higher aromatic content. Generally speaking, more opaque resins are the best quality, with Somalia producing fine resin.
Frankincense tree populations are declining, due to over-exploitation, burning, grazing, attacks by the longhorn beetle and clearing of frankincense woodlands for agriculture.
Frankincense – also known as olibanum – have been traded in the Middle East and North Africa for more than 5000 years. Babylonians, Assyrians and Egyptians all used it – from burning it during religious ceremonies to using it as insect repellent and perfume, to embalming.
What makes frankincense so special?
Frankincense has a woody, spicy smell and can be inhaled, absorbed through the skin, steeped into a tea or taken as a supplement.
– anti-inflammatory effects
– prevent the production of leukotrienes, which cause your bronchial muscles to constrict in asthma
– strong antibacterial properties
– boswellic acids might prevent cancer cells from spreading
– steroid-like structure reduces redness, soothes skin irritation and promotes healing in bruises and infected sores
And all these attributes results in the following benefits when using frankincense:
- Helps prevent diabetes
- Reduces stress, anxiety and depression
- Prevents heart disease
- Promotes smooth skin
- Improves memory
- Balances hormones and reduces symptoms of PMS
- Enhances fertility
It stands to reason then, that frankincense has a lot of uses:
- Frankincense essential oil is great for skin care and nearly everything related to skin; burns, rashes, cuts, scrapes, and oozing sores
- Stress-Relieving Bath Soak
- Natural Household Cleaner
- Natural Hygiene Product
- Anti-Aging and Wrinkle Fighter
- Relieves symptoms of indigestion
- Scar, wound, stretch mark and acne remedy
- Natural cold and flu medicine
- Helps relieve inflammation and pain