Why is Green Frankincense (Boswelia Sacra) the most highly regarded?
Reports of Green Frankincense or the Saint Incense tree resin of Dhofar desert (Oman) dates back to very ancient times, when it was transported with caravans to the neighbouring countries: Babylon, Egypt, Cyprus island, Greece, and later on to Rome. Green Frankincense was and still is extremely highly valued as having the best scent and purported healing qualities amongst the whole Boswellia species. There are about 24 species of Boswellia. They differ only slightly from each other in terms of anatomy and morphology, but the qualities of their resins vary greatly in indivudual scent, biochemistry and therapeutical effects.
When shallow cuts are made into the Frankincense tree trunk resin oozes out and forms round and elongated shaped tears drops when drying. The higher the purity of the Frankincense resin, the higher the quality. Higher grades of resin are brighter in colour, more bitter in taste, more fragrant in smell and burn with greater ease. When soaking resin in water a slightly whitish colour is released. When burned or diffused as an incense, Frankincense resin has a pleasant fresh, resinous, dry odour, with a fruity scent as its high note.
In the Middle East resin used as incense is known as ‘Al Luban’. In Europe it became know under the English translation of ‘Oliban’, derived from the Old English of Frank + Incense, meaning ‘real incense’.
It was used for royal ceremonies, religious rituals, embalmnet of pharaohs’ bodies, treatment of wounds and internal organs, cosmetics, perfumes and to improve the aromaof food and drinks. It was burned at altars and in temples, because it slows and deepens breathing, enhancing relaxation thereby creating ideal conditions for praying and meditating. In the Bible Frankincense incense was mentioned as one of the 3 valued gifts from the Three Kings to baby Jesus.
Traditional use of resin
Only the Green Frankincense (Boswellia Sacra) can be used internally (chew, drink its water or extract), because this is the only species that biochemical composition is safe to consume internally.
According to Oman people traditions, Frankincense is the best chewing gum and spice for sweets.
Frankincense resin strengthens teeth and gums, improves digestion, removes accumulated mucus, makes a fresh and pleasant smell in mouth. Small pieces can be applied on hurting tooth, protects healthy teethor from caries.
When chewing frankincense or drinking its water, helps to concentrate, focus when doing mental activity or work, and at the same time remove stress and unnecessary thoughts flow.
In Oman people add small frankincense piece in a glass or bottle of water for the night, and in the morning, they drink it. This method is especially good for students before exams or serious meetings. According to century old experience, frankincense resin not only helps to improve digestion, but increases immunity to various diseases, improves memory and concentration, improves the beauty of the skin.
People in middle east scent their clothes and home with Frankincense, incense is obligatory in marriage and traditional ceremonies.
Women use incense as a home perfume. Traditional women wouldn’t even go out of the house or back without standing above burning incense for a while. In that way they perfume their body, hair and clothes and clean.
The smoke of incense is also used as a cosmetic for smooth skin, keep youthful and beautiful look. Instead of applying cream they just keep their face in the incense smoke.
Men use incense to protect their wellness when going to and out of business or work, so they wouldn’t bring home the wrong energy of other people with them.
When inhaling the fragrant and healing smoke of Boswellia resin, it improves health, cleanses body, beautifies skin.
Main qualities of Frankincense resin and essential oil mentioned in different ancient source, books and articles and used in middles east, Asia:
↠ support immune system;
↠ prevent bacterial invasion;
↠ prevents fungal dissemination and grow;
↠ prevents viral invasion;
↠ has like antiseptic activity;
↠ balance immune system and act as a anti-inflammatory,
↠ helps heal wounds and scars.
According ancient sources, Frankincense has a lot of healing qualities, so it can be called ‘Panacea’ for every disease: starting from cold, ending at cancer.
Therapeutical qualities of Frankincense resin and essential oil based on scientific research:
- Psychological impact. In various cultures burning resin was used to take care about psychological and emotional disorders. Seeking an inner peace and relax, deepen breath, clear mind, escape depressive thoughts, anxiety and spiritual negativity – incense resin or essential oil is very useful.
- Memory improvement. It is scientifically proven that Frankincense resin and essential oil improves memory and concentration. It’s enough apply a few drops of essential oil on solar plexus and spleen pancreas area. The brain blood circulation becomes more active, so the mind and memory clears up.
- Cosmetology. Frankincense resin and essential oil has wide use in modern and traditional cosmetology. The extract and oil of Frankincense resin are used for skin regenerating masks and creams for lifting effect (reducing wrinkles); improving the condition of dry skin and reducing the dryness and aging of skin. According to scientists, Boswellia resin activates skin cells proliferation, supporting fibrine net of the skin and recovery of superficial cells.
- Oral health. Frankincense resin is chewed to strengthen teeth tissue, gums and improve breath smell. It has like antibacterial and antifungals qualities, which is important to protect oral cavity from infection, wrong smell and caries.
- Digestion. Chewing resin also helps to cleanse digestion system, activate bile production and ferment secretion. The tea traditionally used to reduce stomach pain consisting of Frankincense resin, cinnamon and cardamom.
- Respiratory system. An inhalations of Frankincense essential oil is great cure for runny nose and sinusitis. Traditionally, the smoke of Frankincense incense is inhaled to relieve the symptoms of cold. It is a great support for respiratory system. The most effective are Frankincense, eucalyptus and pine essential oil inhalations.
- Rheumatism. Frankincense essential oil perfectly fits in massage oil blends used to treat rheumatism and muscle pains.
- Headaches. The smoke of burning resin is a traditional remedy for headaches. Diffusing an essential oil does the same effect.
- Childbirth. At the times of the childbirth process in front of woman the resin is being burnt, and the newborn baby is covered in the incense smoke right away. The baby is regularly being covered in incense smoke for 40 days after birth. Meanwhile, the mother also heals and strengthens herself regularly standing above burning Frankincense. According to scientists, this procedure helps the mother to protect herself from infections after childbirth, speeds up the recovery and healing. Frankincense essential oil helps when the woman is feeling uncomfortable: while pregnant, giving childbirth or after labour, ( it can be used also in combination with other essential oils).
- Eyes. Light exposition to Frankincense smoke helps to soothe tired and irritated eyes.
- Against insects. Frankincense keeps away mosquitoes and other dangerous insects.
It is safe to use Frankincense during pregnancy and for children.
1.Flavours and fragrances of plant origin, Non-Wood Forest Products, 1, FAO, Rome. Coppen, J.J.W., 1995.
2. Essential oils of frankincense, myrrh and opopanax. Flavour Fragr. J. 18, 153-156. Baser, KHC., Demirci, B,Dekebo, A, Dagne, E. (2003).
3. Aromatherapy: An A-Z Patricia Davis 2005
4. Frankincense and Myrrh. Economic Botany 40, Tucker A.O., 1986.