History of Frankincense

In the Bible it is mentioned as one of the gifts of the Magi.  In fact, its importance is ranked right up there with gold in the Gospel of Matthew (2:11).  Going all the way back to the third century B.C, – or more than 5,000 years – the people of Africa and the Arabian Peninsula have been familiar with the aromatic resin known as Frankincense.  Indeed until recent times it was thought of as a highly coveted commodity to be traded and sold at a premium price.  In fact, in ancient Oman it was one of the key trade items in the Mediterranean region.  This is because Frankincense has many uses aside from its use as a fragrance.  It also has many religious and medicinal uses that are utilized even to this day.  Frankincense is used in products such as:

  • Clothing freshener
  • Deodorant
  • Toothpaste
  • Food flavoring
  • Drink flavoring
  • Medicine
  • Bath-Soak
  • Anti-Aging & Wrinkle Fighter
  • Aromatherapy

What is Frankincense?

Frankincense is a resin derived from the Boswellia carterii or Boswellia sacara tree that’s commonly grown in Somalia.  The word Frankincense itself comes from “franc encens,” which means quality incense in old French.  The essential oil from the tree is sourced from its leaves, stems or its roots.  The process of making it includes “wounding” the tree using a sharp tool.  After this the white sap the tree secretes is leached out and once it dries the hole drilled into the tree is deepened and enlarged.  The dry sap is what is used and collected about two week later.

Frankincense and its History

One of the oldest uses for Frankincense apart from its aroma is for religious services.  The Ancient Egyptians are said to have used it during animal sacrifices and while preserving human mummies.  Hebrews and Christians also used it in religious ceremonies as far back as the third century B.C. and fourth century A.D.  The aromatic resin continued being used for religious and medicinal purposes during the 1500 B.C., by priest who would used it to treat wounds.  Today, Frankincense is a common ingredient in perfumes and cosmetics.  There is also evidence that Frankincense can be used to alleviate asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, osteoarthritis and collagenous colitis.  Finally, though not as coveted as it was back 5,000 years ago, Frankincense continues to be a popular fragrance.  It many uses and its wonderful scent guarantees that people will still be harvesting and using it 5,000 years from now.

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