Latin Name: Boswellia carteri
Also known as: Olibanum
Distribution: Native to mountainous regions of western India, southern Arabia and north-eastern Africa. The majority of frankincense is produced in Somalia and Ethiopia.
Different species are found in different countries:
B. sacra-from Oman, Yemen and southern Saudi Arabia
B. papyifera-western Ethiopia
B. serrata-western India
Extraction: Frankincense is produced from the steam distillation of the resin of various boswellia species. An absolute is also produced by solvent extraction.
Characteristics: The oil varies from colourless to pale yellow. The odor is fresh and slightly penetrating.
Actions: anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, astringent, carminative, cicatrizant, cytophylactic, digestive, diuretic, emmenagogue, expectorant, sedative, tonic, uterine, vulnerary
Uses: blemishes, dry and mature skin, scars, wounds, wrinkles, asthma, bronchitis, catararrh, coughs, laryngitis, cystitis, dysmenorrhea, colds, flu, anxiety, and nervous tension.
Frankincense slows and deepens the breath, assisting in meditation, prayer, and deep relaxation.
Perfumery: frankincense has been used in perfumery since ancient Egypt. It has a fresh, top note and a warm, rich, sweet undertone. It is often used as a fixative in perfumes and soaps. It blends well with sandalwood, pine, vetiver, geranium, lavender, neroli, orange, bergamot, basil, pepper, and cinnamon. It works well with citrus blends as it modifies the sweetness and adds an interesting note.
Primary constituents: Pinene, dipentene, limonene, thujone, phellandrene, cymene, myrcene, terpinene.
Interesting facts: Frankincense has been used since antiquity as incense in China and India. The Catholic Church has long used frankincense, and the ancient Egyptians used it in cosmetics and perfumes. The kohl used by the Egyptians to paint their eyes was charred frankincense. Medicinally, it has long been used for conditions such as rheumatism, syphilis, respiratory and urinary tract infections, and skin diseases.
Method of administration: Massage, compress, bath, skin care, direct inhalation, diffuser, steam distillation, and oil vaporizer.
Contraindications: Frankincense is non-toxic, non-irritant, and non-sensitizing.
Please note: this information is not intended to take the place of diagnosis and treatment by a licensed medical practitioner or naturopath. Any recommendations are for educational purposes only and are believed to be effective.
Do not use essential oils internally unless under the care and guidance of a licensed aromatherapist.