Common and folk names
- • Olibanum tree
Parts of Plants Used
Dark green= the most popular and common use
The Frankincense is a small tree in the Burseraceae family. It is the primary tree in the genus Boswellia, from which frankincense, a resinous dried sap, is harvested. The tree reaches a height of 2 to 8 metres, with one or more trunks. Its bark has the texture of paper and can be removed easily. It has compound leaves and an odd number of leaflets, which grow opposite one another along its branches.
Its tiny flowers, a yellowish white, are gathered in axillary clusters composed of five petals, ten stamens and a cup with five teeth. The fruit is a capsule about 1 cm long. New leaves are covered with a fine down.
Boswellia Sacra is native to Ethiopia, northern Somalia, south-western Oman and southern Yemen. It is most widespread in northern Somalia, and in the woodlands of the escarpment mountains of the southern coast of the Arabian Peninsula. Boswellia Neglecta grows in eastern Ethiopia and in northern, central and southern Somalia. It is also present in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. Both species grow in deserts and woodlands on rocky limestone slopes and gullies.
Boswellia Sacra is assessed as Lower Risk/Near Threatened according to the Red Data List criteria of the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
- Used to relieve rheumatoid arthritis and soft tissue rheumatism
- Used to heal wounds
- Used to strengthen the female hormone system
- Used for smoothening skin irritation and swelling
- Used to relieve depression and anxiety
- Used to ease stomach complaints
- Used to relieve dental infections and sore gums
- Used as a cleansing tonic for the digestive system
- healing creams and ointments
- oil-based products
- resin powder
- bulk resin incense
- stress-reducing incenses
- ingredient in perfumes and aromatherapy (incense sticks)
- essential oil
- face and hand care creams
- body care lotions, creams, and sprays
- ingredient in soaps and shower gels
- insect deterrent
- repairing pottery and other utensils (gum)
- incenses burning (religious ceremonies)
- The English word is derived from old French "franc encens" meaning “high quality incense”
- Frankincense is named in the Bible as one of the three gifts given to the baby Jesus by the 'Three Wise Men'
- The trees start producing resin when they are about 8 to 10 years old
- Frankincense has been traded on the Arabian Peninsula and in North Africa for more than 5000 years
- In Indian culture, it is suggested that burning frankincense daily in the house brings good health
- The ancient Egyptians used the resin in religious rites, such as anointing the mummified bodies of their kings, and to treat wounds and sores
- In ancient Egypt, Frankincense and Myrrh were among the most essential ingredients of the sacred embalming lotions with which mummies were prepared
- Boswellia Sacra trees are considered unusual for their ability to grow in harsh environments, sometimes growing out of solid rock
- A mural depicting sacks of frankincense adorns the walls of the temple of ancient Egyptian Queen Hatshepsut, who died circa 1458 BC
- Frankincense was reintroduced to Europe by Frankish Crusaders, although its name refers to its quality, not to the Franks themselves