Frankincense essential oil is one of the most highly prized oils in existence. It has a soft, comforting aroma, and has been used throughout history to treat many different conditions.
History of Frankincense a Universal Essential Oil
Frankincense, otherwise known as boswellia serrate, was highly valued by ancient civilizations, and was reserved for the most sacred religious practices and healing arts. Perhaps the most famous associations with frankincense comes from the traditional Christmas story, in which the Three Wise Men presented the Christ child with gifts that included it. However, few people understand its wider significance in the establishment of trade routes between Asia and Europe.
Frankincense begins as a resinous sap that comes from a specific species of trees that grow in the South of the Arabian Peninsula. During certain seasons, the trees are trimmed with special knives in order to allow the sap to ooze out. The sap is left to dry in the sun. Once completely dry, it can be used. Harvested frankincense is burned as incense, but has many other uses as well. Because of its high demand, the kingdoms of southern Arabia became an important part of the global economy.
Today, virtually all frankincense hails from the western art of Oman, where it is used for many different things, from drink flavorings to toothpaste. Its modern day incarnation is distilled using steam distillation.
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Hamidpour, R., Hamidpour, S., Hamidpour, M., & Shahlari, M. (2013). Frankincense (乳香 Rǔ Xiāng; Boswellia Species): From the Selection of Traditional Applications to the Novel Phytotherapy for the Prevention and Treatment of Serious Diseases. Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine, 3(4), 221–226. http://doi.org/10.4103/2225-4110.119723
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ISSN: 2319-7706, Volume 3, Number 10, (2014) pp.1095 – 1101
Complementary Medicine, Peninsula Medical School, Universities of Exeter and Plymouth, Exeter EX2 4NT, UK.