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Frankincense (olibanum) Oil
Frankincense, also called olibanum, is an aromatic resin obtained from trees of the genus Boswellia, particularly Boswellia sacra, Boswellia frereana, Boswellia bhaw-dajiana (Burseraceae). It is used in incense as well as in perfumes.
Here at Astral Sea we carry pure (raw) Frankincense Resin (olibanum) which is to be burned on charcoal. Our incense sticks and cones are only dipped with pure Frankincense (olibanum)resin oil. This is one of the reasons why people like our frankincense above others which use artificial oils. Quick links to buy Frankincense Resin | Frankincense Incense Sticks | Frankincense Incense Cones |Frankincense Oil or search frankincense once in our online store for all products made with this resin.
Frankincense provides one of the most evocative scents in the long history of aromatics. Its fresh, fruity, pine-lemon bouquet with delicately sweet, resinous and woody undertones, slows and deepens breathing and has been used since ancient times to awaken higher consciousness, and enhance spirituality, meditation and prayer. A great incense fragrance.
The name “Frankincense” is widely known as an historic biblical ingredient, and to many as one of three gifts from the visiting Magi to the newborn Jesus and as an ingredient in the Old Testament’s Exodus incense mixture. Few have experienced its aroma though or know of its rich history and how the world has treasured and used it since long before recorded time.
Frankincense is tapped from the very scraggly but hardy Boswellia tree by slashing the bark and allowing the exuded resins to bleed out and harden. These hardened resins are called tears. There are numerous species and varieties of frankincense trees, each producing a slightly different type of resin. Differences in soil and climate create even more diversity of the resin, even within the same species.
Frankincense trees are also considered unusual for their ability to grow in environments so unforgiving that they sometimes seem to grow directly out of solid rock. The means of initial attachment to the stone is not known but is accomplished by a bulbous disk-like swelling of the trunk. This disk-like growth at the base of the tree prevents it from being torn away from the rock during the violent storms that frequent the region they grow in. This feature is slight or absent in trees grown in rocky soil or gravel. The tears from these hardy survivors are considered superior due to their more fragrant aroma.
In most cases when people think of frankincense they think of the “incense”. Egyptians used frankincense in their religious rites, as well as the Babylonians and Assyrians. It was Herodotus who reported that “1000 talents weight was offered every year during the feast of Bel, on the great altar of his temple…” Frankincense was also used in Persia and again Herodotus states “that the Arabs brought every year to Daurius as tribute 1000 talents.”
Frankincense was important in Jewish ritual, and later was important within the rites of the Catholic church. The Greeks and the Romans used frankincense as incense, but not as offerings. Instead it was used in everyday life – burning on the braziers that provided heat in the home. The earliest recorded use of frankincense was inscribed on a tomb of a 15th century BCE queen named Hathsepsut. The charred remains of the burnt frankincense was ground into a powder called kohl. Kohl is the substance used in creating the distinctive black eyeliner found on the figures in Egyptian art.
Frankincense was commonly used for medicinal purposes. Pliny the Elder, (1st century) used frankincense as an antidote to hemlock poisoning. The Iranian physician Avicenna (10th century) thought that it was good for body ailments such as tumors, vomiting, dysentery and fevers. In China B. Carteri is used for everything from leprosy, cancer, gonorrhea and carbuncles, and as an astringent.
Additionally, B. Carteri is used as camel food. The roots are debarked and eaten raw or used in beverages. The inner bark is used to make a brown dye and can even be used as fish bait! The resin is used in wine as an additive. Some of the exudates are used as non-vertebrate poison and even as fuel. The soft wood is used in a variety of building/craft products.
Western Uses of Frankincense
Today Western medicine does not promote/validate any of the historical or current Eastern medicinal practices. However, practitioners of aromatherapy believe in its power to reduce anxiety or stress. It is also promoted as an aid in meditation and prayer – a throwback to the times when it was the primary scent in the temple. In the East it is widely used as a medicinal. Frankincense is still a main ingredient in many different types of incense. It is also popular in commercial incense mixtures – and the raw “tears” are readily available to burn directly on hot coals just as the ancients did.
It is also important in the perfumery industry as a scent and as a fixative. Oil from frankincense can take up to six hours to evaporate, making it an important ingredient in many perfumes. The current potpourri market has also found a niche for the “tears” and oil.
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