WHAT IS FRANKINCENSE?
Frankincence has been used in the Traditional Medicine systems of Asia, Europe, Arabia and Africa for thousands of years.
All frankincense is medicinal. Frankincense is an aromatic oleo gum resin from the Boswellia genus of trees, members of the Burseacae, a plant family that includes aromatic trees such as Palo Santo, Ylang Ylang, Proteus and others.
Boswellia trees are tapped at around 8-10 years and the valuable medicinal frankincense resin is harvested by indigenous people of the region. There are certain species of trees that offer their resins without the need for tapping, making them an excellent sustainable source of resin. We'll get deeper into the sustainability later on.
Frankincense and Myrrh have been used for thousands of years as incense, perfume and medicine in Asia, Europe, Arabia and Africa. Traditional applications associated with Frankincense include the treatment of arthritis, ulcers, asthma, bronchitis, tumors, cancer, mood, memory, brain function, aging skin, infertility, rheumatism, gastrointestinal issues, and libido.
THE TYPES OF FRANKINCENSE
* Frankincense Serrata (India) - Used in Hindu ceremonies and also Ayurvedic medicine. It has a sweet, spicy fragrance with notes of anise and mint.
* Frankincense Papyrifera (Ethiopia) - Often called Church Frankincense for it's use in churches across the world. Frankincense Papyrifera has a robust middle note a soft lingering heart note with hints of orange peel.
* Frankincense Carterii (Somalia) - carterii is the most commonly circulated type of Frankincense. The largest frankicense forest in the world is populated by carterii trees in Somalia. It provides most of our Frankincense and the main yearly income for many Somali families and communities. Frankincense Carterii has a deep soft amber note with highlights of honey, vanilla, and black pepper.
* Frankincense Sacra (Southern part of the Arabian peninsula) & Royal Hojari (Southern Oman) - botanists agree these two are one and the same species, however the fragrance indicates they are quite different and distinct types of Frankincense resin. Hojari has a sweeter and stronger fragrance than the regular sacra with clear amber and powerful citrus notes. The term “Royal” is added to the larger better-formed tears. The main Hojari types are silver, red and green Hojari which is usually called “Royal Green Hojari”. The Royal Green Hojari is considered the premier Omani Frankincense and often reserved in Arabian culture for medicinal applications such as the traditional tea
Black Frankincense - lesser known
* Frankincense Dalzielii (Nigeria & West Africa) - The main difference between Sacra/Hojari and Dalzielii is in their fragrance. They share citrus notes, but Boswellia dalzielii also has well defined notes of mint and camphor. Research indicates that Boswellia dalzielii contains the highest % of therapeutic Boswellic acids and AKBA compared to all the other types.
* Frankincense Frereana (Maydi) - "The pride of Somali culture." It has a very different chemical composition from the other types of Frankincense, contains no boswellic acids, but is just as powerful a healing and anti-inflammatory resin as the others.
* Frankincense Rivae (Somali Region of Ethiopia) - a sustainable variety. It has a spicy sweet fragrance. The tree yields 2-3 different types/colours of resin but the black is most commonly available.
* Frankincense Neglecta (Kenya/western Ethiopia) - It has less sweetness than Frankincense Rivae and notes of Fir.
There are several other rare and exotic types of frakincense which are not widely available in the market. Most are sourced from the island of Socotra. They are Boswellia Ameero, B. Socratana and B. Elongata.