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Frankincense Now, Myrrh Later
By Maisha Liwaru

Frankincense is the progenitor of the incense we use today. It has been traded for at least 5000 years. But not only is frankincense used as incense but it also has aromatherapy properties, medicinal properties and of course it is used as a perfume. It is also known as olibanum, olibano, liban and encens male. Frankincense and its significant other, myrrh are both oleoresin derived from the sap of a tree.

When a frankincense tree is cut or injured it “bleeds” a liquid to heal itself. The liquid takes on a soft rock form, which is a resin. There is oil in the rock. The rock is sometimes called tears, which are approximately 65% gum, 30% resin and 4% essential oil. This explains the expense of essential frankincense oil. Each tree only yields a small amount of oil.

Frankincense trees originated in Southern Arabia but now grow naturally in Yemen and Oman. This is the Frankincense Belt. It is also cultivated in Somalia and India. Boswellia carteri frankincense is cultivated in Somalia, Boswellia sacra in Yemen and Oman and Baswellia serrata in India. There is only a slight variation in scent. Today, as in years past, frankincense, regardless of its origin is a valued commodity.

The old Frankincense Trade Route was more than 2,000 miles long and is the oldest known trade route. During ancient times, frankincense was considered more valuable than gold. The route included Egypt. Invention camels laden with gold and frankincense loping along with their shadows cast on rolling mounds of sand. Their human companions guide and ride them with robes billowing in the occasional breeze of the desert. Traders made fortunes in the trade of frankincense and that continues today.

Frankincense is used as a resin, powder incense, and essential oil. As a resin it is burned over charcoal and in Iran it is chewed like gum. It has several known healing properties. Some uses have been cancer treatment, abdominal tumor treatment, as a sedative and tonic, as an astringent and as a stimulant. Burn frankincense rock on charcoal for an excellent expectorant. Frankincense from India is used to treat arthritis. Other uses have been to disinfect, kill bacteria, heal wounds and renew cells. Arab and African Muslims of old used frankincense to lower fever and fight off infections. Frankincense essential oil is used to slow wrinkling, but remember it must be used with carrier oil such as Emu Oil. Recently, there has been renewed interest in the healing potential of frankincense.

There have been two university studies on the properties of frankincense. One reportedly proved that frankincense is an effective treatment against rheumatism and the other proved that frankincense reduces infections. Part of it’s value is due to its’ versatility.

Because of its purity many religious groups use it in their religious ceremonies. It does not violate any prohibitions and is not derived by prohibited means. Some people have even claimed that frankincense can rid the home of evil sprits. This kind of usage gives frankincense power, but if has no such power. Frankincense may get this reputation because it helps to relieve obsessions, fears, and anxieties. Frankincense has a sweet scent that is spicy and at the same time woody. Its scent is very calming, relaxing and uplifting. It blends well and smells wonderful.

Next time, massage oil recipes for all occasions.

Maisha Liwaru is the owner of Perfume Oils by Maisha.

        Emu's Zine does not diagnose, prescribe or dispense medical advice.  We report and attempt to educate the public about the possible health benefits derived through the use of emu oil based products and consumption of low cholesterol, low fat emu meat.   This site contains personal testimonies and professional observations.   We encourage people to contact their family physicians regarding any health problems they may have for proper diagnosis and treatment.

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