What is frankincense?

Frankincense is an incense and is also called olibanum. The word olibanum comes from the Greek word libanos which means 'fragrant resin'.
It is a gum resin, an aromatic, viscous substance from the Boswellia tree. These trees are mainly found in Yemen and East Africa.

In order to harvest the frankincense, notches are made in the bark of mature Boswellia trees. The resin flows out of these indentations and hardens. This resin can be used directly as frankincense, or concentrated by steam distillation into frankincense essential oil.

boswellia boom
How does frankincense smell?

Frankincense smells spicy, woody, resinous and balsamic. It often also evokes associations with myrrh, conifers, and pepper. Many people will know and recognize the scent of frankincense from church, especially the Catholic Church.

There are many different qualities of frankincense available: some of the most acclaimed varieties are Hojari and Silver.

What is frankincense used for?

Frankincense essential oil is praised for its antiseptic and healing properties. It has been used in religious rituals for centuries. It was even more precious than gold. Like myrrh, the history of frankincense goes back 4,000 years. The Egyptians already used it. It was part of kyphi, the sacred incense of the kings. Kyphi is a blend of frankincense, myrrh, honey, wine, broom, saffron, coriander, roses and berries.

Frankincense essential oil is widely used in oriental and woody fragrances. Beautiful perfumes with frankincense can be found below.