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.
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 has been one of the world's most treasured commodities since the beginning of written history. At its peak its value rivaled that of gold, the rarest silks, and the most precious of gems. Ironically, it is but a milky-white resin produced by a scrubby, unlikely looking tree, genus Boswellia.
There are twenty-five known species of Boswellia, each creating a water-soluble gum-resin with its own distinctive fragrance and medicinal properties. Recent studies by an international team of scientists, including researchers from Johns Hopkins University and the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, have indicated that burning frankincense resin (Boswellia) helps to to alleviate anxiety and depression. The University of Munich found the anti-inflammatory properties of Frankincense very effective as a treatment for joint pain and arthritis. The famous eleventh-century Arabian physician, Avicenna, recommended its cooling effects as a remedy for infections and illnesses that increase the body's temperature. Greek and Roman physicians used Frankincense in the treatment of a great variety of diseases. Frankincense remedies appear in the Syriac Book of Medicine, ancient Muslim texts, and in Ayurvedic and Chinese medical writings.