Frankincenses is one of the most well-regarded of the ancient incenses. Frankincense has a fresh pine-lemon scent with resinous and woody overtones that emanates from the milky white latex of the stem and branches. The name frankincense comes from the French words francencens, which means “pure incense” or “free lighting.”

Frankincense resin is produced from multiple Boswellia species, the aromas of which vary.

Multiple references to frankincense in the Bible indicate its importance. The King James Bible contains 113 references to incense and 17 references to frankincense.

Frankincense was widely used by people in the Mesopotamian, Arabian, and Mediterranean regions. Itsinebriating, euphoric, and mood-enhancing effects have been recognized for a long time. Some studies have confirmed the psychoactive and antidepressant effects of frankincense incense—the oil aids in treating skin ailments like acne and warts.

Frankincense was a natural insecticide used by ancient Egyptians to fumigate wheat and grain stores and deter moths. In Arabia, they burned resin to keep mosquitoes and sand flies away.

The antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and anticarcinogenic properties of oleoresin from the Boswellia tree have also been tested and validated in animal trials. Treatment with essential oil of frankincense enhanced cell death and decreased growth of human breast cancer and skin cancer cells, indicating possible pharmaceutical use.

Additional reading:
Holy Herbs; Modern Connections to Ancient Plants

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