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.
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.
Myrrh, with its smoky, earthy scent has a long history as a favorite among all cultures going back to its first discovery in the far reaches of time. A native to Ethiopia and Somalia, it has been used as long ago as 3000 BCE by the Egyptians in embalming, and as an incense burned during cremations and funerals to disguise any foul odors up through the 15th century. Myrrh is said to be one of the key ingredients in the mythical Egyptian perfume Kyphi. It has also been used to anoint kings, and scent fabrics for those traveling to holy places. Myrrh has had a great value throughout time; the Romans even valued it as much as gold, using it as security for monetary debts.