The precious oil of kings


Essential Oils - The Frankincense Tree, Ancient Giver of Healing   

Essential Oils - The Frankincense Tree, Ancient Giver of Healing
Linda Lee Smith

The Frankincense tree is a small, scrubby, rather unsightly tree that grows in the wild. It grows to about 20 feet and usually branches out from its base. The Arabian, Boswellia. sacra (+Boswellia carteri), produces small yellow- white colored flowers with five petals that are a favorite among bees. The African, B. papyrifera, produces small pale red flowers. They each produce small fruits, which are often fed to livestock. In 1987 it was concluded that B. carteri and B. sacra were simply different variable forms of the same species and therefore should not be afforded separate species status. It's commonly agreed that the name B. sacra is given to the trees that grow in Arabia (Oman) and B. carteri to those found in Somalia. In India, B. serrata is commonly found and known by the name "salai."

The tree prefers arid climates and only the moisture of morning mountain dew. It's said the best quality resin comes from trees just out of the reach of monsoon rains where ideal average rainfall is less than 4 inches annually. The trees are most often found growing out of rocks and hillsides and dry river beds, wherever rich soil deposits of limestone are found. The species, B. carteri, gets its name from the Edinburgh botanist Johann Boswell and the English ship physician, H.J. Cater, who in 1846, were the first to describe the frankincense tree in detail.

There are two kinds of resin that are generally recognized: "male" frankincense called zakana, which is deep yellow or reddish and "female" frankincense called kundura unsa, which is reddish-white, and pale in color. Female frankincense is the higher quality, more preferred resin. Because there is a difference in the color between male and female frankincense resins, anyone caught with the female resin during ancient times lost a hand as punishment. This high quality resin was reserved only for the kings and queens.

The modern world is encroaching on these ancient trees. They are often found in war-torn areas where it is getting more and more difficult to obtain high quality resins. Could we be without frankincense in the near future? Could these ancient givers of healing have their days numbered? Are there trees in other parts of the world that contain the same healing compounds as the frankincense tree?

To learn more about these ancient essential oils and how they can benefit humankind today, I invite you to attend an aromatherapy program that teaches the healing properties of therapeutic grade essential oils like frankincense and other oils with similar compounds.

Discover how to heal through the art of aromatherapy as a clinical aromatherapist through a Judeo-Christian based program. A companion program integrates prayer, hands-on healing and anointing with essential oils.

And you can read more about frankincense in my book Healing Oils Healing Hands, Discovering the Power of Prayer, Hands On Healing and Anointing. You can find it on my web site at

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