Frankincense is a powerful botanical ally with a rich and thrilling history. Entwined with ritual and meditation for centuries, it is a renowned spiritual tool. It is valued for its many healing properties and its intoxicating fragrance and has been used in worship for thousands of years.
Frankincense oil is among the most widely used of all essential oils. It is revered for its uplifting and clarifying effects on the body and mind. When diffused in your home, it provides protection for you and your family and encourages positive moods. It can also be mixed with a carrier oil such as coconut or jojoba and massaged into the skin to help your body stay limber and relaxed.
How to Use Frankincense Oil:
Meditative Mind: Add a drop to your palm, rub hands together, and breathe in to unwind the mind and create a pathway to a peaceful, pure outlook.
Glowing Skin: Add a few drops to your Radiant Glow facial serum to promote clarity and add luster.
Limber Body: Mix several drops into jojoba oil to relax your muscles and increase the flow of prana.
Open Breath: Sprinkle a few drops on a hot, wet towel and apply to the chest to loosen and free your breathing.
Which Variety of Frankincense Is Right For You?
An exquisite varietal with fresh lemon, citrus, and pine notes. It is considered to be the richest in scent.
Frankincense Carterii (essential oil/resin)
Balances a pleasing sweet fragrance with robust aromatherapeutic properties. This popular species has the typical smooth, resinous aroma, with a moderately strong terpenic top note and lovely pine heart notes.
A rare and unique black Frankincense species, it produces an unusual earthy and slightly musty aroma with complex spice notes and subtle hidden sweetness.
Frankincense Papyrifera (essential oil/resin)
With distinctly fruity and citrus notes, and a predominance of soft orange fragrance, this variety is said to possess unique properties for both relaxing and enlivening the mind.
Frankincense Rivae (essential oil/resin)
A “finer” variety often used in perfumery with over 200 molecular compounds that produce a soft, woody, and elegant aroma.
Extremely rare and spiritually powerful, this precious species is uplifting and divinely sweet.
This essential oil hybrid merges the warm, magical ancient-earth character of true myrrh with the heady balsamic note of a rare frankincense variety.
The Ancient Frankincense and Myrrh Trade
By David Crow
The earliest history of frankincense and myrrh trade is shrouded in myth. The gum-bearing trees were said to be guarded by fierce red snakes which leaped into the air to inflict fatal bites on any intruder. The trees were believed to grow in forbidding mountain areas surrounded by swirling mists that caused deadly diseases and fatal epidemics. Frankincense and myrrh brought from such inhospitable terrain were considered to be sacred to the gods and reserved for divine worship.
The frankincense and myrrh market of the Old World was highly lucrative for almost 1,500 years. The source was based in a small geographic area, the demand far exceeded the treesʼ ability to produce, and there were great difficulties in delivering the materials over vast distances. As a result, the flow of these resins as commodities made the Arabs who dealt in them among the wealthiest on earth at the time.
The trading of frankincense and myrrh expanded greatly around the 11th century BCE, with the establishing of improved land routes and domestication of the camel. From the harvesting centers in northeastern Africa and the Arabian Peninsula, the resin was transported to Egypt, and then by sea to India and other destinations. The life of the Arabian frankincense and myrrh merchant was one of camel caravans crossing barren sands, navigating by stars, and following a route between secret water cisterns hidden from roaming thieves. Many cities, such as the rock-carved canyon city of Petra, prospered and reached high levels of sophisticated civilization because of the wealth brought by these resins. By 1000 BCE, myrrh and frankincense were widely distributed throughout the Old World. Babylon, Assyria, Egypt, Persia, Rome, Greece, and China all imported these resins, to be used as temple incenses and as important medicines. Frankincense and myrrh were prized possessions in the ancient world, rivaling the value of many precious gems and metals.
The height of the frankincense trade occurred during the second century CE when some three thousand tons were shipped each year from south Arabia to Greece, Rome, and the Mediterranean region. After the 3rd century CE, the trade went into its decline, although demand still supported Arabia for another three hundred years. Even into the Middle Ages frankincense was an Arabian trading commodity.
Want to learn more?
Throughout time, a small number of plants have been used to deepen spiritual states and create a ceremonial atmosphere. As incense, resins, dried woods, and essential oils, they calm the mind, elevate the spirit, and drop the body deeper into a meditative state.
In this free online event, David Crow explores four Sacred Scents: Frankincense, Sandalwood, Agarwood, and Palo Santo. He’ll explore methods for using these scents to deepen contemplation and spiritual uplifting, along with detailed information about the therapeutic and metaphysical qualities of each.
A Few of the Topics Covered:
– Why are these scents considered sacred?
– Removing obstacles: the two woods known as “wish-fulfilling gems”
– Which sacred wood has an immediate calming effect on urban panic attacks
– Incense burners, electric heaters, oils, fire: choosing the best method for your purpose