The frankincense tree has been used for centuries as an oil extract for health and beauty. However, there are several varieties of frankincense available; Boswellia serrata is usually a reference to the Indian frankincense tree.
Frankincense has a strong spiritual association, prized by religious denominations around the world as an incense in church and temple offerings, and for use in meditation practice. Its hauntingly balsamic aroma is familiar to many for this reason. Boswellia serrata has an infusion of woody and earthy notes, in addition to a citrus top note.
Common English Name: Frankincense. Also known as olibanum.
Botanical Name: Boswellia serrata.
Plant Family: Burseraceae.
Method of Extraction: Steam or hydro distillation of the oleo resin gum produced from incisions in the bark of the tree.
Plant Description: A nondescript shrubby tree with pinnate leaves and white to pale pink flowers. It is the bark which is of interest to the distiller for the essential oil extraction.
Main Chemical Components: Thujene, pinene, carene, sabinene, para-cymene.
Uses: Excellent for skin care, particularly mature skin, dry skin, and uneven skin. Add to hair products and use in a similar way.
Fun Fact: There is much dispute over whether Boswellia carterii and Boswellia serrata are one and the same species. Environment, geography, soil quality, and climate can all contribute to the production of two very different plants borne from the same seed.
Cautions for Use: None noted for general use of the oil.