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Frankincense is the small magical resin that has been used by some of the most elite people in history. Dating as far back as 5000 B.C, when it was discovered being used by the Sumhuram’s. The sticky resin that hardens on exposure to air is known to have many healing benefits. It has the ability to clear depression, anxiety, stress, negative energies, sinuses, helping asthma, reducing menstrual pain, arthritis pain, and even purifying the red and white blood cells. The oil that is produced from frankincense is great for mixing with a carrier oil to use in massage for reducing aching joints and muscles. When used with creams it is great for rejuvenating the skin and keeping it looking young. It is also one of the main ingredients for the perfume industry and some of the most luxurious brands in the world contain high dosages of frankincense oil.

But with all these healing properties surely there cannot be one type of frankincense. So exactly how many types and species are they’re of the ancient magical resin?


Firstly we must identify the countries that produce the frankincense resins and the trees that produce it. All frankincense comes from the Boswellia tree. Which comes from the Burseraceae family, the tree itself has many species, and these species reflect the country they come from.  


Boswellia Seratta is the frankincense that grows in North West India. This resin is also known locally as Guggal, Salai and Sallaki. The small frankincense resins that the Boswellia Serrata tree produces is used in oil production. Scientists and doctors have now discovered that the oil form this particular resin is great for the treatment of severe Arthritis pain. The Boswellia Seratta can further be graded in to at least 4 types.


Boswellia Frereana is the frankincense that comes from the borders of Somalia with Ethiopia. Known as Maydi, It is a large yellow sticky gum resin. Maydi is also known as the King of Frankincense in these regions. This frankincense grade is used solely for chewing gum. Arabic gum as it is known in the west, was one of the first chewing gums used and is still in use today in certain foods to give the natural gum texture.


Boswellia Papyifera is the species of frankincense that grows in the northern part of Ethiopia, Eritrea and Sudan. It is one of the most popular grades being exported from Northern Africa and is a favourite in monasteries and temples around the world. The Boswellia Papyifera has 5 grades which all depend on the size of the resin. The largest size and first grade of this type is around 6mm in diameter and the colours consist of white brown and black.


Somalian frankincense is used the most worldwide known as Boswellia Carterri.  This resin is used mainly in mainstream perfumes and the oil production industry. Known locally as Beyo it is classified into 3 grades. The first grade being the top quality and clear from any bark from the boswellia tree. Somalia has the largest frankincense forest in the world in the North Eastern part of Somalia.

To view the original article printed in the International Federation of Aromatherapists Magazine

" Aromatherapy Times"


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The Different species of Frankincense.