24 January 2013

Wonders of Frankincense

When the three Magi from the east arrived in Bethlenhem bearing gifts for the new messiah, one of these gifts was the resin frankincense.  As recorded in Matthew 2:11:


"And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child
with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had
opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts;
gold, and frankincense, and myrrh."


Frankincense is a milky white resin extracted from species of the genus Boswellia, which found in the Arabian Peninsula, eastern Africa and India. The finest and most aromatic of this species is a small tree, the Boswellia sacra, found growing in Somalia, Oman and Yemen.

With its aroma being described as fresh, fruity, pine-lemon bouquet with delicately sweet, resinous and woody undertones, frankincense has been used since ancient times as a means to awaken higher consciousness, and enhance spirituality, meditation and prayer.  Even today, it is considered to be one of the world's most treasured commodities, and indeed is used widely within the hand blended incenses made and used within the Temple of the Dark Moon.

Frankincense resin begins as a milky-white sticky liquid that flows from the trunk of the tree when it's injured, healing the wound. The Arabic name is luban, which means white or cream. It's also known as olibanum, and its essential oil is often called "Oil of Lebanon".  Its commonly recognized western name, frankincense, is said to have originated from the Frankish (French) Knights of the Crusades who treasured it in large quantities.

The famous 11th century Arabian physician, Avicenna, recommended its cooling effects as a remedy for infections and illnesses that increase the body's temperature. Greek and Roman physicians used Frankincense in the treatment of a great variety of diseases.

Frankincense remedies appear in the Syriac Book of Medicine, ancient Muslim texts, and in Ayurvedic and Chinese medical writings. Frankincense is also a natural insecticide and was used in ancient Egypt to fumigate wheat silos and repel wheat moths. In Arabia, the smoke of burning frankincense resin is used to repel mosquitoes and sand flies. Researchers have found that burning frankincense indoors improves the acoustic properties of the room. Dioscorides described how the bark of the tree was put into water to attract fish into nets and traps. In ancient Egypt the resin was a key ingredient for embalming their dead.

Aside from the wonderful aroma that frankincense gives off when it is burnt over charcoal disks, as an essential oil, it is used extensively in modern aromatherapy. This oil is rejuvenating to the skin, treating acne, bacterial and fungal infections, and to treat wounds and scars. Thus, it is used in cosmetics, soaps, and perfumes.



Source: Scents of Earth

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