Frankincense is famous for being one of the three gifts presented by the Magi to baby Jesus (the other two being gold and myrrh).Several thousand years ago, people knew how to use frankincense to cure several ailments. The ancient Babylonians and Assyrians are also believed to have burned frankincense during their religious ceremonies and Hatshepsut’s famous reliefs depicting the ‘Expedition to Punt’ show not only frankincense, but also the trees themselves being brought back to Egypt. Ancient civilizations understood how to use frankincense in rituals and for healing.
Frankincense and the Incense Route
Frankincense (also known as olibanum) is the dried resin obtained from trees of the genus Boswellia, specifically Boswellia sacra and Boswellia carterii . These trees are grown in Oman, Yemen, and the Horn of Africa, and frankincense was one of the commodities that fueled the Incense Route . The status of frankincense as a luxury object, and its high value in the market during ancient times is understandable, considering the various ways in which it was used […]
Frankincense tree, Yemen. (Rod Waddington/ CC BY SA 2.0 )