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Frankincense is derived from the sap from the Boswell tree. When dried, frankincense is used as incense. When steam distilled it is an essential oil. The country of Oman is thought to be the oldest producer of frankincense. However it is produced in the Middle East, Africa and India.
Frankincense has a long history in the Middle East, mostly in religious ceremonies such as funerals. In Egypt it was ground to make kohl and used as an eyeliner and was thought to improve vision. Apparently Emperor Nero used a balm made with frankincense to decrease the effects around his eyes from a night of debauchery. When distilled as oil it was used as a perfume. And of course the most popular story is that it was given to Jesus as a gift by the three wise men to ward off evil spirits.
According to numerous studies, frankincense has been shown to inhibit inflammation. Thus helping a variety of ailments from arthritis to acne. One study mentioned its assistance in digestion, those with inflammatory bowel diseases. Others suggest that frankincense can help with respiratory disorders to dental care. As an essential oil it has a calming affect due to its sweet woodsy yet subtly citrus perfume. A few drops added to your bath water are a luxurious way to relax and relief muscle pain. And you can find it in our body polish coupled with cardamom. Frankincense for the season.