A fine wild-harvested resin frankincense essential oil from Ethiopia. It is steam distilled at a high altitude to produce this frankincense essential oil, which imparts an extraordinary clarity and subtly to its bouquet.
Frankincense essential oil is an aromatic resin with a long history of use. It is a universally known incense, a source of livelihood for nomadic tribes, and a famous medicinal resin. Frankincense has always been synonymous with spirituality; like myrrh, it was a prized possession in the ancient world, equal in value to many precious gems and metals. The resin has been a major item of commerce for at least 3,000 years.
Frankincense is harvested by making small incisions in the bark of the aromatic tree, producing a milky white resin that hardens as it dries. The collected resin is separated into grades, and stored in dry caves to cure before being sold.
The traditions of caretaking frankincense trees and harvesting their resin have played an important role in the life of nomadic desert tribes of North Africa for millennia. The trees are owned by families living in the area where they grow; ancient rituals surround the harvesting of the resin, and guardianship of the trees is passed on from generation to generation. The traditions, customs, and ceremonies surrounding frankincense, like many other important plants, are being lost. As people embrace modern lifestyles, the old ways of caring for the plants vanishes, and the plant?s numerous benefits are lost. Frankincense was once a source of many items of commerce, including medicines, dyes, and cosmetics.
Botanically, frankincense trees are an excellent example of the natural diversity that can occur in different species of the same genus, and different varieties of the same species. There has been much confusion about the proper identification of the various types of frankincense, because of differences in species (approximately 25), varieties of individual species, quality of resin, micro-climates, and time of harvesting. Wild frankincense trees have a wide range of characteristics even within the same basic climatic zone.
The essential oil of frankincense contains more than 200 individual natural chemicals, giving the fragrance a very complex bouquet. There is considerable variation in the proportion of these components depending on the micro-climate where the trees grow, the season at which the resin is harvested, and a number of other factors.