Frankincense Oil Properties Frankincense has a woody, spicy, haunting smell, a little bit camphoric, but very pleasant. It is pale yellow-green in colour. Origin It originates from the Middle East, with abundant pinnacle leaves and has white or pale pink flowers. Deep incisions are made in the tree trunk and the bark peels off in narrow strips. Over weeks a milky juice exudes and hardens on contact with the air, resulting in an oleo gum resin, from which the oil is extracted by steam distillation. The word is from the French word ‘Franc’ meaning ‘luxuriant’ or ‘real incense’ and together with Myrrh, it was the first gum to be used as incense. Also known as Olibanum, frankincense was used by the ancient Egyptians as an offering to the gods and as part of a rejuvenating face mask. It was also used to fumigate the sick, in order to banish evil spirits. The Hebrews valued Frankincense highly, it was one of the gifts offered to the baby Jesus. Extraction Frankincense oil is extracted by steam distillation from the oleo gum resin and yields about 3 – 10 %. An absolute is also produced, but is mainly used as a fixative. Chemical Composition The main chemical components of frankincense oil are a-pinene, actanol, linalool, octyl acetate, bornyl acetate, incensole and incensyl acetate. Precautions Frankincense oil is non-toxic and non-irritant and can be used by most people.
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