Description:Frankincense, also called gum
olibanum, is one of the oldest of all incense ingredients.
Originating in southern Arabia, it is harvested from trees that are
often grown in groves whose locations are still carefully guarded local
secrets. Even after three thousand years of use, those trees are
still an invaluable part of the incense world. In its unprocessed
form, frankincense resin is in pea-sized pellets called "tears".
Tears can range in color from translucent white to gold to medium brown
(pic on left). Although there are numerous grades of
frankincense, even the lowest quality natural frankincense is a true
Use: Frankincense is well suited for use in
cones, sticks, cylinders, coils, cutouts, powdered incense and loose
incense. In other words, you can use it in any incense you plan
to make. Its scent is sweet, although using too much can produce
a very thick, heavy smoke. Respect its power and use frankincense
in small quantities.
Frankincense is easy to powder (pic on right), although we
also offer it pre-powdered for your convenience. A mortar and
pestle, along with a hand sifter, are all the tools you need to
incorporate natural frankincense tears in your incense.
General Information: Many times, historical references to
"incense" are really references to frankincense. Although
historians still do not know how long frankincense has been in use, we
know that in the 5th Century BCE it was imported to Rome for use as
incense. Perilous caravans traveled more than 1,700 miles to
bring the precious resin to the waiting citizens of Europe and Asia who
were willing to pay as much as gold for the fragrant gift from the
Frankincense has been carried by traders, adventurers and
religious figures to virtually every corner of the Earth.
Although often carried by caravans on the "Spice Road", frankincense is
rarely used in food, so it certainly isn't a culinary spice. It
has been used in virtually every Western culture and religion.
Anyone who has visited a Catholic church has smelled that familiar
scent. Frankincense is also a key part of Jewish incense
traditions. India, China and Japan all fell in love with the
intoxicating scent as well and it is often incorporated into their
religious, as well as secular, practices.
Frankincense is perhaps most famous in the Western world as
one of the three gifts of the Magi to the baby Jesus. The
inclusion of frankincense with gold and myrrh show the high value of
frankincense to the ancient world. Frankincense certainly isn't
limited to Christian or Jewish traditions. In modern Pagan
writing, frankincense is associated with the sun and masculine
influences and has numerous very positive associations.
Frankincense can also be found in Buddhist incense from China and
Japan. It is often a key aromatic for religious use and is seen
as a great gift from Nature and a great offering to Gods and Goddesses.
References used and recommended
reading (click title for more information):
Frankincense and Myrrh: A Study of the Arabian Incense Trade
by Nigel Groom (ISBN 0582764769)
Cunningham's Encyclopedia of
Magical Herbs by Scott Cunningham (ISBN 0875421229)
Incense: Crafting & Use of Magickal
Scents by Carl Neal (ISBN 0738703362)
The Development of Incense Cult in Israel by Paul Heger (ISBN
2004 Carl Neal. Used by Mother's Hearth with permission.