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Frankincense
Arabic: lubān dhakar



Frankincense: Boswellia tree
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The Boswellia tree. Photo: Ilene Perlman/Saudi Aramco

Frankincense: Making an incision in the trunk
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Making an incision in the trunk. Photo: Tor Eigeland/Saudi Aramco

Hardened frankincense
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Hardened frankincense. Photo: Tor Eigeland/Saudi Aramco

Close in on the Boswellia tree.


Yellow, aromatic gum resin with a volatile oil used for incense or perfume. Previously it has also been used for religious rituals and medicine. Frankincensen may be mistaken for myrrh, the two are often used together for incense.
Frankincense called oriental, or olibanum, is obtained from a tree belonging to the genus Boswellia, found in eastern Arabia, particularly Hadramawt region in eastern Yemen, and Oman.
The method of extracting is by making incisions in the trunk of the tree allowing the frankincense to exude. It comes floating, milky white, but hardens in the air. The trees can be tapped 2 to 3 times a year.
With Ancient Egyptian religion and Judaism, frankincense was used in the rituals. Frankincense was with Middle Eastern physicists through all centuries described as effective with a number of ailments, but modern medical research has not found any medical value.




By Tore Kjeilen