In researching and learning about Frankincense Essential Oil I’ve ran across many differences that occur on the internet about the types of frankincense and where it is obtained.
Frankincense is the aromatic resin used in incense which is obtained from the trees of the genus Boswellia. The word frankincense came from an old medieval French word meaning “high quality incense”.
The resins are taken from these trees during harvesting.Each harvesting takes up to 45 days to complete. The resins are divided into various grades of resin. These grades depend on the time of harvesting.
Watch this video about harvesting of the frankincense resin.
Here is a video about the different qualities of frankincense resin.
Does all Frankincense have healing properties?
A water-soluble chemical called boswellic acid which has been shown to have many health benefits, is found in the resin and after steam distillation is complete. This is the substance that excites the scientists and on which they usually perform their research. We will look at 3 species that are commonly sold and their amounts of boswellic acid found:
Boswellia frereana 1-2%
Boswellia carterii 20-30%
Boswellia sacra greater than 30%
There is another component in frankincense which has health benefits that is often studied by researchers. It is that of sesquiterpenes. Of these boswellia species mentioned, boswellia frereana lacks the potency of the sesquiterpens and has none of the diterpenes in the resin and oil.
In trying to determine which boswellia species would have been most likely used anciently and given to the Christ child, French scientists did research studies on frankincense resin that was uncovered in an ancient sea port in Quna, Yemen. It was studied by gas chromotography and mass spectrometry. Findings showed, “All archaelogical samples contained olibanum resin . . . Boswellia serrata growing in India can be excluded and boswellia frereana whose chemical composition is characterized by the prevalence of 3-epi-lupenol while boswellic acids and derivatives are not detected.” “the triterpenic resins analyzed correspond certainly to the species Boswellia carterri or Boswellia sacra.”
So, to summarize up to this point:
- The Boswellia carterri and Boswellia sacra species have the healing properties of boswellic acid, sesquiterpenes and diterpenes.
- These are constituents that are frequently studied by scientists.
- They are also the species that is most probable the frankincense that would have been given to the Christ child over 2,000 years ago originated.
Where are these species grown?
Many companies say that their Boswellia frereana or carterri is grown in Oman. Omani frankincense is regarded the world over as the rarest, most sought-after aromatic in existence. There is a market place in Oman that sales all types and grades of frankincense resin that exporters will buy and sale to oil companies saying that it is the high prized frankincense from Oman. Much of oil that is distilled and sold to these Essential Oil companies are of various species and grades of resins mixed into one oil. So, as a consumer, it is hard to be sure of the constituents that are truly in the oil that you are using if you are using an oil OTHER THAN Young Living Frankincense Essential Oil.
I understand that it is very hard for the different Essential Oil companies to really be sure which species and from where their resin and oil originate. But, if we research a little bit, we can find out that only ONE species of Boswellia trees grow in Oman.
In the Journal of Chromatogr A 2006 Apr 21 it reads, “Frankincense is the oleo-gum-resin obtained from trees of the genus Boswellia native to India (B serrata), Africa (B. carteri, B Frereana) and the Arabian Peninsula (B. sacra).
Dr. Ermias Dagne, Professor of Chemistry, Addis Adada Univerisity, Ethiopia, “B. frereana . . .known only from Somalia.”
In the book, “Plants of Dhofar” p78, “only one species, Boswellia sacra, is found in Arabia.”
There are many more sources that show that only Boswellia sacra is found in Oman, but these will give you the idea.
I am sure that it is confusing for oil companies who are trying to export great oil with healing properties for their customers when they can’t certifiably trust the exporters as to the oil that they are buying.
Example of an Essential Oil company being confused to as from where their frankincense originated
A well-known essential oil company, doTerra, encountered this very problem when importing frankincense oil to be bottled and sold in their company. For many years they advertised that their oil was the prized frankincense from Oman. One of the executives of the company, Emily Wright, wrote this on Nov. 27, 2014 to its members:
“Prior to 2014, doTerra touted having exclusivity from a particular producer of frankincense sources from Oman. At that point we partnered with a collector of Frankincense who worked with a master distiller. He claimed the frankincense he offered was sourced from Oman, but we wanted to know for certain.”
“In order to know for ourselves it required a trip to Somalia. What we discovered while we were there offered great opportunity to not only work directly with the harvesters of the precious frankincense tears but to also empower the people of an economically suppressed country.”
She goes on to say that they learned that the majority of the world’s frankincense, particularly B. frerana and carterii is grown and harvested in Somalia and shipped to be sold in Oman.
**doTerra sells frankincense of the boswellia frereana species obtained from growers in Somalia**
(Remember that this species DOES NOT HAVE very many documented studies completed on it to show the health and healing benefits of this type of frankincense as do the other species. However, it is highly regarded for its aromatic qualities. Please note that Young Living sells this type of oil also, along with the Boswellia Carterri and Boswellia Sacra. So, with Young Living you have the choice of all three species!!)
It is good that the doTerra company researched into where their oils were really coming from. Too bad that their members were mislead for 6 years before they discovered the error. I’m afraid that many essential oil companies don’t have the resources or desire to travel over to that area of the world and try to do the research necessary to be certain that their frankincense oil is of the best grade resin and from a species that has many therapeutic qualities.
I love the fact that Gary Young has been so passionate about finding the truth about the frankincense oils, their origin, all about the ancient trail, and how to know if the resin is of the highest quality. I love that Young Living has spent 15 years researching, traveling, investing and building to become the World Leader in Pure and Therapeutic Frankincense Oil!
Where does Young Living obtain their frankincense oils? What are their properties?
Unlike many essential oil companies, Young Living is dedicated to quality and their Seed to Seal promise. They do not just blindly bottle up a blend of the frankincense species. When Young Living sells you a bottle of a specific species of frankinsence . . . you can BE ASSURED of what you are getting. Here is the information of the 3 frankincense oils that Young Living sells.
Boswellia Sacra — grown in Oman and distilled in Young Living’s own distillery in Oman
Sacred Frankincense essential oil comes from the Boswellia sacra frankincense tree and is distilled at the Young Living distilleryin Oman. Sacred Frankincense is ideal for those who wish to take their spiritual journey and meditation experiences to a higher level. The fragrant tones of Sacred Frankincense have more “top notes” and to some seem a little sweeter than the Boswellia Carteri Frankincense. Sacred Frankincense is high in Alpha-pinene (53-90%). Pinene has strong antiseptic properties and found in high proportions in the conifer oils such as pine, fir, spruce, and juniper.
Frankincense ((Boswellia Carteri) — grown in Samalia and distilled in partner distilleries in Spain and Kenya.
Frankincense (Boswellia carteri) has a sweet, warm, balsamic aroma that is stimulating and elevating to the mind. Useful for visualizing, improving one’s spiritual connection, and centering, it has comforting properties that help focus the mind and overcome stress and despair. Frankincense is considered the holy anointing oil in the Middle East, where it has been used in religious ceremonies for thousands of years. More recently, it has been used in European and American hospitals and is the subject of substantial research. Frankincense is also a valuable ingredient in skin care products for aging and dry skin. The ancient Egyptians used it in rejuvenation face masks. Frankincense has an approximate ORAC of 6,125 (TE/L). TE/L is expressed as micromole Trolox equivalent per liter.
Frereana Frankincense — grown in Samalia
Frereana Frankincense is derived from the Boswellia frereana tree, native only to northern Somalia. Frereana Frankincense is high in monoterpenes, lupeols, and alpha thujene, making it different from Boswellia sacra and Boswellia carteri. The lemony scent of Frereana Frankincense is uplifting and cheering and promotes calmness and relaxation. Traditionally, Frereana Frankincense was used to promote energy flow, increase spiritual awareness, deepen meditation, improve attitude, and uplift spirits.
Young Living has always been dedicated to low-impact farming and manufacturing methods (i.e. returning distilled compost and bioactivity to the fields). These methods are essential to produce pure essential oils that are free from contaminants that are often introduced by chemical pesticides and fertilizers. For this reason Young Living has farms all around the globe developed on virgin land and these methods practiced in growing and harvesting their plants.
Every year, Gary and Young Living staff travel across the world to personally inspect essential oil distilleries and herb cultivation to ensure the highest medicinal qualities. A little known fact is that Young Living rejects a large percent of all essential oils received for analysis in their state of the art lab. These oils are found to be extended, adulterated, or sub-therapeutic. It is a sad fact that all of these rejected oils will eventually be sold and marketed by other less discerning buyers at a lower price. Not only does Young Living test the oils received to be sure that they are free from chemical or impurities, Young Living has a standard of therapeutic constituents that should be present in each of the oils. If they don’t pass this high standard for some reason, they are rejected. This is VERY important to me as I search for things that I can use to keep me and my family healthy and disease free.
For 15 years Gary traveled to and from Oman and surrounding areas 11 times trying to learn everything that he could about Frankincense and Myrrh — the oils of the Bible that were given to the Christ child. He spent time learning about the old cities, the caravans that took the oils from the Arabian peninsula to Jerusalem, Egypt and China. He spent time digging in the archaeological excavation of the old ruins of Shabwah — which was the center of the frankincense trade. He was greatly rewarded by finding a stone incense burner that he estimates to be around 3,000-4,000 years old. He was able to travel to the “forbidden zone” of Yemen and make the 4 hour climb to the frankincense groves to help make cuts on the trees with the harvesters.
In 2010, Gary acquired farm acreage in Oman for cultivating boswellia sacra and commiphora myrrha, the botanical used to distill myrrh.
Young Living also built a distillery in Oman. To assure that no shortcuts are being made, the resin that is harvested from the trees in Oman is directly taken to the distillery to be steam distilled into Young Living Therapeutic Grade Essential Oil.
Watch this video about the farm in Oman and the distillery. Where the “Sacred Frankincense” is obtained.
Here is another video about members planting trees at the Young Living farm in Oman.
It is at Young Living that you can be confident that the Frankincense that is in the bottle is from only one species of Boswellia tree and that it is of the highest quality resin without impurities.
You can also be sure that Young Living has overseen that the distillation of this oil in their own distillery in Oman and their partner distilleries passes the standards necessary to bring out the most therapeutic constituents available in the oil and it will be done without the use of any solvents or chemicals.
Young Living produces oils from three species of boswellia trees.
Young Living owns a farm and distillery in Oman and produces the highly priced Omani frankincense oil (Sacred Frankincense) as in ancient times.
Young Living also produces the frankincense from the Boswellia Carterri tree from which a majority of the research on cancer has been produced.
The most PURE and THERAPEUTIC frankincense oil can be found from Young Living Essential Oils.