Frankincense and Mirth

Andy Newman in his NYT article entitled “Frankincense and Mirth” (July 17, 2008) captures some of the qualities and varied uses of Frankincense (AKA Gum Olibanum, the natural gum exudate from the Boswellia species of trees) in modern times. Frankincense is primarily sourced from the Horn of Africa (Somalia, Ethiopia, Sudan), Egypt, and India. Frankincense use dates back to Biblical times and is often cited in the Bible. Newman cites a scholarly article in the Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (May 2008) that highlights some of the pharmacological and health benefits of Frankincense. From a different angle, Newman also writes about some of the exotic, supernatural and occult uses of Frankincense in addition to its being a “fixture in ceremonies” in many churches. Frankincense is also widely used for aromatherapy and to make essential oils for perfumes.

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