Olibanum or Frankincense

Olibanum or Frankincense

A small shrub from around the Red Sea, which takes root in soil dominated by marble and limestone, it secretes a gum-resin that protects it from harsh weather conditions. The incision of its trunk makes it appear in the form of "tears", used in fumigation since the dawn of time to accompany religious ceremonies. Their distillation gives an essential oil with an incomparable aroma: full, sweet, balsamic and woody.

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"Incense" was the ancestral name for this plant, but this term has become a common name for all kinds of cones and sticks used for fumigation. "The perfume that has accompanied so many religious ceremonies since ancient times comes from a tree found all around the Red Sea. In ancient times, incense was transported from Yemen by caravan. The Egyptians were great consumers, using it in their cosmetics but not in embalming products. All the world's religions have used it or use it in their ceremonies. The trunk is cut to collect a resin that is used for traditional fumigation but can also be distilled to obtain an essential oil. The Somali quality is the most renowned, the finest. After the break-up of Somalia, incense-oliban comes instead from a new state called "Somaliland". On the semi-desert coast of this country, the tree is rooted in an ungrateful soil dominated by marble and limestone. As is often noted in aromatology, the plant secretes an essence that protects it from harsh climatic conditions. The symbolism of the desert crossing is obvious...

Olibanum essential oil is an excellent support for the respiratory system weakened by chronic bronchopulmonary problems, such as asthma. Its ability to amplify the breath, to make it slower and deeper, works wonders in this context. You will use it in friction or in atmospheric diffusion, alone or in association. The EO of olibanum goes very well with the EO of Pinus sylvestris (Scots pine), Abies balsamea (balsam fir) or Abies siberica (Siberian fir) which act in the same way. If you like the smell, you can use it as a skin tonic by incorporating it into a basic vegetable cream.

The omnipresence of frankincense in most of the world's religions is obviously not a coincidence. The essential oil of frankincense lifts the spirit, gives it height and makes it available for meditation. It opens up to spirituality, it gives access to a mental universe where ordinary preoccupations no longer have a place. In this way, it is an antidepressant that allows one to extract oneself from an emotional swamp or to abstain from the painful consequences of a long-term illness. Everyone can use it ideally as a pure unction, for example on the inside of the wrists before savouring its incomparable aroma: full, sweet, balsamic, woody. It is a major EO in palliative care. If it is a question of atmospheric diffusion, choose discretion: such a personality does not need an amplifier - think preferably of a system of moderate evaporation, on a warm stone or by ventilation. Frankincense-oliban EO is inseparable from myrrh EO, the latter being, to simplify this family portrait to the extreme, the "feminine" counterpart.

This summary is given for information purposes: it is a synthesis of the properties described in recognised aromatherapy books and/or in accordance with ancestral and popular traditions. The properties* presented are taken from the book ‘Aromathérapie Corps et Ame’ by André Bitsas, published by Amyris. It is in no way a medical information or a list of indications. 

Emotional impact
Be available to mediation, to spiritual openness,  Develop a capacity for detachment,  To free oneself from a paralyzing mind
Olfactory notes
Warm, balsamic
Skin type
Dry skin,  Wrinkles & fine lines
Slow cosmétique label
Respiratory comfort,  relax