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Leather & Tobacco

Mossy & Earthy


Frankincense (Somalian)

Frankincense (Somalian)
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Price: £2.26
Availability: Out Of Stock
Product Type: Essential Oils
Average Rating: Not Rated

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Frankincense (Somalian)

Country of origin: Somalia

Extraction method: steam distillation

Boswellia carterii (Burseraceae) Like myrrh, elemi, and opopanax, olibanum is a gum-resin from small trees and thorny bushes of the Burseracean family. They grow in the northern Somali republic and in southern Arabia. Olibanum is one of the oldest aromatic materials used by mankind. Already in the Antiquity it was used as an incense in Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greek and Rome. Ovid speaks of the solidified olibanum droplets as 'tears'. The catholic church adopted the use of incense burning in the 5th century.

A recent study on a certified olibanum sample from B. carterii identified alpha-pinene, beta-myrcene and limonene as the major monoterpenes. Beta-caryophyllene, alpha-copaene, alpha-humulene and caryophyllene oxide were the major sesquiterpenes. The characteristic olibanum compounds isoincensol and isoincensyl acetate together with cembrene A were the main diterpenes. Octyl acetate is a characteristic of B. papyrifera, but it was not found in B. carterii.

The smell of olibanum smoke is influenced by a multitude of pyrolysis products from the terpenoids present in the resin. Commercial olibanum oil obtained by steam distillation of the resin from mixed Boswellia species has a sweet, woody-balsamic odour with a fresh, almost citrusy nuance. It is used in luxury perfumes, e.g. Opium (Yves Saint Laurent 1977).

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Frankincense (Somalian)
Click to enlarge