Oman, a land of wonders! The legend-steeped region was called “Arabia felix” or “happy Arabia” by the Romans. The spectacular frankincense tree grows, wild and free, in the northern foothills of Oman’s Dhofar Mountains. The trees yield holy frankincense » Boswellia Sacra » in potent, incredibly energy-rich places. Known as frankincense, or luban in Arabic, the nuanced fragrance is Oman’s signature scent. PHARMOS NATUR obtains the very highest quality of the naturally pure, holy frankincense called Boswellia sacra from Oman.
Frankincense trees are members of the burseraceae family and belong to the Boswellia genus, which contains more than 25 qualitatively very different species. Boswellia sacra from Howjar in Oman is the purest and most expensive frankincense in the world. Also called Al-Hojari by the locals, it is greenish in colour with a transparent shimmer.
As early as the Stone Age, people knew that balsams and resins made of frankincense were an effective treatment. By the time the classical age began, frankincense was already a highly important commodity and a source of the enormous wealth of the entire region along the incense trade route – Oman-Yemen-Hejaz-Gaza-Damascus.
The frankincense tree originates from the Sultanate of Oman; the roots of holy frankincense, Boswellia sacra, can be found here. Other species, called Boswellia papyrifera grow in Ethiopia and some areas of East Africa. The Indian frankincense tree is called Boswellia serrata.
Adorned with only a little foliage, the frankincense tree has a somewhat gnarled appearance. Many of the trees have two or several trunks and the blossoms grow up to 25cm in length. Occasionally, Boswellia sacra, the holy frankincense tree, reaches a height of approximately 8 metres.
Karstified, chalky soils 500–1500m above sea level provide the best growing conditions, which is why the frankincense tree does so well in the mountains of the southern Arabian province of Dhofar in Oman. The resin that drips from the bark of holy frankincense trees has been known for millennia as “liquid gold”.
The harvesting time is crucial for obtaining high-quality holy frankincense – between late March and the end of August is best. Only when the frankincense tree’s trunk and branches have been “scraped” three times with a special knife in this period will it yield the highest-value pure resin. PHARMOS NATUR uses only this frankincense. The quantity harvested depends on the age, size and condition of the tree and lies between 3 and 10 kilos per tree.
When dried in the open air, the “liquid gold” is transformed into resin, with a staggering variety of different shapes and colours in the individual pieces. Delicate, small or coarse-grained, they shimmer reddish-brown, golden-brown to pale yellow, almost white, clear and pure. The individual pieces of resin then become almost transparent and take on a greenish shimmer.
Holy frankincense, the scent of heaven, is used both for burning, for cleansing the energy of rooms and spaces, but also medicinally.
Frankincense unleashes its characteristic, subtly balsamic, slightly fruity-sweet, even lemon-fresh fragrance as soon as it is heated and melts. Light, white smoke diffuses pleasantly through the room, dissolving stagnant energy and refreshing and revitalizing the space.
Frankincense, due to its therapeutic action, has the potential to be a real natural remedy; current scientific studies demonstrate this. Only the highest quality, characterized by drop- or piston-shaped greenish-white resin tears at least 3 cm in length, will find a medical use. Omani locals crumble 3-4 pieces of frankincense into 1 litre of water, which they drink every day!
Ancient Egyptian Pharaohs, Roman Caesars and the three Wise Men – all of them knew about the quality and virtues of real frankincense.
For millennia, frankincense has been burned to cleanse energy and used in medicine, for example, for inflammations such as gout, rheumatism or arthritis. The resin also boosts the healing of wounds and ulcers and can be used to treat respiratory diseases too.
Hippocrates and, later, Hildegard of Bingen, both well-known healers, relied on the properties of real frankincense for many different health problems.
The intensive, highly aromatic scent of real frankincense has been called the scent of heaven or the fragrance of the gods. Once upon a time, hardly any culture or religion could survive without frankincense. Holy frankincense meant so much to people that they reserved it for deities and secular rulers, even in their everyday lives. This was just as common in Egypt as it was later, in Roman culture.
Frankincense was burned as needed, anywhere it seemed necessary. Even today, it plays a significant role in the liturgy of some Christian services. The frankincense rite perceptibly mediates between the divine and the human.
Additionally, the aroma has always been a sign of a healthy life, given the fragrance always indicated the presence of life-giving gods. It was considered a bridge into the spiritual world.