Boswellia sacra. Syn. Boswellia carteri. Frankincense tree. Olibanum tree. Family Burseraceae. Order Sapindales.
Boswellia sacra is a single- or multi-stemmed, thornless evergreen tree. 2-8 m high, with a smooth, papery, peeling bark. The tree grows in semi-arid to arid areas, usually in rocky slopes and gullies, often on limestone boulders. It adheres to boulders of rock-faces by means of a cushion- or disk-like swelling at base of trunk. This bulbous base is less developed or even absent in trees growing in rocky soil or gravel, which accounts for the considerable variation in habit and shape of B. sacra and B. carteri. Its common name comes from the Old French ‘franc encens’. meaning pure incense or, more literally, free lighting. The Greek and Latin words for frankincense, ‘libanos’ and ‘libanus’. come from Arabic ‘luban’, which derives from a root that refers to milky whiteness and which is reflected in the term olibanum. Boswellia sacra has its home in southern Arabia. Yemen. Oman and Somalia. It is cultivated elsewhere.
The oleo-gum-resin consists of the monoterpenes alpha-pinene, limonene, cymene and phellandreneas well as sesquiterpenes caryophyllene and alpha-humulene. Additionally there are diterpenes cembrene. incensole and derivatives with low volatility and pentacyclic triterpenoids called boswellic acids.
The medicinal uses of frankincense are numerous and diverse, approaching the status of a cure-all. These claimed effects range from dental disease to skin conditions, respiratory complaints, mental disorders, mastitis and digestive troubles, to name but a few.
Burseraceae. also known as the Torchwood. Balsam or Incense Tree family, has about 18 genera containing 550 species of trees and shrubs, often with thin, flaking bark, many of them noted for their copious production of aromatic resins. The family is most closely related to Anacardiaceae. both being part of the order Sapindales. The main distinction in members is the difference in the composition of resins.
They are primarily terpenoid and aromatic in Burseraceae. and predominantly phenolic and allergenic in Anacardiaceae.
Burseraceae resin nearly always has a distinctive, strong odour. It is either clear, sticky and usually drying white, or milky white to pale yellow. Anacardiaceae resins typically darken to black. Members of the genus Boswellia produce frankincense. It is a small genus of 20-30 species of trees and shrubs that ranges from tropical west Africa to the arid Horn of Africa, south into Tanzania and Madagascar, across to the southern edge of the Arabian Peninsula and north to India.
The resins of many species are harvested for various uses, primarily for incense, as a base for perfume, in religious ceremonies and in traditional healing. Like myrrh, frankincense has been in use for millennia.
In dry weather, boswellias naturally weep droplets of sap. which dry on the surface of the plant or on the ground. These natural droplets are harvested. To increase the yield, a slit is made through the bark and the resin accumulates in drops on the surface, which dry and are then harvested 2-3 weeks later. Frankincense of the highest quality has a very pale yellowish hue. described by the ancient Egyptians as ‘the colour of the moon’ and emits a strong citrus-like scent. Constituents vary according to type and geographic location. Boswellia sacra is the main source of frankincense today.
«Frankincense has always been associated with purification and the dissipation of evil spirits. The resin serves as a natural bug repellent as well, a property vital to the health of the Boswellia trees that produce it. and one convenient to the ancient Egyptians who used it to fumigate their wheat silos and to kill parasites in food. However, although these antiseptic and fumigant properties were certainly noticed and exploited by ancient physicians, in all likelihood the resin would have been burnt in sacred rituals regardless, simply for the fragrant smoke it produced.
Probably the most important medical property of frankincense is its anti-inflammatory quality. Boswellia bark, in addition to the raw frankincense exudate, was traditionally used in ancient and classical periods to reduce inflammation, usually in the form of a poultice applied directly to the affected area. The resin was also used to treat painful, swollen gums, and dissolved into an eyewash used to treat swelling and irritation. In Roman times, it was a component of nearly every treatment for wound care.» [Grant]
Burseraceae has 5 representatives in the materia medica: Boswellia [3 species], Balsamodendron mukul and Commiphora myrrha. Boswellia sacra is the type remedy, under the name Olibanum sacrum, which is the term used to denote the oleo-gum-resin, frankincense.
Provings by Carmen & Jurg Wachsmuth [Germany] — 52 provers [30 females. 22 males], 30c: 34 provers [17 females. 17 males], trituration C1 — C4; 9 provers [5 females. 4 males], 40c: 5 provers [2 females. 3 males], 6c: also 12c [1 prover]. 220c [1 pr], 10M [1 pr], LM 2 [1 pr.]; 1997-98. Clinical observations from Enna Stallinga [Holland: S].
Respiratory. Gastrointestinal: digestive. Urinary. Mucosa and skin.
M Preoccupied with religion: religious thoughts, fantasies, speculations.
M Snakes, priests, cathedrals, church music, crucifixion, convents, nuns.
M Visions of angels, connected to God. Heavenly peace, faith, unification, salvation.
M Desires activity, in evening: active until deep into night, then complete exhaustion.
M Direct, open, honest, firm, frank, blunt. Telling the plain truth. Self-satisfied.
M Sensitive to noise [4 pr ], slightest noise [2 pr.].
M Sympathetic: too generous: helpful. Yielding. [S] M Takes the blame, strong feelings of guilt. Christ consciousness. [S] M Helping and giving: working for the sake of peace and harmony. Mediators and pleasing everybody. [S] M Difficulty coping with conflict situations. Cannot stand injustice. [S] M Fears: water; heights; fire. [S] Fears: losing control; fire: punishment; rats.
M Shy as a child, obstinate in puberty. Fond of children, works in the educational field. [S] M Dreams about deceased people. Sees ghosts: sometimes fear of ghosts, fear of shadows. [S] G Acute sense of smell — food, onions, broth, incense, unpleasant odours, cheese [<]. G Desire for space: likes to be outside. [S] G Amelioration motion/exercise: often athletes. [S] G Appetite ravenous, increased after eating, increased by smell of food. G Eating > heartburn, abdominal pain.
G Sexual desire increased, with tenderness.
G Allergies: trees, antibiotics: hay fever, urticaria. [S] G Cramps: muscles aching, stiffness, cramping, complaints of ligaments, migraine. [S] G Cramps: muscles aching, stiffness, cramping, complaints of ligaments, migraine. [S] G Inflammation mucous membranes: sinusitis frontalis/ maxillaris: cystitis, pyelitis. [S] G Fibromyalgia, neck/shoulders. Burn-out. Thyroid problems. [S] S Sensation of emptiness. [S] S Skull as if too small.
S Cotton-wool below vertex.
S Dust in nose
S Coldness inside mouth
S Lump in throat, left side.
S Solar plexus as if opened widely and steadily enlarging.
S Chest as if empty
S Iron band around chest.
L Dizziness at sight of dirt and garbage.
L Headache > coition. Dull, pressing headache > conversation.
L Dryness nose. < deep inspiration. L Irritable bowel syndrome. [S] L Urging to urinate, dribbling of urine, while walking: loss of urine when sneezing or coughing. L Respiratory organs: recurrent coryza, bronchitis, pneumonia. & otitis. [S] L Pain in joints, stiffness morning in bed, > gentle motion.
L Skin burning and itching after washing: warm water is felt as too hot. cold water as too cold.
L Skin problems: Herpes, eczema hands [blisters, cracks], around eyes/ eyelids, intertrigo. [S]
RUBRICS STRANGE, RARE & PECULIAR
Mind Desires activity in evening and night. Yearning for affection. Anger about disorder. Anxiety, during coldness: about salvation: & shuddering: if a time is set. Heightened awareness of beautiful things: yearning for beautiful things. Blissful feeling. Desire to be caressed. Mania for cleanness. Content with himself and the world.
Delusions: Seeing angels: kitsch is beautiful: body lighter than air; newly born into the world: will have to go to a convent; dissolving: divided into two parts; in communication with God: being a nun: being a queen: being spied upon: magnificent visions of grandeur.
Desires nothing. Desire to discuss. Desire for harmony. Laughing, desire to laugh. Not recognising well-known streets. Sadness < music. Slowness. always behindhand. Sensation of unification with the universe.
Vertigo Riding in a carriage <. Head Pain, increasing and decreasing suddenly. Pressing pain occiput in morning. Stitching pain forehead > motion. Sensitiveness to brushing of hair. Swollen feeling, forehead; vertex.
Eyes Lachrymation < reading. Pressing pain in morning. Photophobia at night.
Vision Blurred < artificial light. Lightning in dark.
Nose Dryness inside < inspiration. Obstruction # discharge. Imaginary odours, like in a grave.
Face Perspiration at night. Mouth Smoky taste. Stomach Heartburn, & hunger. Nausea. < odours; sudden.
Abdomen Sensation of fullness < after stool.
Bladder Urination, urging to urinate. < walking. Urine Odour, aromatic: mouldy; like sulphur; sweetish.
Female Sexual desire, insatiable: lesbian: for oral sex.
Chest Oppression heart < rest. Pressing pain behind sternum < breathing deep. Palpitation, in morning on waking: at night in bed: from tobacco.
Back Pain cervical region < bending head forward. Pressing pain cervical region > motion.
Limbs Chapped fingertips. Sensation of fuzziness hands: thumbs. Heawness joints. Pain knees < descending stairs. Stitching pain knees < walking. Sensation of paralysis knees < walking. Stiffness feet > walking: hands > motion.
Dreams Going astray. Dirty roads. Dragons. Floating. Yearning for freedom. About the orient.
Skin Itching < cold water. Generals Weakness, after coition: from alcoholic drinks.
FOOD & FLUID Aversion Coffee. Sweets. Desire Alcohol. Bread. Coffee. Cold water. Dairy; cheese. Fruit. Meat: sausages. Salty. Tea. Worse Alcohol. Dairy; smell of cheese. Vegetables; smell of onions.
PLUS GROUP Religion, angels, peace and harmony: church and cathedral + Helping and giving; taking the blame + Acute sense of smell + Appetite increased by smell of food + Inflammations + Cramps and allergies