I first discovered the power of frankincense resin when dating my now husband, Mark. We had a ritual of playing a CD called The Prayer Cycle. According to Google, “The Prayer Cycle is a surprisingly spiritual and moving album masterminded by composer Jonathan Elias, featuring an all-star cast culled from the pop, rock, and world music arenas (including Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Alanis Morissette, Perry Farrell, Linda Ronstadt, James Taylor, Ofra Haza, Salif Keita, and more).” I would strongly urge you to have a listen to this first piece by Alanis Morissettehttps: www.youtube.com/watch?v=EAK5xe3woAQ
Okay, so if you actually took a moment to play the absolutely stunning and transforming Youtube clip, please take a moment to imagine burning a tiny resin on a hot coal, that swirls and gently dances and fills the air with its sultry, calming, meditative warm and spicy, woody odour, with citrus notes. These were the afternoons and evenings that filled those first days of romance. I guess my love for frankincense is no surprise, then.
But what is it? Grown predominantly on the Somali coast and parts of the Arabian Peninsula, the resin is obtained by making deep cuts in the trunk of the Boswellia tree. This slit allows the sap to run and as it reaches the cool air, it hardens and forms a tear shaped resin that drops to the ground where it is then collected and sold at market. Kind of like maple syrup!
In a research paper by John Hopkin’s Society entitled Burning Incense Is Psychoactive: New Class Of Antidepressants Might Be Right Under Our Noses states that ” Burning frankincense (resin from the Boswellia plant) activates poorly understood ion channels in the brain to alleviate anxiety or depression. This suggests that an entirely new class of depression and anxiety drugs might be right under our noses.”
This article, written in 2008 makes for a good readhttp://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080520110415.htm
Of course, our ancestors knew the benefits of burning this resin. Greeks, Romans, Syrians, Muslims and Chinese to name a few all mention frankincense for its many healing qualities such a calming to the mind and as an anti-inflammatory good for arthritis and bronchials.
In Egypt and Arabia, frankincense is used as a natural insect repellant, repelling mosquitoes and sand flies as well as used in silos for help with repelling wheat moths. Researches have even said that the burning of frankincense assist with the acoustics of a room. Perhaps that’s another reason it is often burned in churches and used in other ceremonial occasions?
There is a reason the Magi chose Frankincense as one of the gifts to present to the baby Jesus. My wish for you is that its magical and mystical essence will transform you to a place of great beauty and inner peace, as it does for me.