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Updated on November 29, 2007

Gifts of the Magi

Frankincense Tears

Frankincense was one of the precious gifts given to the Christ Child by the Magi. The history of frankincense goes further back than this however.

The earliest recorded use of frankincense is found on Egypt's Queen Hathsepsut's tomb. The ancient Egyptians used frankincense as an incense, then used the charred resin-ground into a powder (called kohl) and used it as eyeliner. Who isn't familiar with the ancient Egyptian art and figures with the distinctive and striking eyes. In addition to this, they used it in their embalming rituals and in the embalming medium itself. Frankincense has also been found in their other cosmetics and perfumes as well.

Frankincense was probably never as popular and sought after as during the first century B.C. Emperor Nero actually burned it by the ton at ceremonies. Its popularity continued until high taxes were imposed and demand declined-along with the fall of the Roman Empire.

Many people don't realize what frankincense really is, or where it comes from. It technically is a oleo-gum-resin. What? Oleo =oily/fatty looking or in nature, Gum=partly soluble in water, Resin=either all or partially soluble in alcohol. So...frankincense looks oily, and is partly soluble in water and in alcohol.

To harvest frankincense, lengthwise cuts in the bark are made and the gum is allowed to seep out. After around 3 months, the gum has been allowed to harden into "tears". These tears are collected and graded.

Frankincense is used in many ways. Many churches of different faiths use it either alone or in blends for incense in ceremonies or celebrations.

In skin care it is reputed to be antiseptic and to be good in anti wrinkle preparations. It has been used in creams and balms for stretch marks.

Frankincense is being tested in European hospitals at this time and is being used therapeutically there. Frankincense is good for conditions involving the respiratory system. It is useful for wounds, acne, and mature skin.

In aromatherapy, it is an uplifting oil-helping to control negative moods and promote a positive attitude.

It is a lovely essential oil, a bit expensive, but worth it. The scent is wonderful. Add a drop or two to your favorite facial cream or oil and you will be doing your skin a favor.

Therapeutic benefits and royal romantic history--frankincense is a gift you should consider giving to yourself.


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    • profile image

      rochell 4 years ago

      Cool.... and very interesting.....

    • cnpankhurst profile image

      cnpankhurst 5 years ago from Ireland

      loved the article and I agree the pics make a huge difference. thanks

    • profile image

      IZZY 6 years ago

      wow this is a really good article you should keep going about this!

    • profile image

      VivekSri 7 years ago

      didn't know about such great stuffs. your hub is reveling and downright interesting. thanks that you shared.

    • Michele Engholm profile image

      Michele Engholm 10 years ago from Hutchinson

      Isn't that the case with everything good? : ( I hope that it doesn't become to rare I love it. Thanks for reading!!!

    • RenaSherwood profile image

      RenaSherwood 10 years ago

      Frankinscence is boss! I think it's also called olibanum? I read in The Philadelphia Inquirer last year that there might be a frankinscence shortage in a few years, as the trees have been overharvested.

    • Michele Engholm profile image

      Michele Engholm 10 years ago from Hutchinson

      Thanks sukritha!

    • sukritha profile image

      sukritha 10 years ago from Cochin

      Nicely expressed and the pictures are realy good

      Keep Going

    • Michele Engholm profile image

      Michele Engholm 10 years ago from Hutchinson

      Yes, I love frankincense. Oh, Mr. Marmalade. Your poor father. 3 months without the use of his arm...That must have been terribly painful. It must have been hard for you to see....

    • MrMarmalade profile image

      MrMarmalade 10 years ago from Sydney

      I HAVE READY MANY TIMES ABOUT Frankencense in the bible.

      i did not know about boils. I think my father would have like to have known that.

      He had a boil on his right arm when I was 11. Someone told him if he poured boing water into a milk bottle. (before the age of plastic bottles) This treament would remove the boil and there would be no scaring. Poor dad, He could not use his arm for almost three months and the hideous scar was on his arm until the day he died.

    • Zsuzsy Bee profile image

      Zsuzsy Bee 10 years ago from Ontario/Canada

      Michele! I agree, Frankencense essential oil is a great additive to facial cream. It also speeds up the healing of a boil.

      great HUB

      regards Zsuzsy