What is Frankincense? Facts and Information

In the Bible, Frankincense is one of three gifts given to the baby Jesus by the three wise men. But what is Frankincense and what is it used for?

  • Frankincense is the resin of Boswellia trees. The resin is aromatic and is used in the manufacture of perfumes and in incense.
  • The resin is harvested by making a slash in the tree bark, allowing the resin to bleed out and then harden. The hardened lumps of resin are called tears.

  • Frankincense has been bought and sold for over 5000 years in North Africa.
  • It is also called olibanum.


  • Today, most frankincense comes from Somalia, but it is also produced in Oman, Yemen and Ethiopia.
  • Frankincense is still used in many Christian churches.
  • The quality of frankincense can vary. The most sought after product is silvery and clear, with a slightly green tint. Most frankincense has a brown and yellow colour.
  • Frankincense smells like lemons and wood.
  • Frankincense has traditional been used as a natural remedy in North Africa and the Arabian Peninsula to treat arthritis.