Boswellia thurifera/B. carterii (Burseraceae)
FRANKINCENSE, OLIBANUM, MASTIC TREE
The resin of the frankincense tree
has been used as an antiseptic by herbalists since before Christ. In Chinese
medicine, it is given for ailments ranging from leprosy to coughs.
Once considered so highly that, along with myrrh and gold, it was presented to the Christ child, frankincense,
with its familiar smell, accompanies Christian ceremonies throughout the world. It is native to east Africa and Arabia,
where it is used by women as eye makeup and as a depilatory. A tall tree, it has leaves with up to ten pairs of opposite leaflets.
The resin is tapped by cutting grooves in the trunk. It is then left to dry before being collected.
Volatile oil containing terpenes
and sesquiterpenes; resin; gum.
Applied externally to wounds, and used as an inhalation in bronchitis and as a gargle for throat and mouth infections.
Chinese physicians have prescribed it for leprosy and other skin infections, for absent or painful periods, as a painkiller for abdominal pain, and as a cough suppressant.