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Seven Wonders from the Wise World of Frankincense

In ancient times, the white smoke of Frankincense was burned for its pure perfume to soothe and summon the spirit and its resinous nectar the sagacious substance of many opulent unguents to smooth and satiate the skin.


It is a blessing to find fresh strands of these ancient telegrams distilled again as a touchstone in the eternal timeline of Frankincense’s message for a millennium: upon the altar of existence may we embody the temple of the body.


Living Libations offers seven fine varieties of Frankincense essential oils. While each Frankincense essence is charmed with distinct, exceptional characteristics, they can be used interchangeably and, as always, the best Frankincense to use is the one you have on hand.


Frankincense Terroir


Similar to wine, the essential oil of a plant can be said to have terroir. Terroir reflects all of the environmental elements that affect the expression of the distilled plant’s genetics, and this gives the plant, and thus the distilled oil, specific characteristics. Some of these environmental elements that influence terroir include sun exposure, the amount and timing of rain, the composure of the soil it grows in, and the types of plants that grow nearby. For example, Lavender angustifolia grown in the United States is going to have a different terroir from Lavender angustifolia grown in the French Alps.


The same is true for Frankincense terroir, which is why we offer seven types of frankincense essential oil. The botanical Burseraceae family bursts forth a variety of frankincense trees that major in mighty monoterpenoids with plenty of a-pinenes. Yet their terroir gives them distinct scents, properties, and characteristics – and we treasure all seven!


Behold these seven Living Libations beauties from the Boswellia family:


Our classic Frankincense Carterii (Boswellia carterii from Somaliland), also known as olibanum, is harvested from revered groves and hydro-distilled from the fresh, oleo-gum resins of African Frankincense trees. With a warm, balsamic fragrance and an essence of fortitude, the carterii Frankincense is used to attend to skin imbalances, diminish the appearance of scars, nourish dry skin, and inspire the spirit. The aroma boasts a beautiful, balsamic dry-down offering the fortitude of a fragrant friend. A true tonic for general wellbeing, directly inhaling activates clarity. A drop in the bath prepares the mind for sweet slumber, and it is sublime in skin and sun care when applied topically.

Our wild Serrata Frankincense (Boswellia serrata from India), is wild-harvested from the resin of Indian Frankincense trees. This Frankincense has a light, complex citrus scent and is the honored Frankincense of Ayurveda. It is excellent as an aperitif, harmonizing in honey, and also effective for oral care.


Rare Royal Hojari Frankincense (Boswellia sacra from Oman), is rooted in over five millennia of human history. Anointed and inhaled by royalty and in spiritual ceremonies for thousands of years, this fine, fragrant oil fortifies and energizes as it nestles the nerves and deepens breathing. Avicenna offered Frankincense to “strengthen the wit and understanding.” Holding the wisdom of the ages, it is a formidable essence for supreme skincare and a serene spirit.


Green Hojari Frankincense (Boswellia dalzielii from West Africa), is hydro-distilled in small batches from a unique green-hued resin that exudes the essence of ancient incense. It promotes meaningful meditation, smooth skin, and sacred celebrations. Heavenly hints of mint and softly citrus scented Green Hojari Frankincense brings a bevy of benefits to daily life. Its long-lasting essence is perfect for perfumery as a single note or as an addition to floral and fougère essences.


Our Sacred Frankincense (Boswellia sacra from the Middle East), is distilled from Frankincense that grows in southern Oman. Sacred Frankincense is a high-vibe frankincense that is best used during meditation and attentive creativity. It has a higher alpha-pinene content than the serrata and the carterii, which makes it an optimal choice for enhancing focus, concentration, and memory. Drop into your bath or diffuser to Frankincense + Chill.


Warm and wonderful Dakkara Frankincense (Boswellia neglecta from Kenya) opens the doors of perception with the fine spirited scent of connection. This Boswellia neglecta is distilled from the black and rocky textured “pearls” of wild trees, yet the distillation results in a clear, resinous essence that smells dryer and sweeter than Boswellia carterii. We are enthusiastic about this ancient ecclesiastic’s earthy, amber-incense edge tinged with a dash of camphor. Discerning Dakkara is a cleansing and clearing chrism in any context, finesses focus, sentinels the skin, and consistently connects us to our inner core of valor. 


Celestial spheres rejoice in the timeless tale of Tigray Frankincense (Boswellia papyrifera from Ethipoa) and its ancient aroma that has heralded eras of connection and communion. This essence, the signature scent of sacrament, emits a resinous-arch of caramel, amber, and subtle citrus, and it is our favorite Frankincense for crafting colognes and perspicacious perfumes.



“Like a rainbow bridge, Frankincense is the olfactory link that binds the long history of the West into a single tapestry.” ~ Peter Holmes, Frankincense Oil: The Rainbow Bridge

“Frankincense oil is a mobile liquid, pale yellow or pale amber-greenish in color. Its odor is strongly diffusive, fresh terpeney, almost green-lemon-like or reminiscent of green, unripe apples (peel) but not terebinthinate. A certain pepperiness is mellowed with a rich, sweet-woody, balsamic undertone. Depending on the method of distillation of the oil (time, vapor pressure, etc.) the odor is more or less tenacious with an almost citrus-like, ambre-like, balsamic dryout note. Frankincense oil is used in fine perfumery… It gives delightful effects in citrus colognes where it modifies the sweetness of bergamot and orange oils. A similar effect is obtained in rather difficult “fresh” perfume notes such as verbena, citrus, etc. where Frankincense and citral form useful bases for further modifying work. Frankincense in itself is a base for all “incense” or “Frankincense” type perfumes and specialties, and it is an important ingredient in many spice-bases, ambers, “powder type perfumes, floral perfumes, citrus colognes, spice blends, violet perfumes, “men’s” fragrances…”
~ Steffen Arctander, Perfume and Flavor Materials of Natural Origin

And so he would now study perfumes and the secrets of their manufacture, distilling heavily scented oils and burning odorous gums from the East. He saw that there was no mood of the mind that had not its counterpart in the sensuous life, and set himself to discover their true relations, wondering what there was in frankincense that made one mystical…” ~ Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray

“Whenever we look in historic writings, myrrh and frankincense have been consistently employed for ritual, healing, transition and transcendence.”
~ Kurt Schnaubelt, Advanced Aromatherapy

“Frankincense essential oil is obtained from an oleo-gum resin formed in specialized resin ducts in the tissues of this small shrubby tree that grows in West Africa. Incisions can be made in the bark, and in response a milky white resin exudes, and the solidifies in amber tear shaped drops.” ~ Jennifer Peace Rhind, Essential Oils 

“Frankincense resin in most ancient cultures was also an important aromatic in perfumery, hygiene skin care and medicine. Resins such as myrrh, galbanum, and frankincense saw widespread secular as well as sacred applications, which included extensive individual and social fragrancing… Frankincense was an important component of Kyphi, the temple incense burnt in Heliopolis every sunset to honour the setting of the sun.”Peter Holmes, Aromatica


Nadine Artemis, the founder of Living Libations, is the author of Holistic Dental Care: The Complete Guide to Healthy Teeth and Gums, and Renegade Beauty: Reveal and Revive Your Natural Radiance, which was named one of “The Top 10 Books on Skin Care” by The Strategist of New York Magazine.  She is a respected media guest and contributor, and her products have received rave reviews in the New York Times, LA Times, Elle, People, Vogue, and Hollywood Reporter. Described by Alanis Morissette as “a true-sense visionary,” Nadine crafts elegant formulations and healing creations from rare botanicals that have skin glowing around the world.  Her concept of Renegade Beauty encourages effortlessness and inspires people to rethink conventional notions of beauty and wellness.