The most important ancient fragrances were Frankincense and Myrrh. The Arabs used the milky sap of the frankincense tree, and called it al luban, from the word for milk. (The same word gave rise to the name of Lebanon, whose mountains were always capped by milky snow).
The ceremonial incense of the Jews was compounded of four 'sweet scents,' of which pure Frankincense was one, pounded together in equal proportion. It is frequently mentioned in the Pentateuch. Pure Frankincense formed part of the meet offering and was also presented with the shew-bread every Sabbath day. With other spices, it was stored in a great chamber of the House of God at Jerusalem.
The religious use of incense was as common in ancient Persia as in Babylon and Assyria. Frankincense, though the most common, never became the only kind of incense offered to the gods among the Greeks. Among the Romans, the use of Frankincense was not confined to religious ceremonials. It was also used on state occasions, and in domestic life.
The following is a formula for an incense used in the Roman Church: Olibanum, 10 ounce Benzoin, 4 ounces Storax, 1 ounce Break into small pieces and mix.
The coast of Southern Arabia is yearly visited by parties of Somalis, who pay the Arabs for the privilege of collecting Frankincense, and in the interior of the country, about the plain of Dhofar, during the southwest Monsoon, Frankincense and other gums are gathered by the Bedouins.
The kohl, or black powder with which the Egyptian women paint their eyelids, is made of charred Frankincense.
Today, frankincense oil continues to be valued for healing properties, such as aiding in respiratory issues, healing skin and wounds, as well as oxygenating the brain.
Man has recognized the healing power of this oil and incense, and we have learned from experience that the oil heals many things from warts to wounds, tumors, the mind and emotions. Frankincense oil is useful with helping the brain calm and tune out background noise and focus on a specific task. Many students will apply some to their temples before taking an exam.
Frankincense oil is also helpful with respiratory problems such as asthma, broncitis and pneumonia.
Nail strengthening recipe: Mix 10 drops each of Frankincense, Myrrh and Lemon to 2 tablespoons Vitamin E oil. Mix ingredients together and store in amber glass bottle. Rub on nail cuticles twice a week.
Frankincense as an Herb for Medicinal Uses
Frankincense has been used to treat every conceivable illness for thousands of years. Frankincense is a stimulant, but is seldom used internally now-a-days, though formerly was in great repute. Its principal use now is in the manufacture of incense and pastilles. It is also used in plasters and might be substituted for Balsam of Peru or Balsam or Tolu.
Aromatherapy: Frankincense essential oil is used in aromatherapy, as some extol its stress-reducing powers. Perfumes may contain the oil, which evaporates slowly, maintaining its scent. The raw chunks of resin may also be directly set on a heat source, such as hot coals, to have the same incense experience as ancient peoples. Inhale 6 to 12 deep breaths of Frankincense before bed time and meditate on your day for a "Good night."
Frankincense is said to create clarity of mind, calm the emotions and enhance spiritual awareness.
The use of frankincense throughout history were: Used in the first century as an antidote to hemlock poisoning. In Iran in the tenth century, it was thought to cure vomiting, diarrhea, fever, and tumors. In China it is still used today to treat leprosy, gonorrhea, and other ailments.
The inhalation of steam laden with the volatile portion of the drug is said to relieve bronchitis and laryngitis.
Frankincense relieved menstrual pains, and treated rheumatic aches and pains.
Externally Frankincense was used for liniments and for its antiseptic properties. The essential oil is used in aromatherapy to treat respiratory problems. Frankincense is also used in the bath to promote relaxation.
Most recently, scientists have observed that there is some agent within frankincense which stops cancer spreading, and which induces cancerous cells to close themselves down. More studies are needed and on-going. (Source: BBC News)
"Cancer starts when the DNA code within the cell's nucleus becomes corrupted," he says. "It seems frankincense has a re-set function. It can tell the cell what the right DNA code should be. Frankincense separates the 'brain' of the cancerous cell - the nucleus - from the 'body' - the cytoplasm, and closes down the nucleus to stop it reproducing corrupted DNA codes."
Dr Suhail (who is originally from Iraq) has teamed up with medical scientists from the University of Oklahoma for the task.
Culinary Uses of Frankincense
Externally, Frankincense can cause mild irritation of the skin. Internally, it is a mild carminative.
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