Frankincense or Kunthirikkam (Olibanum) – An aromatic resin uses
Frankincense or Kunthirikkam – One of the three gifts brought to the baby Jesus by the three wise men
What is Frankincense or Kunthirikkam?
Frankincense, also called olibanum, is an aromatic resin used in incense and perfumes, obtained from trees of the genus Boswellia in the family Burseraceae, particularly Boswellia sacra. The English word is derived from Old French “franc encens” (i.e., high quality incense).It comes in different varieties and types. Frankincense quality depends on purity,colour,aroma age and shape. Hojari and silver are considered highest grades of kunthirikkam
Frankincense hardened resins are called tears. Each frankincense trees, producing slightly different type of resin. The trees start producing resin when they are about eight to 10 years old. Tapping is done two to three times a year with the final taps producing the best tears due to their higher aromatic terpene, sesquiterpene and diterpene content. Generally speaking, the more opaque resins are the best quality
Uses of Frankincense or Kunthirikkam
Frankincense is used in perfumery and aromatherapy. It is also an ingredient that is sometimes used in skincare. The essential oil is obtained by steam distillation of the dry resin. Some of the smells of the frankincense smoke are products of pyrolysis.
It is used in many Christian churches. According to the gospel of Matthew 2:11, gold, frankincense, and myrrh were among the gifts to Jesus by the biblical magi “from out of the East.” Christian and Islamic Abrahamic faiths have all used frankincense mixed with oils to anoint newborn infants, initiates and members entering into new phases of their spiritual lives.
In Ayurvedic medicine frankincense (Boswellia serrata), commonly referred to in India as “dhoop,” has been used for hundreds of years for treating arthritis, healing wounds, strengthening the female hormone system and purifying the air. The use of frankincense in Ayurveda is called “dhoopan”.