Boswellia sacra

Boswellia sacra, “Frankinscense” or “Olibanum tree” in English and “Arbre à encens” in French, belongs to the Burseraceae botanical family. It is a tree that can be 8 m tall. Native to the Arabian Peninsula, mainly the Dhofar region of Oman, it grows in desert woodlands.

The tree is famous for the production of the fragrant oleo-gum resin called Olibanum or Frankinscense (“pure incense” in ancient French), used in cosmetics and perfumes today.

It is used in the Indian Unani and Chinese traditional medicines for its anti-inflammatory, sedative, anti-hyperlipidemic and anti-bacterial activities. Specifically, for the healing of tooth-ache, tumors, gonorrhea, piles, leucoderma, scurvy, scabies and boils. The oil obtained from the seeds is used in painful rheumatic infection and after childbirth.

The essential oil and the boswellic acid are said to possess potent anticancer activities.

The oil composition is characterized by its high content of monoterpenes, mostly E-β-ocimene and limonene. Also sesquiterpenes, mostly E-caryophyllene.

  • English name Frankincense
  • French name Arbre à encens
Boswellia sacra