Frankincense is the very scent of history, deeply entrenched in spirituality, its smoke symbolising prayer rising to the heavens for which it is burned as incense in homes and places of worship. On a more practical plane it is a surefire way to keep your house mosquito free.
Extracted from trees belonging to the genus Boswellia, frankincense is a milky white gum resin that has been prized through the ages for its alluring fragrance. In fact, the Latin origin of the word perfume is per fumum meaning “by smoke”, a reference to the fragrant smells derived from the burning of incense. Frankincense is added to perfumes, and used for medicinal purposes to ease everything from inflamed joints to congestion and anxiety.
Frankincense was one of the gifts carried by the Magi (wise men) when they visited the baby Jesus. Being a practical gift with many uses, it was in those times considered a luxury item fit for royalty. Biblical scholars believe this to be one of the reasons frankincense was chosen for the Christ child. From earliest recorded history, fragrant and alluring smells have been regarded as an essential element of civilisation. In India frankincense is commonly referred to as Dhoop, the resin of the Boswellia Serrata tree.
In these days of quick fixes and fast foods, it is ironic that an ancient provenance like frankincense provides the most effective remedy against that scourge of urban life- the common mosquito. Burning a little frankincense over hot coals creates the fumes avidly detested by mosquitoes and all manner of winged pests. Importantly, unlike modern mosquito repellants, mosquitoes have yet to develop any form of resistance to frankincense- 5000 years of use stand testimony to it.