Frankincense (Boswellia serrata and Boswellia papyrifera)
Probably best known because of the Nativity story, Frankincense - derived from the resin of a tree called Boswellia serrata and other species of the same - has an interesting history. In Hebrew, its name is levonah, meaning "white;" in Arabic, a closely-related language, it is 'al-luban, a term referring to milk; the name of the modern country of Lebanon is derived from both. However, it came to be known as "frankincense" when crusaders - many of whom were French or "Frankish" - introduced it to Europe during the Middle Ages.
Dried Frankincense is used in numerous ways, including the manufacture of perfume and aromatherapy; ancient Egyptians used burnt powdered frankincense as eyeliner. The burning of the dried c/s boswellia serrata resin has also played a part in the religious rites of all three Abrahamic traditions.
Frankincense is thought to be non-toxic, but when using natural herbs for therapeutic purposes - even organic herbs - prudence and caution is called for. The Starwest name on a package containing bulk herbs is your assurance of quality and purity when you buy herbs in bulk. That said, you should always seek out the counsel of a licensed herbalist or other healthcare professional if you are planning to use dried herbs for medicinal purposes.
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