Five Wondrous and Wise Frankincense Essential Oils

Living Libations offers five fine varieties of frankincense essential oils. While each frankincense essence is charmed with distinct, exceptional characteristics, they can be used interchangeably and, as always, the best frankincense to use is the one you have on hand.

Frankincense Terroir

Similar to wine, the essential oil of a plant can be said to have terroir. Terroir reflects all of the environmental elements that affect the expression of the distilled plant’s genetics, and this gives the plant, and thus the distilled oil, specific characteristics. Some of these environmental elements that influence terroir include sun exposure, the amount and timing of rain, the composure of the soil it grows in, and the types of plants that grow nearby. For example, lavender angustifolia grown in the United States is going to have a different terroir from lavender angustifolia grown in the French Alps.

The same is true for frankincense terroir, which is why we offer five types of frankincense essential oil. The botanical Burseraceae family bursts forth a variety of frankincense trees that all major in mighty monoterpinoids that offer plenty of a-pinenes, yet their terroir give them distinct scents, properties, and characteristics – and we treasure all five!

Our classic Frankincense Carterii Essential Oil (Boswellia carterii from Somaliland) also known as olibanum, harvested in revered groves and hydro-distilled from the fresh, oleo-gum resins of African frankincense trees. With a warm, balsamic fragrance and an essence of fortitude, the carterii Frankincense is used to attend to skin imbalance, diminish the appearance of scars, nourish dry skin, and inspire the spirit. The aroma boasts a beautiful, balsamic dry-down offering the fortitude of a fragrant friend.

Our wild Frankincense Serrata Essential Oil (Boswellia serrata from India) is wild-harvested from the resin of Indian frankincense trees. This frankincense has a light, complex, citrus scent and is the honored Frankincense of Ayurveda. Excellent as an aperitif, harmonizing in honey, and effective for oral care.

Rare Royal Hojari Frankincense Essential Oil (Boswellia sacra from Oman), is rooted in over five millennia of human history. Anointed and inhaled by priests and royalty in spiritual ceremonies for thousands of years, this fine, fragrant oil fortifies and energizes as it nestles the nerves, deepens breathing during meditation, and increases the intuition of our inner guidance. Avicenna offered Frankincense to ‘strengthen the wit and understanding’. Holding the wisdom of the ages, it is a formidable essence for supreme skincare and serene spiritual practices.

Green Hojari Frankincense Essential Oil (Boswellia dalzielii from West Africa), is hydro-distilled in small batches from a unique green-hued resin that exudes the essence of ancient incense, meaningful meditation, serene skin, and sacred celebrations. Heavenly hints of mint and softly-citrus scented Green Hojari Frankincense brings a bevy of benefits to daily life. Its long lasting essence is perfect for perfumery as a single note or as an addition to floral and fougère essences.

Our sacred Frankincense Sacra Essential Oil (Boswellia sacra from the Middle East) is distilled from frankincense that grows in southern Oman. Sacred Frankincense is a high vibe frankincense that is best used during meditation, yoga, and ceremonial prayer. It has a higher alpha pinene content than the serrata and the carterii, which makes it an optimal choice for enhancing focus, concentration, and memory. In addition to its sacred nature, the sacra bolsters robustness.

“Like a rainbow bridge, Frankincense is the olfactory link that binds the long history of the West into a single tapestry.” ~ Peter Holmes, Frankincense Oil: The Rainbow Bridge

“Frankincense oil is a mobile liquid, pale yellow or pale amber-greenish in color. Its odor is strongly diffusive, fresh terpeney, almost green-lemon-like or reminiscent of green, unripe apples (peel) but not terebinthinate. A certain pepperiness is mellowed with a rich, sweet-woody, balsamic undertone. Depending on the method of distillation of the oil (time, vapor pressure, etc.) the odor is more or less tenacious with an almost citrus-like, ambre-like, balsamic dryout note. Frankincense oil is used in fine perfumery… It gives delightful effects in citrus colognes where it modifies the sweetness of bergamot and orange oils. A similar effect is obtained in rather difficult “fresh” perfume notes such as verbena, citrus, etc. where Frankincense and citral form useful bases for further modifying work. Frankincense in itself is a base for all “incense” or “Frankincense” type perfumes and specialties, and it is an important ingredient in many spice-bases, ambers, “powder type perfumes, floral perfumes, citrus colognes, spice blends, violet perfumes, “men’s” fragrances…”

~ Steffen Arctander, Perfume and Flavor Materials of Natural Origin

And so he would now study perfumes and the secrets of their manufacture, distilling heavily scented oils and burning odorous gums from the East. He saw that there was no mood of the mind that had not its counterpart in the sensuous life, and set himself to discover their true relations, wondering what there was in frankincense that made one mystical…”

~ Oscar Wilde, Picture of Dorian Grey

“Whenever we look in historic writings, myrrh and frankincense have been consistently employed for ritual, healing, transition and transcendence.”

~ Kurt Schnaubelt, Advanced Aromatherapy

“Frankincense essential oil is obtained from an oleo-gum resin formed in specialized resin ducts in the tissues of this small shrubby tree that grows in West Africa. Incisions can be made in the bark, and in response a milky white resin exudes, and the solidifies in amber tear shaped drops.”

~ Jennifer Peace Rhind, Essential Oils


Nadine Artemis is author of Renegade Beauty: Reveal and Revive Your Natural Radiance and Holistic Dental Care: The Complete Guide to Healthy Teeth and Gums, a frequent commentator on health and beauty for media outlets, and her products have received rave reviews in the New York Times, the National Post, and the Hollywood Reporter. Described by Alanis Morissette as “a true-sense visionary,” Nadine has formulated a stunning collection of rare and special botanical compounds. Her healing creations, along with her concept of Renegade Beauty, encourage effortlessness and inspire people to rethink conventional notions of beauty and wellness.