F is for Frankincense

F is for Frankincense

If you've followed us for a while, you'll know we are slowly building an Apothecary Glossary: an alphabetical collection of facts relating to our ingredients and practices here at Raven Botanicals. We've been looking forward to the letter F as it gives us a chance to fill you in on one of our favourite ingredients in skincare!

Read on to delve into the world of this mystical resin, exploring its history, skin benefits, and the thorny issue of sustainability.

Frankincense grows almost exclusively in Oman and is one of the oldest commercial commodities, dating back 5000 years! Frankincense comes from the term “franc encens”, meaning "quality incense" in old French.  It originates from the Middle East and Africa and is one of the most famous of the ‘oleo-resins’ (a natural plant product containing essential oil and resin).
Our human love affair with Frankincense can be traced back thousands of years to ancient civilisations, with its warm, balsamic aroma gracing religious ceremonies, soothing anxieties, and beautifying the skin. Frankincense symbolised luxury and emperors burned vast amounts of incense as an aromatic declaration of powerful wealth and prowess. The Ancient Egyptians used it to embalm their dead and Arabian inhabitants seized on the beauty and scared nature of the precious resin, incorporating it into life, medicine and rituals.
Over harvesting Frankincense is damaging because sap is extracted from the trees through a process of tapping - making small cuts in the tree to release the precious resin.  This process should only happen twice each year, however it happens much more frequently to keep up with global demand, endangering the trees and their entire ecosystem.
As ethical formulators of natural skincare, it's extremely important to us that we are not contributing to this problem.
We only use white Frankincense from Oman in our formulations - an ultra-superior quality resin collected from carefully managed populations of the Boswellia Sacra tree.  We work directly with an incredible sustainability project that has been set up to support the regeneration of the tree population and help protect it from unethical practices.
They ensure resin is only harvested using traditional methods, protecting the trees from over harvesting and damage from livestock. Rotational management ensures trees are not over tapped for sap and given time to rest and rejuvenate. Regeneration work also means up to 5000 seedlings per year are planted to  boost the population of this beautiful tree. 
We are proud to say that all of our Frankincense comes from farms that value human life over profit. This means that workers must be adults, must be paid fairly and have safe, healthy working conditions. Harvesting communities are also supported to improve living conditions and provide help with medical and educational needs.
Let’s explore what makes frankincense a powerful ally for healing and maintaining youthful skin.
Boswellia Sacra (Omani Frankincense): Considered the "king" of frankincense, Omani frankincense offers a potent aroma with citrusy undertones. It's prized for its skin-regenerative properties, promoting elasticity and reducing the appearance of wrinkles.
Boswellic Acid: the "Skin Healer". Boswellic acid, found in frankincense, plays a pivotal role in giving frankincense its potent anti-inflammatory and soothing properties when applied topically.

Frankincense has a rejuvenating effect, particularly on mature skin. It reduces the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines by stimulating natural collagen production.

 also helps fade scars and blemishes, promoting a smoother complexion.

The astringent quality of frankincense oil has a tightening and overall toning impact on the skin.

Frankincense acts as an antiseptic which tackles surface bacteria on the dermis and helps combat irritation and breakouts.
Frankincense essential oil is popular in aromatherapy. It calms and uplifts the spirit, aids meditation, and increases energy and focus. The aroma is said to promote feelings of contentment and positivity.
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