Ancient "Tigray" Frankincense: An African Favorite through the ages.

May 22, 2019


Boswellia papyrifera, locally known as "Tigray" in Africa, is a truly ancient and special frankincense. 

Tigray was one of the most popular frankincense species in the ancient world. From the Egyptians to the Romans, Tigray was accessible and widely used. In fact, it is known as the "church" frankincense. It has a scent exclusive to its species and its lingering aroma is recognized as that typical "church scent." When it is burnt fresh, the scent reminds me of spring and new life. It has a light airy aroma that has many floral notes and gives the feeling of cleanliness and purity. 

Throughout history, culture after culture has used it. The Babylonians and Assyrians burned it during religious ceremonies while the ancient Egyptians transported entire boatloads of the resins from the Phoenicians and used it as incense, insect repellent, perfume and salves for wounds and sores. It was also the key ingredient in the embalming process. Certain sections of internal organs were removed and filled with frankincense resin by the Egyptians as a sacred rite and to control the unpleasant scent of the passed on vessel. Egyptian woman used the ashes and charcoal from burned frankincense as the famous eyeliner that Egyptian woman were known for. Large amounts were burned with mummies to assist in the afterlife, as well. Queen Hatshepsut, who once ruled Egypt until her death c.480 B.C. had sacks of frankincense and myrrh trees integrated into the murals decorating the walls of a temple dedicated to her.

Tigray, as well as other species of frankincense and myrrh, were also burned as a biting insect deterrent. This actually controlled the spread of malaria in certain sections of Africa in ancient times.  I, myself, use it in the spring and summer to deter pesky mosquitoes that seem to be carrying more and more disease, even here in New England.

I have received a fresh order of high-grade Boswellia papyrifera from Ethiopia recently and if you have not tried it yet, I highly recommend it. It has a wonderful complex aroma and is very affordable. Use it outdoors to deter insects and induce relaxation or indoors to cleanse the air and introduce a fresh spring scent into your home.


Brian Camgemi
Wild Tree Essentials

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