Fair Trade Frankincense

The medicinal properties of frankincense have become part of mainstream knowledge in the last decade, particularly in the trade of essential oils. However,  the trade in natural resources have had detrimental effects on the environment and the native communities that own the valuable resources. That is the nature of traditional trade of botanical species and particularly so when those resources are found in some of the poorest, most war-ridden places on earth as is the case for many of the well known strains of frankincense, also known as Boswellia and Olibanum.

The two most popular strains of frankincense that has led to over-harvesting is Boswellia Carteri and Boswellia Sacra. As nature would have it, Boswellia trees are found in hundreds of varieties, many of which are much lesser known and not as in demand as their famous cousins of Carteri and Sacra.

The Background

For thousands of years, frankincense has been revered for its valuable therapeutic and medicinal properties as depicted in scripture as one of the three gifts given to baby Jesus by the three wise men.

In recent years, it has made headlines as over-harvesting and unethical sourcing of the valuable resins has driven the once abundant native resources into near extinction due to the increased demand in the western markets for its valuable essential oils and changes in the climate conditions in the regions where it natively grows.

The fact is, that the botanical name of Frankincense has been used as a broad term to encompass a plant species that has hundreds of subspecies, yet only a small handful of those species are in demand on the market today.


Photo credit: Dan Riegler, Apothecary's Garden


Sustainable & Ethical Practices

We believe that the key to sustainable practices are building relationships with small-scale suppliers, such as our partnership with Dan Riegler from Apothecary’s Garden and the Samburu Women’s Cooperative, who harvest the resins sustainably while supporting their communities. This practice values the native resources and supports the people by paying fair wages to support their families. Working with local organizations allows the native resources to be adequately managed while providing educational resources to the local peoples that assist them in preserving their native resources for generations to come.

In our products, we use only pure Boswellia Neglect resins sourced sustainably and ethically from the Samburu Women’s Cooperative. Boswellia Neglecta resins are a lesser known variety of frankincense but still possess many of the same therapeutic qualities; the resins are harvested as a collaborative initiative to develop a new market and preserve the livelihood of the harvester communities. Diversifying the trade in resins gives the harvesters and their communities a broader income base to preserve their rich heritage and their close ties with their native lands.


Photo credit: Dan Riegler, Apothecary's Garden


Benefits of Frankincense 

Frankincense has demonstrated antifungal, anti-inflammatory and astringent properties, making it an excellent choice for acne-prone and anti-aging skin care products. The aromatic and therapeutic properties are preserved in the whole resin extracts which cannot be found in their essential oils, promoting feelings of calm, tranquility and peace.

Our Boswellia Neglecta resin extracts are made by dissolving the resins in pure, organic jojoba oil. Our gentle, proprietary process involves grinding up the pure resins and slowly extracting constituents into the organic jojoba oil over the course of many days to maximize and preserve their medicinal and therapeutic properties.

You can find our Boswellia Neglecta Extract in many of our products for its subtle aroma and anti-aging benefits. You can currently find it in these products: Laetus, Matchas & Plum Active Face Oil, Mitis, Daily White Tea Moisturizer, Validus, Rosehip & Polyphenol Cleansing Balm, and Taceo, Prickly Pear & Blue Tansy Concentrate


References: Essential oils of frankincense, myrrh and opopanax. Flavour Fragr. J. 18, 153-156. Baser, KHC., Demirci, B, Dekebo, A, Dagne, E. (2003). | International Journal of Social Forestry (IJSF), 2011, 4 (1):86-112. ISSN 1979-2611, www.ijsf.org. THE ROLE OF BOSWELLIA AND COMMIPHORA SPECIES IN RURAL LIVELIHOOD SECURITY AND CLIMATE CHANGE ADAPTATION IN THE HORN OF AFRICA: CASE STUDY OF NORTHEASTERN KENYA Badal Ahmed Hassan,1* Edinam K. Glover,2 Olavi Luukkanen,1 Ben Chikamai,3 Ramni Jamnadass,4 Miyuki Iiyama,4 Markku Kanninen1. https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Miyuki_Iiyama/publication/257139314_The_role_of_Boswellia_and_Commiphora_species_in_rural_livelihood_security_and_climate_change_adaptation_in_the_Horn_of_Africa_Case_study_north-eastern_Kenya/links/0a85e539ed573ed0ef000000.pdf. | Boswellia Gum Resin and Essential Oils: Potential Health Benefits − An Evidence Based Review. Rashan Luay, Hakkim F. Lukmanul, Idrees Mohammed, Essa Musthafa Mohamed, Velusamy Thirunavukkarasu, Al-Baloshi Mohammed, Al-Balushi Buthaina S, Al Jabri Ali, Al-Rizeiqi Mohammed H, Guillemin Gilles J, Abdo Hasson Sidgi Syed Anwer. Year : 2019 | Volume:  9 | Issue Number:  2 | Page: 53-71

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