In Somaliland, generations of villagers have harvested the aromatic resin.
Known for harvesting the finest frankincense in the world, generations of Somalilanders have tapped Boswellia trees for their resin. Two or three times a year village men scrape the bark off the trees, and allow the resin to bleed out and harden before removing it. The women clean and sort the resin.
“The girls must remove the bark and stones and then separate the resins by their quality. It’s difficult, but women are the most patient,” Luul Chama, who runs a frankincense storehouse, told Ashley Hamer for an article in RoadsandKingdoms.com.
Used primarily in perfumes, aromatherapy, and cosmetics, frankincense also continues to play a role in Christian churches. In the Catholic Church, chrism — the holy oil used in the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and Holy Orders — is often made of frankincense, along with other fragrant oils such as eucalyptus, balsam, myrrh and lavender.
As the world’s appetite for frankincense increases, harvesters are forced to tap the trees more often, according to Hamer. The trees have become weaker, more prone to disease, and are in danger becoming extinct within 50 years unless action is taken to make the Boswellia trees a sustainable resource. Read the whole story here.
Since you are here…
…we’d like to have one more word with you. We are excited to report that Aleteia’s readership is growing at a rapid rate, world-wide! Our team proves its mission every day by providing high-quality content that informs and inspires a Christian life. But quality journalism has a cost and it’s more than ads can cover. We want our articles to be accessible to everyone, free of charge, but we need your help. To continue our efforts to nourish and inspire our Catholic family, your support is invaluable. Become an Aleteia Patron today for as little as $3 a month. May we count on you?