Chemical Composition of Frankincense.


Chemical Composition of Frankincense.

Frankincense Olibanum Boswellia Carterii Serrata Boswellic Acids  Olibanum consists chiefly of an acid resin (56 per cent), soluble in alcohol and having the formula C20H32O4 (Hlasiwetz, 1867); it yields no benzene derivatives when fused with caustic potash. When burned, it emits an agreeable odor. Water removes from it a bitter, viscid substance, little soluble in ether. Olibanum also contains gum (30 to 36 per cent), insoluble in alcohol, and resembles ordinary gum arabic. With 3 parts of water it forms a thick mucilage (Pharmacographia). Finally, olibanum contains about 3 per cent of ash, and from 4 to 7 per cent of a volatile oil. According to Kurbatow (1874), it consists chiefly of a terpene olibene (C10H16), boiling at 158 Deg C. (316.4 Deg F.). Fluckiger found it laevo-rotatory, and Wallach (1889) identified it as l-pinene, and in addition found dipentene. Schimmel Co. also report the occurrence of phellandrene in the oil (Gildemeister and Hoffmann, Die Aetherischen Oele, p. 641).


 Frankincense Olibanum Boswellia Carterii Serrata Boswellic AcidsLimonene, Pinene, Borneol, Farnesol, Phellandrene, Myrcene [Shirley Price, The Aromatherapy Workbook (Hammersmith, London: Thorsons, 1993), 54-5.]

 A major component of this essential oil is alpha-pinene. Typically this group (monoterpene hydrocarbons) make up around 40% of the oil although overall it has a variable composition. A research review completed recently considered how these components are taken up, distributed and cleared from the body. Although more structured research is required the findings of this report, and the many related references, provide fascinating reading.

 Resins 65 per cent, volatile oil 6 per cent, water-soluble gum 20 per cent, bassorin 6 to 8 per cent, plant residue 2 to 4 per cent; the resins are composed of boswellic acid and alibanoresin.

 Chemical constituents including known chemo-types:

 There is only limited information on the chemical analysis of B. papyrifera. The essential oil has been analyzed by Dekebo et al. where octyl acetate has been found to be the major component. Just as in the case of B. carteri, diterpenes are among the major components of B. papyrifea. This makes B. papyrifera at least chemically a close relative of B. carteri. The latter is known only from Somalia, where the tree is called Mohor and the resin Beyo. The diterpenes contribute to the characteristic balsamic odour of the resin as well as its products i.e. the essential oil and the absolute.

 Its constituents are similar to that of Boswellia sacra Flueck.(syn Boswellia carteri Birdw.) of Somalia. Octyl acetate was found to be the dominant compound, which accounts for 47% of the oil (Dekebo et al., 1999).

 Components Identified: 1) alpha-pinene (6.1%); 2) camphene (0.6%); 3) beta-pinene (2.0%); 4) myrcene (1.7%); 5) limonene (4.8%); 7) 1-octanol (5.9%); 8) linalool (3.6%); 9) octyl acetate (46.8%); 10) geraniol (1.1%). [Peaks 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7 and 8 confirmed by GC-MS].

 GC Chromatogram: Frankincense Olibanum Boswellia Carterii Serrata Boswellic Acids

 Hedwigia balsamifera:

 An alcoholic extract of this plant, administered hypodermatically, proved a nerve and cardiac poison. A convulsing alkaloid is contained in it, and a resin capable of lowering the body heat and inducing paralysis (Ann. de Therap., 1889). (See also p. 1318.)

 Frankincense is similar to Olibanum, but is usually differentiated from it by a distinct lemon aroma, as opposed to the Olibanum's orange aroma. Frankincense is called for in many ancient and medieval recipes, and is the most commonly found ingredient in incense blends.

 The Kohl substance that ancient Egyptian women used to darken the area around the eyes with was made of charred Frankincense or Olibanum sometimes mixed with other resins and herbs.

 African Frankincense is what most people can find easily enough in shops. This is our lowest quality Frankincense, but it is also very economical in price.


  • 1.Frankincense,fraunk-encens,the Oleo-gum-resin and the magical sun luck carrier.Frankincense Olibanum Extract.

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Available Product
  • Name:Frankincense Olibanum Extract
  • Serie No:P026
  • Specifications:Boswellic Acid 65%by HPLC,Boswellic Acid 65%by Titration.10:1.TLC.
  • EINECS/ELINCS No.:289-620-2,308-366-6
  • CAS:89957-98-2,97952-72-2
  • Chem/IUPAC Name:Boswellia Carterii Extract is an extract of the bark exudate of the olibanum, Boswellia carterii, Burseraceae Boswellia Serrata Extract is an extract of the bark exudate of the olibanum, Boswellia serrata, Burseraceae
  • Other Names:Frankincense,Olibanum,Boswellia thurifera,Boswellia papyrifera (Del.) Hochst,Bible Frankincense,Olibanum,Boswellia carteri,boswellia carterii,Gummiresina olibanum,Ru Xiang.

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Frankincense Olibanum Extract INCI Name Boswellia Carterii Extract Boswellia Serrata Extract CAS 89957-98-2.97952-72-2 EINECS ELINCS No.289-620-2,308-366-6 Boswellia Extract Boswellic Acids

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