Ethiopian Oils and Resins

Floracopeia offers a variety of extraordinary frankincense and myrrh oils produced by a chemist, researcher and master distiller in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. These fine oils are distilled in small quantities from wild-harvested resins. We also offer a growing collection of the raw resins for use as incense or traditional herbal medicine. Boswelia papyrifera is one of our finest frankincense oils, a true world-class aromatic treasure. When distilled, this resin yields an amazing essence that is unique among frankincense oils, full of sweet floral and fruit notes over a clean and clear bouquet of more typical resinous aromas. This is one of our best-selling frankincense oils and one of our “specialty oils,” produced exclusively for Floracopeia in small amounts. Because of the low concentration of essential oil in the resin, distillation produces only a one percent yield; B. papyrifera oil is therefore precious from the standpoint of labor, production, and availability. Unlike some other species of frankincense that are over-harvested, Boswelia papyrifera is abundant in Ethiopia, yet underutilized for economic purposes. Besides the essential oil we also offer B. papyrifera resin for incense and medicinal purposes; its translucent yellow tears burn cleanly with a fresh lemon-pine scent.

Boswelia rivae is another unique species of frankincense that we offer both as an essential oil and a resin. It is a darker resin with purple hues that comes in large chunks. As an incense it burns slowly with resinous, earthy and cinnamon-spice notes, which are also reflected in the essential oil.

Floracopeia offers two species of myrrh in both essential oils and resins. The first is Commiphora myrrha, true myrrh. Myrrh oil is thicker and more viscous than frankincense oils and is therefore not suitable for nebulizing diffusers. It has excellent therapeutic properties and outstanding olfactory characteristics for perfumery purposes. The resin of this myrrh species is not particularly pleasant when burned as incense, but we offer it for those who wish to blend it or use it for medicinal purposes.

Opopanax (Commiphora guidotti) is one of the numerous species of myrrh. This is sometimes called “sweet myrrh,” as it has properties and olfactory characteristics that are somewhat of a cross between frankincense and myrrh. The oil is very therapeutic and pleasant from the olfactory standpoint, but the resin has limited uses as incense.One of our most interesting Ethiopian resin oils is the recently developed co-distillation of frankincense (B. rivae) and myrrh (C. myrrha). The distillation of myrrh oil is a challenging and expensive process: only small amounts can be distilled at a time, the true resin is expensive, separating the essential oil from the hydrosol is complicated, and the thick oil is problematic for stills. To solve this problem, the residue of myrrh that remains in the still and collecting vessel is redistilled with the resin of B. rivae. The result is a very fragrant essential oil that contains approximately equal proportions of both oils, and a very full range of therapeutic properties as a result of its complex chemistry.

Major Marker Peaks of GC of Frankincense and Myrrh co-distilled oil:

  • Alpha pinene (10%)
  • Limonene (9%)
  • Furanodiene
  • Furanoeudesma 1, 3 diene (13%)
  • Lindesterne (4%)
  • 2-Methoxy furanodiene

Frankincense and myrrh oils are without a doubt the world’s most interesting, valuable, and important resins. They have a long history as medicines and sacred incenses. We offer an extensive monograph on this subject, which can be found in our Articles section.

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