Search
Close this search box.

Frankincense in the Ancient World

Holy Land Revealed

Frankincense, also known as olibanum, is a resin derived from the Boswellia tree, native to the Arabian Peninsula and northeastern Africa. It has been highly prized for its medicinal and spiritual properties since ancient times and has played a significant role in the cultures and economies of the ancient world.



In ancient Egypt, frankincense was considered a sacred substance and was used in the embalming process to preserve the bodies of the deceased. It was also used in religious rituals and as an offering to the gods. The Egyptians imported large quantities of frankincense from the Arabian Peninsula to make incense, perfumes, and medicine.

Old City Jerusalem Tour
Christian Holy Land Four Day Tour - Market Old City

The Babylonians and Assyrians also valued frankincense for its medicinal properties and used it to treat various ailments, including respiratory, digestive, and skin. They also burned frankincense as incense during religious ceremonies and believed it had the power to ward off evil spirits.

Frankincense was also highly prized in ancient Greece and Rome, where it was used as a perfume, incense, and medicine. It was considered a luxury item and was often traded along the Silk Road, a network of trade routes connecting China, India, and the Mediterranean. The Greeks and Romans believed that frankincense had healing properties and used it to treat various ailments, including headaches, respiratory problems, and inflammation.


Frankincense in the Ancient World
In This Photo: Some frankincense in the Old City Jerusalem

In addition to its medicinal properties, frankincense was valued for its spiritual and religious significance. It was used in the religious ceremonies of various cultures, including Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. The Bible mentions frankincense several times, and it was one of the gifts that the Magi brought to baby Jesus. Frankincense is still used in traditional medicine and produces incense, perfumes, and cosmetics. It is also used in aromatherapy and is believed to have a calming effect on the mind and body.

The Nabataean Incense Route
How-to-Visit-Petra-From-Israel-Wadi

In conclusion, it has played an essential role in the cultures and economies of the ancient world. It was valued for its medicinal properties and its spiritual and religious significance. It continues to be a popular substance with many uses and benefits.

arik-about

Hi! My name is Arik, an Israeli native who dedicated his life to sharing my passion for the Holy Land with those interested in knowing more about this incredible piece of land. I’m the Chief Guide at ‘APT Private Tours in Israel’.

Did you know the Hoopoe is Israel's national bird?! For more cool info about Israel, join our ever growing community and get exclusive travel tips, and giveaways!

Simon Peter

RELATED POSTS

Guy of Lusignan

Guy of Lusignan, was a significant figure during the Crusades and had a crucial role in the history of the Crusader states in the Holy ...

Nebi Yusha Fort

Nebi Yusha Fort is a place that inspires the emotions of pain, for the price paid for independence, worth visiting if you are in the ...

Khosrow II: The Last Sasanian King

The last Sasanian King is Khosrow II. He was the last great King of the Sassanian Empire. He was reigning from 590 to 628 CE. ...

Siege of Lachish 701 BCE

The Siege of Lachish in 701 BCE by the Assyrian Empire over the Kingdom of Judah embarked on a campaign to assert its regional dominance.

Hashomer

Hashomer was a Jewish defense organization in Palestine founded in April 1909. It was disbanded after the founding of the Haganah in 1920.

Sarona Colony

Another great reason to come and check out Sarona Market is the Sarona Colony which is now a trendy commercial area called Sarona Tel Aviv. ...

The Architecture of Herod’s Palace

The architecture of Herod's palace in Jerusalem was probably outstanding. There are little remains of Herod's Palace. Click here for More!

Siege of Jerusalem in 1187

The Siege of Jerusalem in 1187 marked a turning point in the struggle for control of Jerusalem between Christian Crusaders and Muslim forces.

Kingdom of Jerusalem

In the annals of medieval history, the Kingdom of Jerusalem stands as a remarkable chapter. Let's explore the Kingdom of Jerusalem.

Battle of Montgisard 1177

In the annals of medieval history, the Battle of Montgisard is a testament to the courage and determination of the Knights Templars!

Need help?

Skip to content