As some of you know, I have just returned from my African aromatics tour. (https://apothecarysgarden.com/2016/01/26/the-african-fair-trade-frankincense-and-myrrh-tour-2016/).
The motivation behind this trip was to facilitate sustainability and fair trade of medicinal/fragrant resins from the Horn of Africa. Early 2016 I spent a week and a half in remote, (hot), Samburu county sourcing native resin bearing Frankincense and Myrrh trees and initiating a fair trade platform for the semi-nomadic, pastoralist women of the Samburu tribe in North Eastern Kenya.
I set primary quality guidelines with better prices for the resins they collect, and will continue to purchase as much resin as I can sell here. This winter I plan to return and take further steps with them to add value and increase their income stream from resin collection.
In the Samburu tradition, the men hold most of the wealth which is in the form of cattle, sheep, goats and camels. The women do much of the work with little to no monetary return. Cutting out middlemen from the resin trade ensures they get a higher return for the resins they collect while grazing their animals. This is most often used to purchase food and medicine for their families and gives them much needed independence from the sale of animals which the men control.
Though Frankincense and Myrrh trees are abundant in their area, the women do not tap or injure the trees to increase yield as many other collectors do. Harming nature is frowned upon and contrary to their belief system and their reverence for their Nature God N’gai. They collect the resins that form due to incidental injuries from goats and Baboons who find the bark of Boswellia Neglecta delectable, and elephants who casually trample trees like matchsticks as elephants tend to do.
The Samburu women collect both a light and a dark B. Neglecta incense. Yes…I had to see this for myself and it is true!! Initial injury generates a clear sap which hardens translucent and light golden. Subsequent to injury the tree creates “Traumatic Resin Ducts” as does our Northern Spruce. These ducts then generate a special therapeutic sap called “Callus Resin”, that acts as a bandage and promotes the growth of protective tissue that heals the wounds, creates scar tissue and isolates healthy flesh from diseased. In Scandinavia, the Spruce callus resin is used in traditional salves for slow healing wounds, diabetic ulcers and post-surgical wounds.
Very little clear resin is available from the trees. It appears at about a 1:10 to 1:20 ratio compared to the dark resin.
As all its brothers, Frankincense Neglecta is ruled by the Sun from an astrological point of view. It is calming and strengthening to both mind and heart, aids in meditation and concentration, and helps raise one’s spirits.
When burned as incense, it helps cleanse a space and create a sense of sacredness.
The resin and essential oil of Frankincense Neglecta, though unmistakeably that of Frankincense, stand out with a beautiful clean crisp note, reminiscent of our northern Balsam Fir trees.
This unusual type of Frankincense has been used locally for generations as sacred incense and as medicine specific for respiratory complaints. The Samburu burn it when a child is sick, when a woman is in labour and during childbirth from what I could gather.
The infused oil of Frankincense Neglecta oleoresin and its essential oil are valuable ingredients in respiratory rubs, salves and oils. It yields itself readily to oleo-extraction with vegetable oils which makes a most excellent chest rub for congestions, asthma, bronchitis and colds.
I have found from personal experience that the infused oil of Frankincense Neglecta, when rubbed on the chest reduces feelings of tightness, panic and anxiety. This is an unusual and hard to find oleoresin, especially valuable due to its freshness.
As all types of Frankincense this oleoresin makes an exceptional incense for the home and ritual.
For more information on Frankincense Neglecta, a recipe and instructions on how to make your own Frankincense Neglecta cough and chest oil, please see my post-https://apothecarysgarden.com/2013/10/09/frankincense-oil-cough-cold-chest-rub-recipe/