Let’s talk briefly about some biology. Frankincense can come from the extract resins of 43 species of trees of the genus boswellia. (1) Each frankincense tree produces a resin containing slightly different components, so the end product varies greatly. (2)
Only 4 produce true frankincense: boswellia sacra (syn. boswellia carteri), boswellia frereana, boswellia serrata (Indian frankincense), and boswellia papyrifera. (3)
These are the only frankincense species confirmed to contain significant amounts of inflammation reducing boswellic acids. (3) (4) (5) This is the good stuff. We've considered all of these frankincense resins for our Healing Balm but we selected boswellia serrata for one important factor. Its sustainability.
Frankincense and Myrrh trees are becoming increasingly hard to find. The International Union for Conservation of Nature, which evaluates the conservation status of plants and animals, has assessed one of the primary frankincense species, boswellia sacra, grown in Oman as near threatened today. Boswellia papyrifera within the next two decades. This species—found mainly in Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Sudan—accounts for about two-thirds of global frankincense production. (6)
Boswellia serrata is native to much of the Punjab region in Northern India. This region manages an eco-friendly and sustainable long-term source of frankincense resins according to a third-party audit by Botanical Liaisons, LLC (Boulder, CO) who undertook a sustainability audit of Indian boswellia serrata gum resin harvesting and collection practices. Their audit report verified the long term sustainability of Boswellia Serrata supply in India. (7)
Frankincense and myrrh trees thrive in this region because of governmental economic incentives, the long lifespan of boswellia serrata trees, minimum pricing restrictions, and resin harvesting training programs supported by industry and government. They have a mindset of encouraging boswellia serrata and commiphora myrrha tree regeneration, and actually have created a tree surplus. (6)
ETHICALLY SOURCED RESINS
To produce frankincense and myrrh, the trees are cut and then resin leaks out acting like a scab, protecting the wound so it can heal. It's vital the trees are cut no more than 12 times a year to keep them healthy. In other war-torn areas of the world oversight is difficult where these species often grow and overcutting often occurs due to overexploitation, habitat loss and poverty. Protection efforts may not amount to much because remoteness of wild frankincense and myrrh trees makes policing impossible.
Wise Men Healing Balm selects suppliers in India that grow and invest in frankincense and myrrh nursery plantations rather than relying on wild trees. Our suppliers show commitment to sustainability. They provide training to resin harvesters to help discourage overcutting of trees in the wild. We strongly believe we have a responsibility to be good stewards of these resources and to support the communities whose lives depend on them. We don't want to see that we love these trees to death.
Our frankincense and myrrh ingredients are fully traceable from the tree plantations to steam distillation in Punjab, India to our bottling facility in Saint Paul, Minnesota. They are analyzed and validated to ensure potency and purity. Composition and Safety Data Analysis batch results are available upon request.
Fewer Ingredients Are More
Wise Men is very temperature sensitive. It often melts and reforms on the delivery truck so the form can be unusual sometimes. It could be liquefied if it's hot. It could be solid as a rock if it's cold. There could be an air bubble underneath the surface. Don't be concerned. This is because Wise Men is unrefined, organic, and basically as minimally processed as possible. In either form Wise Men performs the same. We don't dilute our time-tested ancient recipe with chemical ingredients that come from a laboratory with hard to pronounce names. To formulate a convenient cream we would need to add humectants, to sponge up and retain the water through the products shelf life; preservatives, to eliminate mold and bacteria growing during shelf life; and emulsifiers, for blending the water, oils, preservatives, humectants and active ingredients together. To properly formulate a smooth cream, our ingredient count will go to possibly twenty-five instead of the powerful three we use in our recipe. And that's why we like to say fewer ingredients are more.
Synergy of Frankincense & Myrrh
There are many intriguing frankincense and myrrh research studies completed for nerve pain relief and daily uses like oral care, underarm hygiene, rash relief, and accelerated wound healing. (8) Many of the studies on frankincense and myrrh focus on independent research, but recent studies demonstrate when used together they have a synergistic effect.(9) After the combination forms a blend, a series of changes take place in their chemical composition, such as the emergence of new chemical components. At the same time, the pharmacological effects of the combination seem magically powerful, such as synergistic anti-inflammation, synergistic analgesic, synergistic anti-bacterial, and synergistic blood-activation, and so on.
1 World Flora Online. (2023) Boswellia search. worldfloraonline.org Retrieved Nov 1, 2023
2 D.M. Mostafa, Science Direct. (2023) 5.1 Boswellia Frankincense https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/agricultural-and-biological-sciences/boswellia-sacra
3 Frankincense. Wikipedia. November 1, 2023. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frankincense
4 Michael P (2012-11-09). Chemotaxonomic investigations on resins of the frankincense species Boswellia papyrifera, Boswellia serrata and Boswellia sacra, respectively, Boswellia carterii : a qualitative and quantitative approach by chromatographic and spectroscopic methodology (Thesis). Saarland University. doi:10.22028/D291-22839
5 Simla B (2005-03-18). Phytochemical Investigations on Boswellia Species (Thesis). Universität Hamburg. urn:nbn:de:gbv:18-25030
6 "Frankincense trees—of biblical lore—are being tapped out for essential oils" RACHEL FOBAR (December 13, 2019) National Geographic https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/article/frankincense-trees-declining-overtapping
7 "Sustainability of Boswellia Serrata Supply through Third-Party Audit" March 2, 2022 Nutritional Outlook, Botanical Liaisons, LLC,
8 “Frankincense and Myrrh Clinical Research Studies” Wise Men Healing Research Studies. Nov 1, 2023, https://wisemenhealing.com/pages/research-studies
9 Seeing the Unseen of the Combination of Two Natural Resins, Frankincense and Myrrh: Changes in Chemical Constituents and Pharmacological Activities” National Library of Medicine 2019 Aug 24 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6749531/