VIDEO: Frankincense Fact & Fallacy

Frankincense Fact & Fallacy

Note from EssentialOilSage editors: This is a MUST SEE VIDEO for anyone serious about understanding the quality of the frankincense‬ they use and the lengths that unscrupulous marketers go through to fool people into buying inferior oils. This is also an extremely interesting video for those who want to better grasp the substance of the intense battle between Young Living‬ and one specific company. That company was founded by a group of people with a primary marketing strategy from day one: To invent a constant stream of lies about Young Living in order to distract from their own ignorance of essential oils and the inferiority of their own products.

I just searched for that other company’s video that THIS video was created to address. Couldn’t find it. Apparently that other company felt that displaying its lies/ignorance in that specific instance is now counter-productive to its original purpose. However, Amazon still carries the book written by this company’s “Chief Medical Adviser” that was meant to set him up as a world expert on frankincense. In it, he displays even more ignorance on the subject. One example is a description of deadly vipers that live in the trees, making the harvesting of resin a treacherous job. Since he never bothered travelling to Oman‬ (and he is now banned from entering the country due to his lies about their national treasure), he didn’t realize that this was an ancient myth spread by the tribe responsible for the trees. The story helped protect the trees from resin-stealing poachers who feared the imaginary snakes.


April 13, 2012

Young Living Essential Oils has just released a groundbreaking presentation entitled Frankincense: Separating Fact from Fallacy. 

Narrated by Young Living’s director of training and education, Doug Corrigan, and senior research writer, Karen Boren, the presentation addresses misconceptions that have been raised recently about the purity, potency, and composition of Young Living’s frankincense essential oils.

Based on the latest findings on the therapeutic activity, phytochemical profile, and historic reputation of Young Living’s frankincense oils, the presentation refutes claims brought against Young Living by a company that markets aromatherapy products.

This meticulously researched presentation takes a critical look at the merits of several current testing methods and reveals the distinct advantages in health-promoting constituents found in Young Living’s chosen frankincense species.

Frankincense: Separating Fact from Fallacy, offers a clear, scientifically grounded look at the industry-leading processes and products that make Young Living the world leader in essential oils.


Doug Corrigan: Good day to you, welcome and thank you for taking your valuable time to listen to this important message today! I’m Doug Corrigan, Director of Training and Education at Young Living Essential Oils, and I’m joined today by Karen Boren from our Research and Discovery Department. Welcome, Karen.

Karen Boren: Thank you.

Doug: The content of today’s presentation originates in response to a different frankincense presentation currently in circulation on the world wide web that’s titled Liquid Gold. The Liquid Gold presentation was given by the chief medical advisor of a company that markets aromatherapy-related products. It was brought to our attention that during the course of this Liquid Gold presentation a Young Living brand and product was accused of being adulterated. Now I should clarify at this point that we are aware of at least two versions of the Liquid Gold presentation currently in circulation on the world wide web; a version that is around 46 minutes long and another version that is just under 19 minutes. We’ve since reviewed both of these presentations and found that during the 46-minute version of the presentation two Young Living products are falsely accused of adulteration, making it necessary for us to publicly bring forward the facts to the contrary and set the record straight about this false accusation and other misinformation presented in both of the aforementioned Liquid Gold presentations.

Now before we do that please allow me to share a little bit about Karen and myself for those who don’t know us. First about me; I have a long history in the study, application, and business of botanical medicines. This includes essential oils, whole herbs, herbal extracts, nutritional products, nutraceuticals, and the whole line. I’ve spent many thousands of hours preparing and delivering natural health education to hundreds of thousands of people worldwide.

Karen is a long-time researcher and writer of essential oils and various natural therapies. In addition to that, and most importantly for today, she is an authority on today’s topic of Frankincense. She has traveled extensively with Gary Young and other Young Living personnel to the Middle East andArabiato research Frankincense firsthand. We, and other Young Living personnel, have prepared many hours to ensure that what we will share with you today represents accurate historical facts and the latest present-day research.

It is unfortunate that over the many years of our being in business, Young Living has had to endure several newcomer aromatherapy marketers claiming Young Living oils are not pure or genuine. For the most part they talk a lot but they rarely bring any proof forward. However from time to time and as it is today, someone steps over the line and tries to bring forward what they perceive as specific proof. So far, and in this instance, this has only served to illustrate the accuser’s own ignorance and inexperience. One can be sure that when the quality of any Young Living essential oil product is specifically placed in question, defined specifically as to the authenticity, integrity, and ultimately the efficacy of that product, that claim will be carefully examined and set right. In this presentation you will see the facts that this oil marketer is either missing or ignoring. Young Living is confident that this will not only clear up this adulteration accusation but will also provide invaluable information that will help sincere seekers of health to move past the fool’s gold imposters selling counterfeit Omani frankincense, and instead embrace the genuine articles that are supported by ancient legend and scientific fact.

Young Living Sacred Frankincense OilFirst off let’s discuss this most pressing issue and look at the details of the specific accusations and mass-communicated assumptions in this Liquid Gold presentation that directly place the purity and integrity of both of our prized Frankincense essential oil products in question – specifically, our Boswellia carteri Frankincense and our Boswellia sacra with the Young Living brand name Sacred Frankincense. In this recent presentation from Liquid Gold the visual of an assay was presented and, in the end, misrepresented. This is an assay that Young Living requested from a 3rd-party laboratory, ChromaDex. This assay was requested from the 3rd-party laboratory ChromaDex in order to compare the boswellic acid levels of different frankincense products. Before we go on, a little background on boswellic acids might be helpful as it is important for the topic at hand. For those unfamiliar with this group of frankincense compounds, for holistic and natural healers, boswellic acids are just part of the diverse, complex, and impressive therapeutic activity of frankincense. But for many scientists out there they’ve been the focus of a lot of interest. Isn’t that right, Karen?

163 scientific studies on boswellic acidsKaren: It really is. Just recently I did a search on the National Library of Medicine website (PubMed at and their studies showed 163 different scientific studies on boswellic acids. These studies show that boswellic acids have anti-inflammatory, anti-arthritic, analgesic, and chemopreventive effects.

Analysis of Boswellic Acid Content in Young Living FrankincenseAnalysis of Boswellic Acid Content in doTerra FrankincenseDoug: That’s impressive, and that is indeed the case; boswellic acid is reported to have a wide variety of therapeutic applications. Now the reason we requested this assay in the first place was to demonstrate that our essential oil products contain a diverse and desirable phytochemical profile that includes these valuable boswellic acids that Karen just talked about, while some frankincense products on the market do not have a such a profile of constituents. Instead of taking this assay at face value, the presenters of the Liquid Gold presentation twisted these results in order to manufacture a claim that Young Living has added additional materials to their Frankincense essential oil products and adulterated them. We point to an image of the original assay, and an image of the visual used in the Liquid Gold presentation that is titled “modified” and we will point out the difference between the two. Please note, on the document on the right there is a table in the top right that is circled and we want to point out that that table was actually added by the presenters of the Liquid Gold presentation. This table attempts to translate the summary of samples in the document, but the problem is that it’s incorrect. The first line titled “Hasik distilled resin” is actually representative of an essential oil sample that we investigated that was derived from the Omani Boswellia sacra frankincense species that is relative to our Sacred Frankincense essential oil offering. The second line is representative of Young Living’s current Frankincense sourced from the Boswellia carteri species out of Somalia in Northeast Africa. The added table in the document on the right has labeled these backwards. It is a priority for Young Living to be very clear about the origin and source of our respective essential oil products as we stand firm in our desire that we will not be misrepresented. With that, let’s move forward and correct this false accusation.

Analysis of Boswellic Acid Content in Young Living Boswellia CarteriThe presenter in the Liquid Gold presentation erroneously points to the levels of a desirable bioactive component called boswellic acid in the first two samples, Table 1 and Table 2. On the bottom, the total boswellic acids were measured at 11.5 and 81.5 respectively. The presenter again erroneously points to the levels of these Sacred Frankincense and Frankincense samples as proof that they have been altered, claiming that pure frankincense essential oil should not contain boswellic acids. The presenter continues and bases this false opinion on his belief that, although these boswellic acids are very desirable and therapeutic and are found in rich supply in frankincense resin, that during the process of distillation they are all lost. Let us pause there and make it very clear that this accusation and the argument supporting it are invariably false. Let us first say that neither Young Living’s Frankincense oil nor any Young Living essential oil for that matter is adulterated, altered, diluted, or spiked in any way and the accusations put forward by the Liquid Gold presenters in this presentation are not true and not based on actual scientific evidence.

Analysis of Boswellic Acid Content in doTerra Frankincense FrereanaNow the presenter of the Liquid Gold presentation does not stop there. Pointing to the 3rd sample, labeled doTerra Frankincense, he again twists the facts and claims that, although devoid of any boswellic acids (in table 3 the results are non-detectable in all the different areas of boswellic acids compounds); he says that although this sample is devoid of any boswellic acids, this fact is actually an indicator that it is a pure oil, has been properly distilled, and not added to. In making this incorrect statement the presenter reveals that he is definitely not aware of the body of scientific analysis that has been done and is being done on frankincense, and must be ignorant of key facts or methodologies that would lead him to the proper explanation of this assay. The assertion that boswellic acids found in frankincense resin are lost in the distillation process is not true! Young Living has found and demonstrated that if there are boswellic acids in the sourced resin then they will certainly be found in the resulting distilled oil! Young Living has also found that the richer the original resin is in boswellic acids the fresher the resin is at the time of distillation, and specifics in the distillation procedure can also affect the end amount of boswellic acids in the oil. Granted, because of the nature of boswellic acids they are not easily identified except by a more advanced form of chromatography called HPLC (high-performance liquid chromatography). When employed, this instrument can accurately and more readily detect boswellic acids. Cutting-edge essential oil researchers like Young Living researchers Dr. Cole Woolley and Marc Schreuder have partnered with other 3rd-party scientific authorities and done intense work in this regard.

But you need not only take our word for it, as we have assembled the following research and scientific evidence to address both of these points and, as mentioned before, I’m joined by Young Living researcher and writer and frankincense expert, Karen Boren, who has led the Young Living team in gathering data and reviewing the body of scientific and historical information pertaining to this accusation. Karen, thanks so much for your work on this project. I know the topic of frankincense is very dear to your heart. Please tell us about your experiences.

Young Living Karen Boren PassportKaren: In 2009 I had the great opportunity to travel with Gary Young’s team for 3 weeks throughout the Middle East, following the ancient Frankincense Trail. When I write or talk about the 1868 Botanical Garden in Aden, Yemen, it’s because I’ve been to Aden and I know the location where this garden once existed. When I affirm that only Boswellia sacra grows in Oman it’s because I’ve walked in the region of Dhofar, near Hasik, Oman, and I’ve read the exact locations that frankincense experts have documented. I don’t tell you a cute story about people who sleep by their trees; I was in the home of Hasik Frankincense harvesters with Young Living Director of Purchasing, Mary Lou Jacobson. I have Saudi, Omani, and Yemeni stamps on my passport. I have taken many frankincense photos. I was technical editor for Gary’s book The One Gift, and I have gathered some 60 historical books on frankincense and myrrh, and literally hundreds of studies from the largest library of scientific research, PubMed. I don’t make up nice stories; I tell the facts about frankincense from personal experience.

Doug: Please help us with some of these facts that are going to help clear up the fallacies that we’ve talked about.

Karen: Certainly. Young Living researchers have worked for years to accurately and reliably identify boswellic acids in oils, but the youth and understanding of the more advanced instruments have helped immensely both in identifying more desirable source resin material and refining distillation procedures.

HPLC/MS more sensitive than GC/MSWe have some wonderful quotes; one is from the University of Bristol, which says “The primary advantage of HPLC/MS has over GC/MS is that it is capable of analyzing a much wider range of components.” Brian Johnson, a chemist at San Rafael Chemical Service inSalt Lake City,Utah, explains that high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) is a highly-improved form of columned chromatography. He said that this technique allows a better separation of constituents to identify the individual components of boswellic acids.

Dr Herve Casabianca on shortcomings of GCMSThis is in line with the opinion of Dr. Herve Casabianca, one of the world’s foremost GC/MS essential oil experts. Dr. Casabianca is Director of the National Center for Scientific Research (and you see these initials all the time, CNRS) in Lyon, France. He confirmed the difficulty of GC/MS analysis detecting the presence of boswellic acids in frankincense essential oil. In a March 1, 2012 communication Dr. Casabianca wrote: “These molecules (heavy boiling point and heavy mass) are not easily analysed by GC methods. If molecules are not vaporized, they cannot enter a column – you cannot detect anything.” Now I’m the first to admit that chemistry can be difficult to understand so just to put this simply, the boiling point of boswellic acids is 556° Centigrade, and GC/MS column temperatures max out at 300° Centigrade. Obviously then, the GC/MS cannot turn the boswellic acids into a gas so they can be detected; you have to use HPLC technology.

Study: boswellic acids in Boswellia sacra frankincense essential oil As you already mentioned, Doug, this information led to a more intense investigation that resulted in the December 2011 study published in the journal BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, which documented the presence of boswellic acids in frankincense essential oil from Oman, Boswellia sacra, by the use of HPLC. Not only did the researchers detect the presence of boswellic acids in Oman’s Sacred Frankincense essential oil using HPLC and also HPLC/MS, but they discovered that carefully monitoring certain aspects of the distillation methods resulted in even higher levels of boswellic acids. Now Young Living’s Middle East distillation facility is located in Salalah, Oman, so that as soon as frankincense resin is gathered it is quickly distilled.

Gary Young & Dr Suhail at Young Living Oman DistilleryDoug: Fascinating. From this information anyone should be able to realize pretty quickly that when one chooses the right species of resin and uses timely and expert distillation, a frankincense essential oil that is both pure and contains measurable bioactive boswellic acids really becomes a certainty. This fact is doubly important to understand as it directly relates to the Liquid Gold presenter’s other dubious conclusion – namely, the assertion that the sample labeled ‘doTerra Frankincense’ which they label as originating from the Boswellia frereana species of frankincense containing no boswellic acids, was actually an indicator of purity and proper distillation, and further proved his original premise that all boswellic acids are lost in the steam distillation process.

Analysis of Boswellic Acid Content in doTerra Boswellia FrereanaNow, knowing what our audience now knows about frankincense distillation and boswellic acids, one can certainly realize, as did we, that there must be another explanation based on scientific fact – namely, that the reason that the sample labeled ‘doTerra Frankincense’ originating from the Boswellia frereana species of frankincense contained no boswellic acids – is because boswellic acids are not present in the source, Boswellia frereana resin material, to begin with. In other words it is impossible to lose something that one never had in the first place.

Boswellia frereana resinKaren: Yes Doug, that explanation is well-supported by our research. I should clarify that while boswellic acids are found in the resin and oil of many Boswellia species, African Boswellia carteri, Omani Boswellia sacra, and Indian Boswellia serrata; chemists have pointed out that they are not found in the resin of all frankincense species. For example the resin of the frankincense species known as Boswellia frereana contains none. So for this presenter to say that the boswellic acids that are not detected in this assay shows that it was properly distilled and pure as the boswellic acids were lost, is not accurate (as you’ve already stated). If this was indeed Boswellia frereana as the bottle is labeled, the boswellic acids were not in the sourced resin material in the first place, therefore they couldn’t be lost in the distillation process! The fact that Boswellia frereana and subsequently its oil contain no boswellic acids is supported by several 3rd-party credible sources in addition to our own research.

Study: Phytotherapy Research, Boswellia frereanaA study done by researchers at Cardiff University in Wales, UK, and published in the Journal Phytotherapy Research, wrote that “although Boswellia frereana has the genealogy of the Boswellia species, little is known about the bioactive ingredients, except that it is devoid of the alpha and beta boswellic acids that are characteristics of the other family members.

Journal of Chromatography A study on six boswellic acidsNext there was a study in The Journal of Chromatography A that revealed “the six boswellic acids [and they’re all tongue-twisters so I’m just going right to the rest of the quote] are typical ingredients in frankincense from Boswellia carteri, Boswellia sacra, and Boswellia serrata but not in Boswellia frereana.”

ChromaDex analysis of Boswellic acids in Young Living and doTerra frankincenseDoug: Okay to reiterate, when we’re viewing this original assay one need not make a reckless assumption basing it on this information that we’ve just reviewed that the Young Living Frankincense and Sacred Frankincense essential oil samples in this assay have been altered. There is, indeed, ample scientific data to explain the levels of boswellic acids in this assay as a natural result of proper resin selection, knowledgeable distillation, and appropriate testing. As the age-old story goes, those who live in glass houses should not throw stones! We suggest that the presenters of the Liquid Gold presentation do a more thorough search of available scientific literature and employ a more complete battery of essential oil analysis before falsely suggesting that Young Living would adulterate the purity and integrity of their products.

Regrettably, the points we’ve just clarified are not the only ones from the Liquid Gold presentation that need to be addressed. Next we will take the opportunity to bring forward further scientific research that illuminates a couple of related points that will further assist seekers of genuine legendary frankincense essential oil who may have been duped by other misinformation presented in this Liquid Gold presentation and in connection with the presenter’s Boswellia frereana oil products.

Boswellia frereana does not come from OmanThe next research we will present will address the repeated claim in the Liquid Gold presentation and in many other communications that this company’s Boswellia frereana essential oil is genuine Omani frankincense. This is very important to establish since throughout history and still to this day, the frankincense actually grown in Oman has had a reputation for being the most

Young Living Frankincense Oil Boswellia carteri and sacraPrized frankincense trees, producing the highest-grade resin, the one reserved for royalty. Many historians and botanists believe it very likely that the frankincense given to the Christ child was either the prized Boswellia carteri species of African origin or the more highly prized Boswellia sacra of Arabian origin. We should clarify that when Young Living states the specific origin of an essential oil, we are referring to the place where the plant that produced the oil actually grows.

growing regions for Boswellia Sacra, carterii and frereanaIf this is also what our presenters intend with their Omani claims, there are serious reasons to doubt that their Boswellia frereana frankincense oil has been produced from trees grown in Oman; the reason being simply that this particular species of frankincense, Boswellia frereana, does not grow in Oman and never has. Young Living knows this through multiple visits and on-site research in Oman, and by collaborating with Omani botanists.

HK Lin study on frankincenseKaren: You know, Doug, there are many different sources that can help establish this fact that is so widely acknowledged by other scientists and researchers. HK Lin and his colleagues wrote this in a recent study; they said “There are numerous species and varieties of frankincense trees including Boswellia serrata in India, Boswellia carteri in East Africa and China, Boswellia frereana in Somalia, and Boswellia sacra in Arabia; each producing a slightly different type of resin.”

Study: Journal of Chromatography A origins of frankincense typesAnother quote we have is from the Journal of Chromatography A; this study states “Frankincense is the oleo-gum-resin obtained from trees of the genus Boswellia (family Burseraceae) native to India (Boswellia serrata), Africa (Boswellia carteri, Boswellia frereana), and the Arabian Peninsula (Boswellia sacra).”

Ermias Dagne Boswellia frereana frankincenseThen there’s a quote from the Ethiopian chemistry professor Ermias Dagne, where he listed several Boswellia species including “Boswellia frereana … known only from Somalia.” In the 2005 Journal of Chromatography A study, researchers wrote “The habitat of the Boswellia frereana tree is restricted to north Somalia from near sea level up to 1,000 meters.” A 2009 study in Phytotherapy Research reported that “there are no reported studies on the efficacy of Boswellia frereana which is indigenous to Somalia.

Royal Botanical Garden Frankincense frereanaNext there’s the study by Nigel Hepper, who was formerly Director of the Herbarium and Royal Botanical Garden in Kew, England. He said “Boswellia frereana grows in the coast region of Somalia.

Royal Botanical Garden Boswellia sacra frankincenseNext, speaking of this Royal Botanical Garden in Kew, Omani national and frankincense researcher Mahmoud Suhail, MD, of Salalah, Oman, has said “Boswellia sacra is the only frankincense species native to Arabia, as the Royal Botanical Garden at Kew, England confirms.”

Plants of Dhofar book on Boswellia sacra frankincenseAnd lastly here is a word from botanists who have specialized on the plant life in Oman; they state that only one Frankincense species grows in Oman – Boswellia sacra. In their well-referenced book, Plants of Dhofar, they don’t even list Boswellia frereana. I have the book; I’ve looked through it, and Boswellia frereana is not in Plants of Dhofar. On page 78 the authors, Anthony G. Miller of the Royal Botanic Gardens of Edinburgh, and Miranda Morris, PhD, state “Several species of Boswellia including Boswellia papyrifera (from tropical northeast Africa), Boswellia frereana (from Somalia), and Boswellia serrata (from India), produce an oleo-gum-resin which is exploited as the frankincense of commerce – the different species each producing a distinctive type and quality of resin. Only one species, Boswellia sacra, is found in Arabia.”

I would also like to mention that in addition to the research that we’ve just reviewed that Gary Young and several other Young Living science supply chain and research personnel, myself included, have visited all of the areas that we’re discussing and personally examined the trees and the distribution process.  This is why we don’t need to mislabel postcards from Omanto show the frankincense trees from whence our resin has been gathered. We can give you an eyewitness account with images that we’ve taken with our own cameras, having met personally some of the researchers whose work you’re about to read. In short, to call a Boswellia frereana product genuine Omani frankincense is simply not true.

Doug: Karen, thank you for making that abundantly clear! Now that last study you mentioned, the research you mentioned from the Plants of Dhofar, really says it all to me. The sentence that stood out to me was “exploited as the frankincense of commerce.” That was referring to all the different frankincense species that are traded, sold, and shipped in Oman, of which there are many. Now if one was to refer to all of these Frankincense resins that are traded commercially as Omani frankincense simply because they can be found in the Omani marketplace, well it seems like the very description of Omani frankincense would lose its significance altogether. However, the authors of this book make it very clear in stating that only one species, Boswellia sacra, is native to Oman and hence the true Omani frankincense must be the Boswellia sacra variety.

compare Boswellia sacra, carterii and frereana treesKaren, I think it’s important to remind everyone that it’s not our intent to cast aspersions on the Boswellia frereana frankincense species. It is what it is and we know that it is certainly imported into Oman. Our Young Living research partner, Dr. Suhail, has explained to us that Boswellia frereana is a favorite among the locals when they use it for chewing and that is in part responsible for the Omanis’ beautiful teeth. We do, however, want to make it very clear that we take exception to those who try to sell the frereana species as something it is not, and through these activities mislead the public to believe that it has the same therapeutic activity, phytochemical profile, and historical reputation as other frankincense products when in fact this particular species is absent all three.

Karen: You know those three areas – therapeutic activity, phytochemical profile, and historical reputation – are all key areas that Gary and the Young Living team explore with regard to any oil, and they are particularly significant with frankincense. The two frankincense species that Young Living offers stack up well in each of these three key areas. A desire that Gary has for frankincense is to offer the same elite grade and exact type as spoken about in ancient and Biblical references, likely offering the same precious species and substance that was given to the Christ child. All of the research points to this very likely originating from one of the two frankincense species, either Boswellia carteri out of Africa or Boswellia sacra from Oman. This is based on their historical reputations in addition to their modern scientific realities as verified through clinical trials and extensive laboratory analysis. In the process of investigating the many frankincense options Young Living investigated Boswellia frereana but it was not chosen to be a Young Living oil simply because it contains fewer of the health benefits found in other Boswellia species.

studies on Boswellia sacra, carterii, frereana frankincenseIf you look at the number of studies conducted on African and Arabian frankincense species, one sees quickly that frereana is at a distinct disadvantage. A search of the National Library of Medicine (PubMed) on their website as of February 2012 shows the following studies for each of these Frankincense species: Boswellia carteri, 31 studies; Boswellia sacra, 6 studies; Boswellia frereana, there is 1 study that is on a health benefit.

Doug: It occurs to me that the likely reason frereana was not chosen as the focus of more scientific investigation is based on the fact that it is well stated in scientific literature that frereana lacks the more widely-recognized therapeutic potency of other frankincense species. We’ve already shown how it’s been well documented that both the resin and subsequently the essential oil of Boswellia frereana is devoid of what most scientists consider the key active ingredients, boswellic acids.

Additionally, let’s review a few other key areas; specifically a 2011 study by Omani and Saudi researchers who noted that the antiseptic activity exhibited by the methanolic extracts of Boswellia sacra from the Suqotra and Dhofar regions was greater than that of Boswellia frereana collected from Somalia. The Boswellia frereana collected from Somaliashowed lower activity compared with the two other Boswellia species. Now finally, and this point is particularly important as the presenter for Liquid Gold even mentioned, this constituent as a key component in Frankincense resin and oil that could be responsible for its very renowned and desirable psychoactive and mood-enhancing effects. A study in 2008 examined this phytochemical known as incensole acetate. We can confirm that the presenter of Liquid Gold’s assessment of the therapeutic potential of boswellic acids was right; incensole acetate appears to have some promising research supporting its therapeutic potential. However we must also mention that several studies point out that it has not been detected in the Boswellia frereana frankincense species! One important study points out that frereana also contains lesser amounts of a desirable group of compounds called sesquiterpenes.

Study: Phytochemistry Boswellia frereana frankincenseThis was confirmed in a 2005 study in the journal Phytochemistry. The researchers there reported that “although Boswellia frereana olibanum contains very similar monoterpenes to olibanum from Boswellia carteri, sacra, or serrata, it is very poor in sesquiterpenes and it contains none of the biomarker diterpenes cited previously. Boswellia frereana olibanum is devoid of the diterpenes of the incensole family.”

Dr. Arieh Moussaieff in Israel with Marc SchreuderNow we should also mention that incensole has been identified at varying levels in Young Living Frankincense. In fact to better understand this compound, Young Living researcher Marc Schreuder on a recent trip to the Middle East went to great lengths to meet with the Israeli researcher Dr. Arieh Moussaieff.

Lastly, let’s explore more fully this question of historical origin. We’ve already confirmed that the legendary ancient and genuine Omani frankincense must come from the Boswellia sacra species; that is the only species that grows in Oman! But Karen, your research uncovered another interesting findings in regard to clues that can help us establish which of the many Boswellia species was most prized in ancient times.

Karen: I ran across several studies by the French researchers that just about took my breath away. Carole Mathe is the lead author of these studies, and we’ve already discussed her 2004 research that states how Boswellia frereana is different from other frankincense species because boswellic acids cannot be detected in it.

study of archeological Frankincense resin from YemenNow we will look at her study of archeological Frankincense resin from Yemen. Mathe and her colleagues have done HPLC and GC/MS analyses of ancient frankincense that was recovered from the ancient seaport in Qana,Yemen. During the 2009 Frankincense Trail tour photographer Jeff Osler and I were sent by Gary Young to Qana to document this important frankincense shipping seaport.

Sacred Frankincense from Qana, YemenThis is a beautiful, beautiful port right on the gorgeous Arabian sea. There was once a lighthouse on the cliff to guide ships into the harbor. Storage facilities were near the lighthouse, high up on the volcanic cliffs.

Qana, Oman archaeological dig siteThe French scientists tested four samples of nearly 2,000-year-old frankincense uncovered in an incense burner and in the temple stairway in the site’s sanctuary, and also from the frankincense warehouse that was excavated by the Russian archeologist Alexander Sedov atop the cliffs.

Qana, Oman archaeological study on Boswellia carteri and sacraThey compared these four ancient samples with the modern-day Boswellia species carteri, sacra, serrata, and frereana. Mathe and her colleagues state in their research paper, “According to the geographical situation of the site of these archeological samples, Boswellia serrata growing in India can be excluded; also Boswellia frereana, whose chemical composition is characterized by the prevalence of 3- epi-lupeol, which boswellic and lupeolic acids and derivatives are not detected. So the triterpenic resins analyzed correspond certainly to the species Boswellia carteri or Boswellia sacra.” Imagine that through scientific analyses, researchers were able to test ancient samples of frankincense and prove by the very compounds contained in the samples by HPLC and GC/MS testing that the ancient frankincense shipped from Qana to the world was not serrata, it was not frereana, but it was either carteri or sacra. Truly this precious Sacred Frankincense is the One Gift, as Gary Young has written in his novel.

frankincense comparison summaryDoug: That is fascinating indeed. And before we leave this topic, let’s quickly sum up what has been presented regarding the therapeutic and historical realities of Boswellia frereana as compared to the Boswellia sacra and carteri species.


1. Frereana’s antiseptic effect is less than that of Boswellia sacra from Oman and Yemen.
2. Frereana is reported to be lower in sesquiterpenes than carteri and sacra.
3. Frereana contains NO BOSWELLIC ACIDS.
4. Frereana is reported to NOT contain any of the neuroprotective diterpenes of the incensole family.
5. Historical evidence points strongly towards carteri or sacra as being the prized frankincense of ancient and Biblical times.

In conclusion we hope you feel how passionate we are about correcting these false accusations that have been made against us. We reiterate that they are invariably false and we are confident that the many documented facts presented here will help those who have been misled to understand this reality at a much deeper level, and ultimately to know better where they should place their trust when it comes to essential oils.

Now how will those who have wrongfully accused us react to the facts presented here? Perhaps we will see some adjustments to their own frankincense offering or, better said, their frankincense story, as they attempt to bring themselves more fully in line with the stark realities of the body of scientific evidence. Or will we see them continue to attempt to twist the facts in order to support their present story? No matter. No matter their future course; we believe this instance has gone a long way to show us who they really are, specifically in regard to their level of expertise and what lies at the heart of what they value as a company. In respect to that I would ask consumers to consider this warning from the poet Maya Angelou; this has become one of my favorite quotes: “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.”

When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first timeNow to those who have unwittingly purchased Boswellia frereana frankincense essential oil under false pretenses, we invite you to turn your attention to Young Living’s two species-specific Frankincense essential oils. You can rest assured that they are genuine, pure, and effective, and that this has been carefully verified from seed to seal.

We also encourage you to take advantage of an open invitation to attend one of our many global events. We are constantly traveling, meeting people face-to-face, placing pure Young Living oils in their hands and helping them experience the Young Living difference for themselves. In addition to these activities, we are proudest of the singular opportunity we have to invite health and wellness seekers to come to our many global farms, there are six of them and counting; the four distilleries that we have on three different continents; and our multiple production facilities and laboratories. Gain a personal eyewitness for yourself of our industry-leading seed to seal process.

Again we thank you for listening and commend you for your desire to discover the truth. On behalf of myself, Karen, and the rest of the Young Living team we wish you Godspeed in your quest for health and happiness. Good day.

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