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Jasmine

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Botanical Name : Jasminum
Family: Oleaceae
Tribe: Jasmineae
Genus: Jasminum
ingdom: Plantae
Order: Lamiales

Common Name :Jasmine

Habitat:  Jasmine is native to tropical and warm temperate regions of Europe, Asia, and Africa. Jasmines are widely cultivated for the characteristic fragrance of their flowers.

Description:
Jasmine is a genus of shrubs and vines in the olive family (Oleaceae). It contains around 200 species..It can be either deciduous (leaves falling in autumn) or evergreen (green all year round), and can be erect, spreading, or climbing shrubs and vines. Their leaves are borne opposite or alternate. They can be simple, trifoliate, or pinnate. The flowers are typically around 2.5 cm (0.98 in) in diameter. They are white or yellow in color, although in rare instances they can be slightly reddish. The flowers are borne in cymose clusters with a minimum of three flowers, though they can also be solitary on the ends of branchlets. Each flower has about four to nine petals, two locules, and one to four ovules. They have two stamens with very short filaments. The bracts are linear or ovate. The calyx is bell-shaped. They are usually very fragrant. The fruits of jasmines are berries that turn black when ripe.

CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES….>….(1).…..(2)…….(3)..……

The basic chromosome number of the genus is 13, and most species are diploid (2n=26). However, natural polyploidy exists, particularly in Jasminum sambac (2n=39), Jasminum flexile (2n=52), Jasminum primulinum (2n=39), and Jasminum angustifolium (2n=52).

Edible Uses:
Jasmine tea :Jasmine tea is consumed in China, where it is called jasmine-flower tea. Jasminum sambac flowers are also used to make jasmine tea, which often has a base of green tea or white tea, but sometimes an Oolong base is used. Flowers and tea are “mated” in machines that control temperature and humidity. It takes four hours or so for the tea to absorb the fragrance and flavour of the jasmine blossoms, and for the highest grades, this process may be repeated as many as seven times. It must be refired to prevent spoilage. The spent flowers may or may not be removed from the final product, as the flowers are completely dry and contain no aroma. Giant fans are used to blow away and remove the petals from the denser tea leaves…....CLICK & SEE

In Okinawa, Japan, jasmine tea is known as sanpin cha .

Jasmine syrup: Jasmine syrup, made from jasmine flowers, is used as a flavouring agent….CLICK & SEE

Medicinal Uses:
Constituents: The essential oil of J. grandiflorum contains methyl anthranilate, indol, benzyl alcohol, benzyl acetate, and the terpenes linalol and linalyl acetate.

As essential oil is distilled from Jasmine in Tunis and Algeria, but its high price prevents its being used to any extent.

Jasmine has been used for medicinal purposes for thousands of years. In southern and southeastern Asia, jasmine flowers are worn by women as hair decorations.

The applications of lotions made from jasmine flowers to skin problems like sunburns and rashes have been widely noted. The juices of the flower are said to restore the skin’s moisture and elasticity, reducing the appearance of wrinkles and giving the skin a healthier look and feel.

In Cochin-China, a decoction of the leaves and branches of JASMINUM NERVOSUM is taken as a blood-purifier. The very bitter leaves of JASMINUM FLORIBUNDUM (called in Abyssinia, Habbez-zelim), mixed with kousso, is considered a powerful anthelmintic, especially for tapeworm; the leaves and branches are added to some fermented liquors to increase their intoxicating quality.

Although rarely used in Western medicine, a jasmine flower syrup for coughs and lungs was once made.  The flowers make a tea that calms the nerves and increases erotic feelings. Steep two teaspoons of flowers per cup of water for 20 minutes.  The dose is a quarter cup, four times a day.  The East Indians do use it, chewing the leaves to heal mouth ulcers and softening corns with the juice.  They also make a leaf tea to rinse sore eyes and wounds and use it as a remedy for snakebite. In traditional Chinese medicine states that jasmine clears the blood of impurities.  Headaches and insomnia have been relieved with a tea made from the root along with pain due to dislocated joints and rheumatism. .  The oil of the leaf is rubbed on the head to heal the eyes.  The flowers of J. officinale var. grandiflorum are used to treat hepatitis, liver cirrhosis and dysentery; the flowers of J. sambac are used for conjunctivitis, dysentery, skin ulcers and tumors.

Aromatherapy:
The largest usage of jasmine can be found in aromatherapy. In this field, jasmine is said to have a calming, relaxing effect. In addition, the scent of the flower is said to help sufferers of depression find relief. Another field where jasmine finds a large market is essential oils. Jasmine as an essential oil has many beneficial uses.

It is used as an anti-depressant, aphrodisiac, and even as a medicine to help users sleep better. In fact, in India jasmine is said to be such a good aphrodisiac, the bride and groom’s bedroom are decorated with it for their wedding night.

Different flowers are used for different things, of course. Jasmine is no different

Other Uses:
Jasmine essential oil:  Jasmine is considered an absolute and not an essential oil as the petals of the flower are much too delicate and would be destroyed by the distillation process used in creating essential oils. Other than the processing method it is essentially the same as an essential oil. Absolute is a technical term used to denote the process of extraction. It is in common use. Its flowers are either extracted by the labour-intensive method of enfleurage or through chemical extraction. It is expensive due to the large number of flowers needed to produce a small amount of oil. The flowers have to be gathered at night because the odour of jasmine is more powerful after dark. The flowers are laid out on cotton cloths soaked in olive oil for several days and then extracted leaving the true jasmine essence. Some of the countries producing jasmine essential oil are India, Egypt, China and Morocco….CLICK & SEE

Jasmine scent has been reported to have sedative properties.

Jasmine absolute used in perfume and incense:
Many species also yield an absolute, which is used in perfumes and incense. Its chemical constituents include methyl anthranilate, indole, benzyl alcohol, linalool, and skatole

Jasmonates:
Jasmine gave name to the jasmonate plant hormones as methyl jasmonate isolated from the jasmine oil of Jasminum grandiflorum led to the discovery of the molecular structure of jasmonates

Cultural importance:
The White Jasmine Branch, painting of ink and color on silk by Chinese artist Zhao Chang, early 12th centuryMadurai, the Southern district of Tamil Nadu, is famous for the Jasmine production. In the western and southern states of India, including Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, and Tamil Nadu, jasmine is cultivated alongside other flowers in private homes, within gardens or as potted plants. These flowers are used in regular worship at home as well as for hair ornaments (for the girls and women of the house). Jasmine is also cultivated commercially, for both the domestic purposes discussed above and other purposes (such as use in the perfume industry). It is used in rituals like marriages, religious ceremony, and festivals. In the Chandan Yatra of lord Jagannath, the deity is bathed with water flavored in sandalwood paste and jasmine.

Jasmine flower vendors selling ready-made garlands of jasmine, or in the case of the thicker motiyaa (in Hindi) or mograa (in Marathi) varietal, bunches of jasmine, as well as flowers by weight, are a common sight on city streets in many parts of India. They may be found around entrances to temples, on major thoroughfares, and in major business areas (including bus stands). This is common as far north as Mumbai, and generally from Maharashtra southward through all of South India. Jasmine vendors may also be found in Kolkata, though roadside sales are fewer there, since in North India women and girls generally, by tradition, do not wear flowers in their hair….CLICK & SEE

A change in presidency in Tunisia in 1987 and the Tunisian Revolution of 2011 are both called “Jasmine revolutions” in reference to the flower. Jasmine flowers were also used as a symbol during the 2011 Chinese pro-democracy protests in the People’s Republic of China.

In Syria, jasmine is the symbolic flower of Damascus, which is called the City of Jasmine. In Thailand, jasmine flowers are used as a symbol for motherhood.

“Jasmine” is also a feminine given name in some countries.

Jasmine as a national flower:
Several countries and states consider jasmine as a national symbol. They are the following:

*Hawaii: Jasminum sambac (“pikake”) is perhaps the most popular of flowers. It is often strung in leis and is the subject of many songs.

*Indonesia: Jasminum sambac is the national flower, adopted in 1990. It goes by the name “melati putih” and is the most important flower in wedding ceremonies for ethnic Indonesians, especially in the island of Java.

*Pakistan: Jasminum officinale is known as the “chambeli” or “yasmin”, it is the national flower.

*Philippines: Jasminum sambac is the national flower. Adopted in 1935, it is known as “sampaguita” in the islands. It is usually strung in garlands which are then used to adorn religious images.

Disclaimer:
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jasmine

Jasmine


http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/j/jasmin06.html

http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_IJK.htm

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Herbs & Plants

Lavender.

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Botanical Name :Lavandula spp
Family: Lamiaceae
Subfamily: Nepetoideae
Tribe: Lavanduleae
Genus: Lavandula
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Lamiales
Syn.  : Lavandula angustifolia,   :Lavandula  officinalis

Common name : Lavender.

L. stoechas, L. pedunculata and L. dentata were known in Roman times. From the Middle Ages onwards, the European species were considered two separate groups or genera, Stoechas (L. stoechas, L. pedunculata, L. dentata) and Lavandula (L. spica and L. latifolia), until Linnaeus combined them. He only recognised five species in Species Plantarum (1753), L. multifida and L. dentata (Spain) and L. stoechas and L. spica from Southern Europe. L. pedunculata was included within L. stoechas.

By 1790 L. pinnata and L. carnosa were recognised. The latter was subsequently transferred to Anisochilus. By 1826 Frédéric Charles Jean Gingins de la Sarraz listed 12 species in three sections, and by 1848 eighteen species were known.

One of the first modern major classifications was that of Dorothy Chaytor in 1937 at Kew. The six sections she proposed for 28 species still left many intermediates that could not easily be assigned. Her sections included Stoechas, Spica, Subnudae, Pterostoechas, Chaetostachys and Dentatae. However all the major cultivated and commercial forms resided in the Stoechas and Spica sections. There were four species within Stoechas (Lavandula stoechas, L. dentata, L. viridis and L. pedunculata) while Spica had three (L. officinalis (now L. angustifolia), L. latifolia and L. lanata). She believed that the garden varieties were hybrids between true lavender L. angustifolia and spike lavender (L. latifolia).

More recently work has been done by Upson and Andrews, and currently Lavandula is considered to have three subgenera.
Subgenus Lavandula is mainly of woody shrubs with entire leaves. It contains the principal species grown as ornamental plants and for oils. They are found across the Mediterranean region to northeast Africa and western Arabia.
Subgenus Fabricia consists of shrubs and herbs, and it has a wide distribution from the Atlantic to India. It contains some ornamental plants.
Subgenus Sabaudia constitutes two species in the southwest Arabian peninsula and Eritrea, which are rather distinct from the other species, and are sometimes placed in their own genus Sabaudia.

In addition there are numerous hybrids and cultivars in commercial and horticultural usage

Habitat :Lavender is native to the Old World and is found from Cape Verde and the Canary Islands, southern Europe across to northern and eastern Africa, the Mediterranean, southwest Asia to southeast India. Many members of the genus are cultivated extensively in temperate climates as ornamental plants for garden and landscape use, for use as culinary herbs, and also commercially for the extraction of essential oils. The most widely cultivated species, Lavandula angustifolia is often referred to as lavender, and there is a colour named for the shade of the flowers of this species.

Description:
Lavender is an annual or short-lived herbaceous perennial plant, and suffrutescent perennials, subshrubs or small shrubs.

Leaf shape is diverse across the genus. They are simple in some commonly cultivated species; in others they are pinnately toothed, or pinnate, sometimes multiple pinnate and dissected. In most species the leaves are covered in fine hairs or indumentum, which normally contain the essential oils.

click to see the pictures……>.……(01)...(1)...(2).…..(3).…(4)..…...(5).....(6)

Flowers are borne in whorls, held on spikes rising above the foliage, the spikes being branched in some species. Some species produce coloured bracts at the apices. The flowers may be blue, violet or lilac in the wild species, occasionally blackish purple or yellowish. The calyx is tubular. The corolla is also tubular, usually with five lobes (the upper lip often cleft, and the lower lip has two clefts).

Cultivation:
The most common form in cultivation is the common or English lavender Lavandula angustifolia (formerly named L. officinalis). A wide range of cultivars can be found. Other commonly grown ornamental species are L. stoechas, L. dentata, and L. multifida (Egyptian lavender).

Because the cultivated forms are planted in gardens worldwide, they are occasionally found growing wild as garden escapes, well beyond their natural range. Commonly such adventitious establishment is apparently harmless at best, but in some cases Lavandula species have become invasive; for example, in Australia Lavandula stoechas has become a cause for concern; it occurs widely throughout the continent, and has been declared a noxious weed in Victoria since 1920.  It also is regarded as a weed in parts of Spain.

Lavenders flourish best in dry, well-drained, sandy or gravelly soils in full sun.[10] All types need little or no fertilizer and good air circulation. In areas of high humidity, root rot due to fungus infection can be a problem. Organic mulches can trap moisture around the plants’ bases, encouraging root rot. Gravelly materials such as crushed rocks give better results

Edible Uses:
It is grown as a condiment and used in salads and dressings.  Flowers yield abundant nectar from which bees make a high-quality honey. Monofloral honey is produced primarily around the Mediterranean, and is marketed worldwide as a premium product. Flowers can be candied and are sometimes used as cake decorations. Lavender flavours baked goods and desserts (it pairs especially well with chocolate), and is also used to make “lavender sugar”. Lavender flowers are occasionally blended with black or green teas, or made into tisanes.

click to see

Though it has many other traditional uses in southern France, lavender is not used in traditional southern French cooking. It does not appear at all in the best-known compendium of Provençal cooking, J.-B. Reboul’s Cuisinière Provençale In the 1970s, a herb blend called herbes de Provence usually including lavender was invented by spice wholesalers, and lavender has more recently become popular in cookery.

Lavender lends a floral and slightly sweet flavour to most dishes, and is sometimes paired with sheep’s-milk and goat’s-milk cheeses. For most cooking applications the dried buds (also referred to as flowers) are used, though some chefs experiment with the leaves as well. Only the buds contain the essential oil of lavender, from which the scent and flavour of lavender are best derived.

In the United States, both lavender syrup and dried lavender buds are used to make lavender scones and marshmallows.

Parts Used: Flowers, leaves and stems

Constituents:  volatile oil (up to 1.5%, containing linabol, linalyl acetate, lavendulyl acetate, terpinenol, cineole, camphor, borneol, pinene, limonene), tannins, coumarins (coumarin, umbelliferone, hemiarin), flavonoids, triterpenoids, rosmarinic acid

Medicinal Uses:
Acne * Air Fresheners * Anxiety * Aromatherapy * Beauty * Burns * Candida/yeast * Children * Colds * Culinary/Kitchen * Cuts & Wounds * Depression * Ear * Facial Care * Fibromyalgia * Headache/Migraine * Hypertension * IBS * Insect Repellent * Insect/flea Bites * Lice * Lupus * Nausea * Pet * Pregnancy/Childbirth * Skin Care * Sleep/Insomnia

Properties: * Analgesic * AntiCancer * Antifungal * Antioxidant * Antiperspirant/Deodorants * Antirheumatic * AntiViral * Aromatic * Cardiac tonic Cordial * Cholagogue * Cicatrisant * Cytophylactic * Diaphoretic/sudorific * Diuretic * Emmenagogue * Hypotensive * Insect repellents * Muscle Relaxant * Nervine * Parturient * Sedative * Splenic * Vermifuge * Vulnerary

The essential oil was used in hospitals during World War I.

Lavender has some powerful properties for such a gentle, sweet smelling flower. Lavender can lift your spirits, help you sleep, relieve pain, kill germs, heal burns and rashes, and help keep annoying insects at bay.

In the evening lavender comes into its own, the relaxing and sedative aroma of lavender has an almost immediate effect as soon as it hits the sensitive membranes inside your nose.  Duke, 138-139  Soaking in a lavender scented bath relaxes away mild depression and anxiety and may even lower high blood pressure.  129  Regular lavender baths are recommended throughout a woman’s pregnancy.  Gladstar, 36

Clinical trials confirm the conventional wisdom that lavender relaxes the body in the presence of pain, most likely by reducing anxiety levels. A calm mental state makes pain more bearable, lessening it’s impact by reducing the perception of pain. 130,131 Massage with lavender oil at tender trigger points reduces the pain and tension of fibromyalgia in long term sufferers. Weed 51  Lavender combines well with the analgesic power of rosemary to relieve all types of pain: arthritis, sore muscles, and nerve pain. Lavender can also be used in a massage oil to relieve the pain and arthritic stiffness older dogs, (but not cats). Worwood 173

Lavender is well regarded for it’s skin healing properties as well. It’s effectiveness in treating burns was first discovered by French biochemist René Gattefossé when he cooled his hand in a handy vat of lavender after burning it in a lab accident. This storied burn healed so quickly, and without scarring, that it is often cited as a seminal event in the birth a modern aromatherapy.  Balch 89  To make a all purpose remedy for scalds, burns, and sunburns: apply a cloth wet with witch hazel, then apply a few drops of lavender essential oil directly to the burn.

A recent clinical study investigated anxiolytic effects and influence on sleep quality. Lavender oil with a high percentage of linalool and linalyl acetate, in the form of capsules, was generally well tolerated. It showed meaningful efficacy in alleviating anxiety and related sleep disturbances.

Lavender may be very effective with wounds; however, Lavender Honey (created from bees feeding on lavender plants), instead of lavender essential oil has the best effects of uninfected wounds.

Other Uses:
Flower spikes are used for dried flower arrangements. The fragrant, pale purple flowers and flower buds are used in potpourris. Lavender is also used extensively as herbal filler inside sachets used to freshen linens. Dried and sealed in pouches, lavender flowers are placed among stored items of clothing to give a fresh fragrance and to deter moths. Dried lavender flowers have become recently popular for wedding confetti. Lavender is also popular in scented waters and sachets.

The ancient Greeks called the lavender herb nardus, after the Syrian city of Naarda (possibly the modern town of Dohuk, Iraq). It was also commonly called nard. The species originally grown was L. stoechas.

Lavender was one of the holy herbs used in the biblical Temple to prepare the holy essence, and nard is mentioned in the Song of Solomon

*nard and saffron,
*calamus and cinnamon,
*with every kind of incense tree,
*with myrrh and aloes,
*and all the finest spices.

During Roman times, flowers were sold for 100 denarii per pound, which was about the same as a month’s wages for a farm laborer, or fifty haircuts from the local barber. Its late Latin name was lavand?rius, from lavanda (things to be washed), from the verb lav?re (to wash). The Greeks discovered early on that lavender if crushed and treated correctly would release a relaxing fume when burned.

In medieval times powdered lavender was used as a condiment.

In the past, lavender has been used as a folk remedy for numerous conditions, including acne, cancer, colic, faintness, flatulence, giddiness, migraine, nausea, neuralgia, nervous headache, nervous palpitations, poor appetite, pimples, rheumatism, sores, spasms, sprains, toothache, vomiting and worms.  Lavender salts have been employed for centuries as a stimulant to prevent fainting; lavender oil vapor is traditionally inhaled to prevent vertigo and fainting. A compound tincture of lavender (also known as Palsy Drops) was officially recognized by the British Pharmacopoeia for over 200 years, until the 1940s.  Used to relieve muscle spasms, nervousness, and headaches, it originally contained over 30 ingredients.  Tests show that lavender’s essential oil is a potent ally in destroying a wide range of bacterial infections, including staph, strep, pneumonia, and most flu viruses. It is also strongly anti-fungal.  A lavender-flower douche is an effective treatment for vaginal infections, especially candida-type yeast infections.  Lavender ointments are rubbed into burns, bruises, varicose veins, and other skin injuries.  The straight oil is dabbed on stops the itching of insect bites.

Known Hazards:
Lavender oil can be a powerful allergen, and it is also recommended that it should not be ingested during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

The volatile oils in lavender can be very hard on the liver and kidneys of cats and dogs so no internal use of the herb is suggested for our animal friends.

In vitro, lavender oil is cytotoxic. It increases photosensitivity as well. Lavender oil is cytotoxic to human skin cells in vitro (endothelial cells and fibroblasts) at a concentration of 0.25%. Linalool, a component of lavender oil, may be its active component. Aqueous extracts reduced mitotic index, but induced chromosomal aberrations and mitotic aberrations in comparison with control, significantly. Aqueous extracts induced breaks, stickiness, pole deviations and micronuclei. These effects were related to extract concentrations.

However, according to a 2005 study “although it was recently reported that lavender oil, and its major constituent linalyl acetate, are toxic to human skin cells in vitro, contact dermatitis to lavender oil appears to occur at only a very low frequency. The relevance of this in vitro toxicity to dermatological application of lavender oils remains unclear.”

In terms of phototoxicity, a 2007 investigative report from European researchers stated that, “Lavender oil and sandalwood oil did not induce photohaemolysis in our test system. However, a few reports on photosensitivity reactions due to these substances have been published, e.g. one patient with persistent light reaction and a positive photo-patch test to sandalwood oil.”

In 2007, a study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine which indicated that studies in human cell lines indicated that both lavender oil and tea tree oil had estrogenic and antiandrogenic activities. They concluded that repeated topical exposure to lavender and tea tree oils probably caused prepubertal gynaecomastia in some boys.[28] The Aromatherapy Trade Council of the UK has issued a rebuttal, and it is also disputed by the Australian Tea Tree Association, a group that promotes the interests of Australian tea tree industry

Disclaimer:
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lavandula
http://www.anniesremedy.com/herb_detail31.php

http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_LMN.htm

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Boswellia thurifera

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Botanical Name :Boswellia thurifera
Family: Burseraceae
Genus: Boswellia
Species: B. serrata
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Sapindales

Common Names:   Boswellia (Frankincense) , Olibanum, Indian Frankincense, Arabic Frankincense, and Salai guggal

Habitat: Boswellia thurifera  is native to  Arabia, East Africa (particularly Oman, Socotra, Somalia)

Description:
Frankincense is tapped from the small drought-hardy Boswellia trees by slashing the bark, which is called striping, and allowing the exuded resin to bleed out and harden. These hardened resins are called tears. There are several species and varieties of frankincense trees, each producing a slightly different type of resin. Differences in soil and climate create even more diversity of the resin, even within the same species.

click to see the pictures……..(01).…(1).…....(2).……..(3)..……..(4).……....(5).……...

Boswellia Sacra trees are considered unusual for their ability to grow in environments so unforgiving that they sometimes grow out of almost solid rock. Attachment to the rock is accomplished by a bulbous disk-like swelling of the trunk. This feature is slight or absent in trees grown in rocky soil or gravel. The tears from trees growing on rock are considered superior for their more fragrant aroma.

The trees start producing resin when they are about eight to 10 years old. Tapping is done two to three times a year with the final taps producing the best tears due to their higher aromatic terpene, sesquiterpene and diterpene content. Generally speaking, the more opaque resins are the best quality. Fine resin is produced in Yemen and along the northern coast of Somalia, from which the Roman Catholic Church draws its supplies.

Recent studies have indicated that frankincense tree populations are declining, partly due to over-exploitation. Heavily tapped trees produce seeds that germinate at only 16% while seeds of trees that had not been tapped germinate at more than 80%. In addition, burning, grazing, and attacks by the longhorn beetle have reduced the tree population.[4] Conversion (clearing) of frankincense woodlands to agriculture is also a major threat

Quality:
Frankincense comes in many types, and its quality is based on color, purity, aroma, age, and shape. Silver and Hojari are generally considered the highest grades of frankincense. The Omanis themselves generally consider Silver to be a better grade than Hojari, though most Western connoisseurs think that it should be the other way round.[citation needed] This may be due to climatic conditions with the Hojari smelling best in the relatively cold, damp climate of Europe and North America, whereas Silver may well be more suited to the hot dry conditions of Arabia.
click to see Frankincense
Local market information in Oman suggests that the term Hojari encompasses a broad range of high-end frankincense including Silver. Resin value is determined not only by fragrance but also by color and clump size, with lighter color and larger clumps being more highly prized. The most valuable Hojari frankincense locally available in Oman is even more expensive than Somalia’s Maydi frankincense derived from B. frereana (see below). The vast majority of this ultra-high-end B. sacra frankincense is purchased by His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said the ruler of Oman, and is notoriously difficult for western buyers to correctly identify and purchase.

Currently, there are two dissertations which may enable the identification of a few Olibanum species according to their specific secondary metabolism products

Chemical constituents:
These are some of the chemical compounds present in frankincense:

*”acid resin (56 per cent), soluble in alcohol and having the formula C20H32O4″

*gum (similar to gum arabic) 30–36%

*3-acetyl-beta-boswellic acid (Boswellia sacra)

*alpha-boswellic acid (Boswellia sacra)

*4-O-methyl-glucuronic acid (Boswellia sacra)

*incensole acetate

*phellandrene

Medicinal Uses:
Frankincense is used in perfumery and aromatherapy. The essential oil is obtained by steam distillation of the dry resin. Some of the smell of the frankincense smoke are products of pyrolysis.

Frankincense is used in many Christian churches including the Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox and Catholic churches. According to the gospel of Matthew 2:11, gold, frankincense, and myrrh were among the gifts to Jesus by the biblical magi “from out of the East.” The Judaic, Christian and Islamic faiths have used frankincense mixed with oils to anoint newborn infants and individuals.

Conversely, the growth of Christianity depressed the market for frankincense during the 4th century AD. Desertification made the caravan routes across the Rub’ al Khali or “Empty Quarter” of the Arabian Peninsula more difficult. Additionally, increased raiding by the nomadic Parthians in the Near East caused the frankincense trade to dry up after A.D. 300.
click to see Boswellia sacra tree, from which frankincense is derived, growing inside Biosphere 2

Traditional medicine:
Frankincense resin is edible and is used in traditional medicines in Asia for digestion and healthy skin. For internal consumption, it is recommended that frankincense be translucent, with no black or brown impurities. It is often light yellow with a (very) slight greenish tint. It is often chewed like gum, but it is stickier.

In Ayurvedic medicine Indian frankincense (Boswellia serrata), commonly referred to as “dhoop,” has been used for hundreds of years for treating arthritis, healing wounds, strengthening the female hormone system and purifying the air. The use of frankincense in Ayurveda is called “dhoopan”. In Indian culture, it is suggested that burning frankincense daily in the house brings good health

Frankincense essential oil:
The essential oil of frankincense is produced by steam distillation of the tree resin. The oil’s chemical components are 75% monoterpenes, sesquiterpenes, monoterpenoles, sesquiterpenols, and ketones. It has a good balsamic sweet fragrance, while the Indian frankincense oil has a very fresh smell. Contrary to recent claims, steam or hydro distilled frankincense oil does not contain any boswellic acid as these components (triterpenoids) are non-volatile and too large to come over in the steam distillation process. The chemistry of the essential oil is mainly monoterpenes and sesquiterpenes with small amounts of diterpenoid components being the upper limit in terms of molecular weight.
click to see Olibanum resin.
Perfume:
Olibanum is characterized by a balsamic-spicy, slightly lemon, fragrance of incense, with a conifer-like undertone. It is used in the perfume, cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries.

Medical Research:
For therapy trials in ulcerative colitis, asthma and rheumatoid arthritis there are only isolated reports and pilot studies from which there is not yet sufficient evidence of safety and efficacy. Similarly, the long-term effects and side effects of taking frankincense has not yet been scientifically investigated. Nonetheless, several preliminary studies have been published.
click to see the picture of  FrankinsenceEssOil
A 2008 study reported that frankincense smoke was a psychoactive drug that relieves depression and anxiety in mice. The researchers found that the chemical compound incensole acetate was responsible for the effects.

In a different study, an enriched extract of “Indian Frankincense” (usually Boswellia serrata) was used in a randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled study of patients with osteoarthritis. Patients receiving the extract showed significant improvement in their arthritis in as little as seven days. The compound caused no major adverse effects and, according to the study authors, is safe for human consumption and long-term use.

In a study published in 2009, it was reported that “Frankincense oil appears to distinguish cancerous from normal bladder cells and suppress cancer cell viability.”

A 2012 study in healthy volunteers determined that exposure to 11-keto-?-boswellic acid (KBA), a lead boswellic acid in the novel solubilized frankincense extract Boswelan, is increased when taken with food. However, simulations based on a two-compartment pharmacokinetic model with single first-order absorption phase proposed that the observed food interaction loses its relevance for the simulated repeated-dose scenario.

In a 2012 study, researchers found that the “behavioral effect [of insensole actetate] was concomitant to reduced serum corticosterone levels, dose-dependent down-regulation of corticotropin releasing factor and up-regulation of brain derived neurotrophic factor transcripts IV and VI expression in the hippocampus. These data suggest that IA modulates the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal (HPA) axis and influences hippocampal gene expression, leading to beneficial behavioral effects supporting its potential as a novel treatment of depressive-like disorders

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frankincense
http://unitproj.library.ucla.edu/biomed/spice/index.cfm?displayID=28
http://www.anniesremedy.com/herb_detail25.php

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