Frankincense is prepared from the gum of several species of Boswellia (Burseraceae) trees and shrubs native to the Arabian peninsula and North Africa. The incense is the gummy resin which can naturally ooze from the plant or cuts may be made to stimulate oozing. Milky at first, the resin dries into clear, hard drops which are harvested about two months after coming from the plant.
Resin is clear and hard but turns white as it rubs against other pieces. The resin has several uses in addition to incense. It is used in small quantities to flavor certain candies and baked goods and also as a medicine to stop bleeding and is a common commodity in Middle East markets where incense is highly valued by local people. Despite the demand, all harvest is from native plants. Most of the frankincense is still carried by camel caravan from remote places in the Arabian peninsula and North Africa to market. Frankincense is one of the most highly valued natural products of the region and its harvest has reduced the population of trees and shrubs.
The formula given in Exodus 30 does not mention any quantities, only relative ratios of ingredients, all of which were to be in equal proportion. Salt was to be added. The purpose for adding salt is not clear.
Frankincense and Incense References