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Fragrant gumresin obtained from trees of the genus Boswellia (family Burseraceae), particularly several varieties found in Somalia, Yemen, and Oman. This important incense resin was used in ancient times in religious rites and in embalming. It constituted part of the Jewish incense of the sanctuary and is frequently mentioned in the Pentateuch; it was one of the gifts of the magi to the infant Jesus. It is used today in incense and fumigants and as a fixative in perfumes.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on frankincense, visit Britannica.com.