As we get ready for 2010 International Grand Convention and the premiere of my Frankincense Trail documentary, The One Gift, I want to share some of my experiences harvesting frankincense resin in the Middle East.
The process of collecting frankincense happens two times a year—once in the spring (March to May) and then in the fall (September to October). To harvest the resin, you have to take a little axe and chop the hardened resin crystals off the branches—but there’s a process that comes in the week before that. To begin the process, you cut the bark of the frankincense tree and then it allows the liquid resin to ooze out onto the external part. Then, when it hits the oxygen, it starts to crystallize and harden. Naturally, the longer it is left on the tree, the longer it is present in the oxygen and the harder it gets. It takes about a week before you can actually come back and cut it off as a hardened resin crystal. So this is a week to two-week process from when you go in and you cut the tree to when you come back and collect the crystal resin. Then the crystal resin goes into the distillery where it is crushed into powder, put into an oil bath, and steam distilled to extract the oil from the crystal resin.
This process produces different types of frankincense resins. The one that is very white is called Hojari. Now, when I was collecting frankincense years ago and they said “Hojari,” I thought they were being very friendly and saying, “How, Gary?” And I said, “With an axe.” But this was Hojari. There are actually five grades of frankincense resin. The first grade is brownish resin. It has a lot of bark particles in it, and that’s very commonly used because there’s more of it available. But the Hojari is what was selected just for the kings and queens because it was the purest of the frankincense.
I can’t wait to join you all June 16–19 in Salt Lake City where I can share more of my experiences from the Frankincense Trail. This is one Young Living convention you don’t want to miss!
D. Gary Young