Black frankincense Dakkara or Dakkar incense from Kenya (Boswellia Neglecta)

Boswellia Neglecta – The Rare Black Frankincense

Boswellia neglecta is a tree that is from the frankincense family of trees. B. neglecta is a species that is found abundantly in Kenya, with sparse presence in Ethiopia, Somalia, Tanzania, and Uganda. Like other frankincense species, B. neglecta tree is sought after for it’s aromatic gum-resin, which is known as Black Frankincense and “Dakkara” by the Kenyan natives. B. neglecta frankincense is used as incense, has value in perfumery for its unique aroma, and also has medicinal & cognitive properties.

Oleo-Gum Resin Description

B. Neglecta Black Frankincense samples gum resin pieces

The gum-resin of B. neglecta seeps out of the wounds & cuts on the tree and dries up on the area of injury, sealing the tree’s wounds. The dried gum-resin of B. Neglecta has a black, rocky appearance that reminds me of basalt. For large pieces of B. Neglecta resin, you will find that the interior of the gum is still quite sticky as the interior is basically “sealed” with moisture and essential oils when the outside of the gum-resin dries out.

Burning as an Incense

B. neglecta gum resin burning on hot coal with smokeWhen a piece of B. neglecta resin is placed on a hot coal to be burned as an incense, you’ll notice that it goes through several stages of burning. During the initial burning process, you’ll notice that there is a burst of inviting sweet aromas as the essential oil of the gum-resin is released. But later on in the burning process, the inviting aromas start to be replaced more and more with a charred smell of burnt wood. This undesirable change in smell happens because most of the essential oils are released from the resin at this point, and the gum content of the frankincense tear starts to burn up on the hot coal. Given that the scent put out later on is undesirable, you may want to stop the burning process of the resin when most of its desirable aromas or essential oils are released.

Indirect burning method

You may also try heating the B. neglecta gum-resin indirectly for a cleaner release of aromas; this is exactly what I do with Boswellia frereana resin. What I personally do is get a piece of frankincense, put it on a spoon, and underneath it light a lighter to gently boil the resin and thereby force out it’s exquisite aromas. Another benefit of my method of indirect burning is that I can heat up the resin for a short period of time, and save the rest for later for multiple uses. Although for the best experience, I would suggest using a small piece (originally or cut from a larger piece resin) all at once.

The Scent Profile of B. Neglecta

The smell of B. neglecta may have quite a bit of value in perfumery. For making perfumes, it is easier to work with the essential oil of B. neglecta than in it’s resinous form.

B. Neglecta does not have a feminine, bright fruity, floral smell to it. Instead, B. Neglecta has a dark, masculine scent that is reminiscent of the earthy & musty scent of leather. The aroma of B. neglecta has the warm balsamic scent of vanilla & amber, mixed in with a clean, refreshing scent of sweet camphor. When holding an open bottle of B. neglecta essential oil near my nose, I also detect woody undertones mixed with overtones of spicy cumin.

Composition of B. Neglecta

The Composition of B. Neglecta oleo-gum resin includes (but is not limited to) triterpenes such as canaric acid, a-amyrin, a- amyrone and epi-a-amyrin, and the essential oil[1].

Alpha and Beta Amyrin exhibits Anti-microbial, Anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory properties[2].

Essential Oil Composition of B. Neglecta

The major components[3] that make up the composition of B. neglecta essential oil includes:

  • α-Thujene (19.2%)
  • α-pinene (16.7%)
  • terpinen-4-ol (12.5%)
  • Limonene
  • p-cymene

Note that some of the therapeutic constituents of B. neglecta gum-resin will be missing in its essential oil. That means, in terms of aromatherapy & medicinal effect, B. neglecta gum resin is definitely different from it’s essential oil. In fact, a main active component called Incensole & Incensole acetate is usually  found in the gum-resin of the B. neglecta. But it is mostly absent in the essential oil if not enough time is given for it to be extracted in the distillation process. According to a professional essential oil distiller[4]:

Incensole acetate, which is a very important compound found in frankincense resin, only shows up after 11 hours of distilling with agitation and 15 hours without agitation.

So depending on the distillation process, it is quite possible that the essential oil of B. neglecta will be missing some of the therapeutic compounds like Incensole & Incensole acetate.

Properties, Effects, & Uses of B. neglecta

The properties and effects of B. neglecta include:

  • Analgesic (pain reliever)
  • Antifungal
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Antioxidant
  • Antiseptic
  • Astringent (Causing the contraction of body tissues, typically of the skin.)
  • Carminative (relieves flatulence.)
  • Digestive
  • Diuretic
  • Expectorant (A medicine that promotes the secretion of sputum by the air passages, used especially to treat coughs.)
  • Mosquito repellent (when burned)
  • Sedative
  • Tonic (A medicinal substance taken to give a feeling of vigor or well-being.)
  • Vulnerary (a substance used in the healing of wounds.)
  • Treating gonorrhea

In my experience, I found that the essential oil of Boswellia neglecta to be quite sedating, and promotes feelings of calm tranquility and peace. Because of these effects, B. neglecta may be useful for provoking a introspective state of deep thinking. B. neglecta is also useful for promoting deep, restful sleep. So insomniacs may find it useful as well.

Interestingly, the natives also chew the gum-resin of this tree. So I suppose it is somewhat edible?

Frankincense Neglecta oil when used externally, i.e. rubbed on the chest, acts as a decongestant and also helps relieve symptoms of anxiety & panic, heaviness and tightness of the chest, etc. Usually these symptoms appear when a person is moderately to severely stressed. I personally find that taking too much of stimulants like coffee, a lack of sleep, or overworking all lead to high amounts of stress and the symptoms associated with it. So if a person cannot directly address the root cause of the stressor, he or she might find some relief with B. neglecta.

Related Links

Related Articles

Where to Buy B. Neglecta Frankincense

Sources

  1. TRITERPENES FROM THE RESIN OF BOSWELLIA NEGLECTA [Chem Soc Ethiop]
  2. The Pentacyclic Triterpenes α, β-amyrins: A Review of Sources and Biological Activities [InTech]
  3. Essential oils of some Boswellia spp., Myrrh and Opopanax [Wiley Online Library]
  4. Part 15: Finding Pure Essential Oils [dgaryyoung.com]
  5. BOSWELLIA NEGLECTA- THE SURPRISING EFFECTS OF AN OLEO INFUSION [fairtradefrankincense.com]

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