Frankincense and Human Civilization: A Historical Review

  • Ahmed Al-Harrasi
  • Abdul Latif Khan
  • Sajjad Asaf
  • Ahmed Al-Rawahi


Humans throughout history and all over the globe have recognized, gathered and used plant-produced resins. The resins and the trees that produce them have played major roles in shaping human activities, cultures and civilizations. Their impacts extend beyond cultural and spiritual uses, jobs, income and trade or individual wellbeing to national or state stability, economics and external relations. Frankincense is a case in point that exemplifies these vital roles and impacts on human civilization. Frankincense was traded from the Arabian Peninsula and Somaliland to the rest of the known world through land and sea routes ranging from Dhofar (in Oman), Qarn (in Yemen) and Saukin (in Ethiopia) to the Persian, Greek, Babylonian, Chinese and Mesopotamian empires. The ancient use of frankincense ranged from cultural to religious, medicinal and economic purposes.


Frankincense History Civilization Trade Religious Medicine 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ahmed Al-Harrasi
    • 1
  • Abdul Latif Khan
    • 1
  • Sajjad Asaf
    • 1
  • Ahmed Al-Rawahi
    • 1
  1. 1.University of NizwaNizwaOman

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