Frankincense and Myrrh essential oils
Frankincense and myrrh essential oils are certified organic from resin sustainably harvested by registered and trained Samburu women collectors in north Kenya. The Boswellia Neglecta and myrrh trees are not tapped or harmed as the resin exudes naturally from the trees. The essential oil from the steam distilled frankincense resin is characterized by alpha-pinene, alpha-thujene and terpinen-4-ol and has a fruity balsamic Odour. Myrrh essential oils are from two Commiphora species: Commiphora kua and Commiphora kataf.
The arid lands of north Kenya make up approximately 60% of the total land mass area of Kenya. The climate is hot and dry, perennial rivers are few and the area is unsuitable for agriculture. Livestock husbandry is the main source of income for the pastoralist communities who have herds of goats and camels and move with their herds according to the availability of pasture.
A large proportion of the vegetation of these arid lands are species from the Burseraceae family – Commiphora and Boswellia and these are the main producers of frankincense and myrrh resins, naturally exuding from the bark of the trees. Frankincense, in Kenya, is produced from Boswellia neglecta and Commiphora confusa and myrrh like gums are produced from Commiphora myrrha ,Commiphora holtziana, Commiphora kataf and Commiphora kua.
The resins of frankincense and myrrh from these trees are a potentially important source of income for the pastoralist communities. Arbor Oils of Africa began the initiative of organically certifying frankincense and myrrh in several pastoralist areas in northern Kenya. This has opened the possibility of using this resource in a sustainable manner, and giving the pastoralist communities an alternative source of income to livestock husbandry. It has created an awareness of the possibility of earning an income from the natural vegetation and with it an appreciation of the value and desire to protect a natural resource.
The gums are transported to the distillation plant on the slopes of Mt. Kenya and steam distilled to produce the varieties of organic Kenyan frankincense and myrrh essential oils.