Frankincense, an aromatic resin, has long played a role throughout history. For more than 6,000 years, it has been traded on the Arabian Peninsula, as well as used in religious rites throughout Mesopotamia and the Eastern Mediterranean. Even noted in the Bible, the Three Kings of Bethlehem presented a new-born Jesus with three gifts: gold, myrrh, and, of course, frankincense.
But what is it about the resin obtained from various species of Boswellia trees that has scientists reexamining its properties?
In a newly published paper in Nature Chemical Biology , LSU College of Science researchers Marcia Newcomer, Erin E. Schexnaydre, and Nathan Gilbert, along with colleagues from the University of Jena in Germany, have clarified the molecular mechanism behind an anti-inflammatory effect of a natural product found in the frankincense resin.