Frankincense – 21st Century Challenges and Opportunities

Boswellness–in collaboration with Somcable, Omaar Int’l, Mount Kenya University (MKU) and Centre for Frankincense Environmental and Social Studies (CFESS)–is pleased to announce a conference assessing 21st Century Challenges and Opportunities. This Somali-led conference, the first of its kind, will take place October 7 & 8, 2017, in Hargeisa, Somaliland, bringing together scientists, sociologists, harvesters, land owners, business owners and other stakeholders. The focus of the conference is supporting research and education for sustainable frankincense production. We are very excited about it!

Myrrh Uses

We don’t post enough about myrrh. Here you go!

What Is Myrrh? What Are Myrrh Uses?

In the horn of Africa, a small native tree, covered in spines, grows in the arid deserts. When the bark is wounded through to the sapwood, the tree exudes an aromatic, oily, yellow oleo gum resin that eventually hardens into a hard yellow-reddish opaque globule that can be easily harvested. The resin has an evocative smell and has been widely used in ceremonies and as medicine. As a result, people have been intentionally wounding and harvesting from the myrrh tree since antiquity. Continue reading “Myrrh Uses”

It Costs How Much?!!

As many of us in the industry are aware, fragrance oils masquerading as essential oils are rampant. But forget the “industry”. Of course WE know, that’s our job. The people I want to get this message to are the consumers. Consumers of “all-natural” beauty products, “pure” essential oils, “wild crafted” oils, “organic” (notice I didn’t write “certified organic”) oils….these are the people that I want to share this information with. Most consumers are shelling out extra money for natural, organic, wild-crafted, whatever it may be, because they want the real health benefits that these plants offer. Continue reading “It Costs How Much?!!”

This Is More Than Just Distilling

I really want to talk about our connection to the source of our frankincense and myrrh, Somaliland, and how it is truly the foundation of our business. Part of our mission statement reads: “Reinvesting in the harvesting communities and paying the harvesting families a fair price is at the core of our business.”

I’m always struggling with how to let people know our mission is not just lip service (without sounding preachy), but something we are constantly working towards as we go about our business. Every decision made is done so with that one sentence in mind. We have this crazy idea that business can actually do so much good when it’s not solely focused on the bottom line. Not to say that profit isn’t important (or there would be no business), but reinvesting in the health and longevity of the local community is just as (if not more so) important. Continue reading “This Is More Than Just Distilling”

The Adventure Of A Lifetime (For Me)!

Mahdi and I enlisted two partners (and friends), Billy and Casey, early on in our business who shared our passion for creating a socially responsible business. The four of us decided that we needed to travel to Somaliland to meet with the harvesters of the frankincense. We wanted to understand how this resin was obtained, meet the people who had been doing it for centuries upon centuries, and build a bridge from Somaliland to Vermont, so to speak. Mahdi and I had planned on meeting our two partners in Hargeisa, and we set out on our adventure…the long way. We decided to fly into Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and drive from there to Hargeisa, Somaliland. This drive across East Africa was hands down the most eye opening, amazing adventure for a girl from Maine who had never set foot in Africa before. Especially since we took public buses the whole way. The unbelievable landscapes, the kind people, the dusty winding roads, the mechanical problems, the “sand tornados” in the vast desert, the pesky baboons, the curious stares at the lone American girl…all of it made for a truly unforgettable experience. Continue reading “The Adventure Of A Lifetime (For Me)!”

Business ‘Cense

Sniffing out a new enterprise in essential oils

OK, so we all know what gold is, but what the heck is frankincense? Myrrh is even more of a mystery. Two of the three gifts brought by the Magi to a certain newborn king leave most of us scratching our heads, wondering if perhaps the Bethlehem baby got stuck with a couple of booby prizes.

A new Burlington-based business suggests otherwise. The three partners in Ismael Imports are taking frankincense and myrrh from Somaliland and turning it into valuable essential oils purported to calm stress, combat asthma and arthritis, and even inhibit the proliferation of leukemia cells.

“There’s a reason why the three wise men brought frankincense and myrrh to Jesus,” says Mahdi Ismael Ibrahim, the 37-year-old Muslim who runs the company with business partners Casey Lyon, 29, and Bill Lanzetta, 30. “Nobody thinks about what’s behind it, but it was to clean; they could burn it and clear out disease.” Continue reading “Business ‘Cense”