Frankincense Grinding me to a fine powder in an old brass mortar

 200 year old Brass mortar and pestle. Courtesy Bat Sheva Sharaabi.

200 year old Brass mortar and pestle. Courtesy Bat Sheva Sharaabi.

I have been a bad blog daddy and written nothing here for far too long. Besides my usual travails and struggles through the dark of the sun and dark of the moons that go with it yearly, I have spent too much time  (now almost 2 weeks!!), working on the Frankincense “anti-aging” crème, and trying to write a page about my St. John’s Wort Oil with an introduction to “Astrodynamics”. An attempt that recently led me to realize I must devote a separate post or page to each. Back to the drawing board again! Many many re-writes, but on the bright side, much material from which to draw on for a final draft.

The new batch of Frankincense crème is coming along. Smooth, creamy, fragrant and moisturizing beautifully. However, with it have come new challenges and tests. My vision for years has been to create a sublimated product from the whole Frankincense resin. Not just a crème that includes store-bought Frankincense essential oil, anyone can do that. I chose to pursue this first by creating a water/oil emulsion, a lotion, so I could fully utilize the resin, essential oils and the water based gum present in the crude tree sap.. This opened a new set of challenges and can of worms.

There are unavoidable consequences and requirements when it comes to supporting the water portion of any emulsion. It must be preserved in some way to keep, and be useful for an extended period of time.  As soon as one introduces water into a formula, one has created a perfect petri dish in the equation. There are many life forms competing for dominion over our little Frankincense pool, determined to fulfill their life mandate of self perpetuation and proliferation, that drastic measures are called for. Some of these visitors are benign and simply mar the look of the lotion through time, but some are quite scary and physically dangerous to us higher life forms.

frankincense tree

frankincense tree (Photo credit: Alexbip)

My hope was to use the naturally present essential oils and resins to preserve this creme, along with some natural antioxidants and skin nourishing oils that would keep the other oils from rancidity. Many of the healing ingredients in this crème are at the same time, anti-fungal, or anti bacterial, anti microbial, anti-oxidant,or anti viral, but the quantities needed for them to be functional full spectrum preservatives in a water based formula, makes them unsafe on the skin.

Frankincense tree (Oman)

If I reduce the proportion of water to resins and oils, (using only a very small amount of water to dissolve and incorporate the gum part of the frankincense), I may find a solution, but time is needed to explore this option. No quick answers here. There are some cosmetic cremes on the market that boast having no artificial preservatives, but I don’t know how  accurate their claims are. What length of shelf life they offer. Or  how they manage this. This too requires more research. ……Time.

My apologies to all my Guinea pigs waiting for this lotion here at home and abroad. I will indeed keep and test this water based Frankincense “anti-aging” Creme formula, but it will be with a minute percent of “Liquid Germall Plus” added to it for everyone’s safety until I can perfect a formula which requires no added “artificial” preservatives such as my regular oil/resin formulas. It is easily researched on the web for your own edification, and for those to whom 0.1%-0.5% is an acceptable amount to apply to their skin, I will happily deliver a quantity for their feedback.

Meanwhile I have separated gum, or water-soluble parts of some Frankincense and some Myrrh, and will use this pure oil/resin as a base for a water-less “serum”. I will continue working on it, and a lotion version that holds “less water”. Of course, I will let everyone know how they are coming.

,Thank You All for bearing with me!!

Call it working outside my comfort zone, exploring new territory, or call it growing pains, stretching my envelope, learning, or all the above really.

But in the end, it seems it is I that is being ground to a fine powder by the Frankincense!!  How cool is that!!!

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