Frankincense is the dried gum of the frankincense tree. Luban clearly comes the Arabic al-luban meaning ‘the milk’ which refers to the colour of the highest quality frankincense, which is milky tree sap which exudes from the cut bark of the frankincense tree and allowed to dry onto the tree before it is collected. By that time it is a hard resin. It comes in different shades which depend on the season in which it is gathered. It is whiter in autumn, and gets darker as the season changes to spring. It can be a pale lemon colour, or pale green and pale or dark amber. It is harvested two or three times a year and the best frankincense comes from young trees.
Frankincense is the very scent of Oman, deeply entrenched in the culture, burned as incense in homes and offices, added to perfumes, and used for medicinal purposes to ease everything from inflamed joints to congestion and anxiety. People even chew frankincense to freshen their breath and strengthen their teeth