This or That: All About Frankincense Carterii, Frereana, and Serrata

What's the difference between Edens Garden Frankincense essential oils? It’s hard to pinpoint the main differences between the three varieties of Frankincense we offer. Many aromatherapists agree that though the chemistry differs between them, the therapeutics are very much the same. The outstanding difference between our Frankincenses tends to be in their aroma. But rather than leaving it at that, we’d like to go a little deeper and give those of you wondering which Frankincense to choose from a bit of direction. Rooted in rich history, and valued by myriads of cultures, there is much to learn about one of our favorite essential oils.


The most well known and used Frankincense of the three we offer is our Frankincense Carterii essential oil. Besides its intoxicatingly smooth, and relaxing aroma, Frankincense Carterii has a knack for charming users with its many therapeutic properties. This oil is high in alpha-pinene, and other monoterpenes, making it a great immune support. Frankincense Carterii has many benefits towards the skin, such as reducing the appearance of mature skin and scars due to its ability to repair skin cells. The respiratory system can also benefit from Frankincense, as it aids acute colds and asthma. The aroma of Frankincense Carterii is what most people are familiar with, and is commonly used in making natural incense or resin burning. It has a deep, rich, grounding aroma that touts the ability to quiet the mind, support focus, and encourage tranquility.


Though both Frankincense Frereana and Frankincense Carterii are sourced from the mountainous regions of Somalia, Frankincense Frereana is typically grown at a higher altitude, giving this oil a unique chemical makeup. This variety of Frankincense is high in pinene, thujene, and cymene, giving this oil great anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antispasmodic, and analgesic properties. This oil is your go-to for relieving inflammation caused by arthritis, swelling, and allergies. Frankincense Frereana would also be a good addition to local pain blends. What’s commonly notable about this oil’s aroma, is its citrus-lemon top notes and earthy, resinous Frankincense heart.


It is believed that, because it is the oldest documented Frankincense, Frankincense Serrata may be the Frankincense referred to in the Bible and Ayurvedic medicine. Frankincense Serrata is high in natural constituents called alpha thujene, alpha-pinene, and limonene. These components belong to the monoterpenes chemical family, lending Frankincense Serrata to being a powerful antiseptic, decongestant, and anti-inflammatory agent. You may want to choose Frankincense Serrata when you’re in need of a deodorizer, or air purifier. This oil is also commonly used during meditation and as an anointing oil. The Frankincense resin from which it is produced is soft, sticky, and rich in oil. Because Frankincense Serrata yields a higher amount of essential oil, it is less expensive than our other Frankincenses which don’t yield as much oil. Its aroma is sweeter and more delicate, with terpenic-pine top notes.


Frankincense resin, from which the essential oil is distilled, is extracted by stripping the bark of a Frankincense tree. The resin then bleeds out a sappy, resinous substance, which dries to heal the tree. The tree itself tends to grow in rocky soil, and even in rocks to prevent itself from being uprooted during a storm. Frankincense continues to astound us with its amazing characteristics and abilities, which is why we’re proud to offer this oil in its purest form, sharing its benefits with everyone!  

Tags: this or that


These comments were contributed by customers without influence from Edens Garden. The opinions expressed in these comments are 100% the authors' own and do not reflect the views or opinions of Edens Garden.

  • DeAnna says...

    carterii or sacara smells like heaven to me. The serrata has a different type of scent. It is not nearly as appealing.

  • Edens Garden says...

    Hi candee! We don’t recommend casual ingestion, but as far as applying Frankincense topically for headaches, you might try either one or a combination of the two. Be sure to dilute

  • candee says...

    I’ve been reading how Frankinsence relieves Migraine headaches applied under tongue, roof of mouth or topically applied to temples, forehead and back of neck some mention Serrata others Carteri what do you recommend or are both just as effective ??

    Thank you

  • Edens Garden says...

    Hi Ico! Aroma is subjective, so it’s difficult to say which one will smell the most like a catholic church to you. You might try our Frankincense & Myrrh synergy blend or Frankincense sacra

  • Edens Garden says...

    Hi Beth! We don’t recommend casual ingestion of essential oils

Leave a comment