Myrrh

Myrrh (Commiphora myrrha) and frankincense (Boswellia spp.), Both small trees or shrubs of the botanical family Burseraceae. Their natural growing range is limited, but this has been extended by cultivation, and the current supplies are adequate to meet worldwide demand. Today, most of the internationally-traded myrrh and frankincense are produced in the southern Arabian peninsula (Oman, Yemen) and in northeast Africa (Somalia). Most resin (whether myrrh or frankincense) is obtained by tapping: making deliberate incisions with a specially designed tool or ordinary axe, about 2 inches long, into the bark of the tree. The milky liquid that exudes hardens on exposure to air into droplets or "tears," which are then easily detached by the collector about two weeks later. The resin is stored for about 12 weeks to harden. The only processing undertaken after collection is sorting and grading of the resin globules, usually done by the local merchant to whom it is sold rather than the collector.