Chemical Variation in Essential Oils from the Oleo-gum Resin of Boswellia carteri: A Preliminary Investigation

Chem Biodivers. 2018 Jun;15(6):e1800047. doi: 10.1002/cbdv.201800047. Epub 2018 Jun 10.


Frankincense, the oleo-gum resin of Boswellia species, has been an important element of traditional medicine for thousands of years. Frankincense is still used for oral hygiene, to treat wounds, and for its calming effects. Different Boswellia species show different chemical profiles, and B. carteri, in particular, has shown wide variation in essential oil composition. In order to provide insight into the chemical variability in authentic B. carteri oleoresin samples, a hierarchical cluster analysis of 42 chemical compositions of B. carteri oleo-gum resin essential oils has revealed at least three different chemotypes, i) an α-pinene-rich chemotype, ii) an α-thujene-rich chemotype, and iii) a methoxydecane-rich chemotype.

Keywords: Boswellia carteri; chemotypes; frankincense; gas chromatography/mass spectrometry; hierarchical cluster analysis.

MeSH terms

  • Boswellia / chemistry*
  • Cluster Analysis
  • Oils, Volatile / chemistry
  • Oils, Volatile / isolation & purification*
  • Resins, Plant / chemistry*


  • Oils, Volatile
  • Resins, Plant