If you are in the Western world, you likely know the tale of the Three Wise Men who brought gifts for the baby Jesus. The value of gold is still obvious today, but while people have heard of myrrh and frankincense, most don’t know what they were for, or why anyone would bring them all that distance to give to a newborn.

Frankincense and myrrh are fragrances that were quite valuable at the time and just as impractical for a baby as gold – but they are also still big business today, though not quite as valuable as gold. Just in Ethiopia, frankincense is a 4,000 ton per year industry. One Boswellia papyrifera tree from which the resin for frankincense is harvested will typically yield about 200g per year.

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