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Northern Somalia is the worlds largest producers of top quality frankincense gum. Many collectors and their families survive wholly or partly on incomes from collection. The gums come from the trees, Boswellia Carteri and Boswellia Frereana, which grow on rocky slopes and gullies making collection hazardous. The 2 gums are better known as Beyo (Olibanum) and Maydi. Maydi gum is not used medicinally. Considered by Arabs to be superior to all others, it is good for chewing and helps teeth, gums and breath. Beyo is burnt to fumigate and purify the home and has been used as a painkiller for centuries. Beyo tears in a solution are used for aches and infections such as stiffness of joints, ulcers, abscesses, insect bites, nausea, nosebleeds, coughing, stinging in eyes and earaches. It is also used to treat urinary, respiratory and digestive problems. Good for ageing skin, frankincense is also used in many cosmetic products and is known as an anti-wrinkle moisturiser.
Beyo gum is distilled to produce high quality oil used as a perfumery ingredient. As an aromatherapy oil it aids clear breathing, enhances spirituality and decreases anxiety. It has been proved to have various medicinal properties and is an anti-arthritic and anti-inflammatory. It is effective in boosting the immune system and can help treat skin problems and cystitis. The inhalation of steam laden with the volatile portion of the drug is said to relieve bronchitis and laryngitis.