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Frankincense Perfume May Be a Thing of the Past

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If you, like the newborn baby Jesus, are anticipating gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh this Christmas, you may be disappointed...at least where frankincense is concerned. A new study reports frankincense, and the tree it comes from, may be on the verge of becoming extinct.

Frankincense (pictured here in its raw form) is a scented tree resin most commonly found in Ethiopia, where the changing environment and the new corporate style of harvesting means the trees are dying off. According to a new scientific study, "production could be halved over the next 15 years and the trees could decline by 90 per cent in the next 50 years."

The aromatic "bitter perfume" is used in many religious rituals and often subs in for incense. But where you're most likely to find it in your city is in popular fragrances like Prada's Milano Infusion d'Iris and Illamasqua's Freak. Skincare brand REN has a night cream made with the stuff as well, so let's hope a Christmas miracle saves the frankincense trees.

· The Gift of the Magi Risks Being Lost Forever [SMH]