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Botanical Name: Styrax benzoin

Form: Two ounces of powdered benzoin resin

Folklore: Benzoin gum has been traditionally used for purification and offerings, mostly in the form of incense. Benzoin incense is used for blessing and purifying In a tonsure ritualof the Malays people - a ritualilzed hair cutting of a devoted holy person who is renouncing their association with modern cultural fashions and esteems (such as monks). The incense was also one of the traditional incense offerings at a kramat. Malay Magic, by Walter William Skeat, states a kramat is "applied to a man or woman, may be roughly translated prophet or magician...Malays call a man kramat who is able to get whatever he wishes for, who is able to foretell events, and whose presence brings good fortune to all his surroundings...When...applied to a place, I understand it to means holy place, a place of pilgrimage."

The incense was also offered in the fields before sowing to ensure prosper harvest. Traditionally the bunch 'soul' plants (healthiest female) was taken from previous season. Seven stems are clipped an are called the "soul of the plant" (originally rice).Then another handful is clipped and referred to as the 'mother-seed'for the following year. The 'soul plant' is wrapped in a white cloth,tied to a cord of bark, and shaped into the shape of a small child in swaddling clothes, then placed in a small basket. The 'mother-seed' is put into another basket, where both are then fumigated with the smoke of benzoin incense. The two baskets are put together and taken home where they are then stored. There is more to this ritual, as it is done over time...but this is the basic start, and the role of the benzoin in this ritual was for purification purpose. Later, more benzoin incense is addeed to the mother-seed as an offering [for prosperity from agricultural harvest].

Herb Description: The Stryax benzoin tree is native to Indonesia/Southeast Asia, especially common among the Sumatra forests, and is related to the bay laurel, sassafras, and camphor trees. Some other common names include the Gum Benjoin Tree, Kemenyan (Indonesia and Malaysia), Onycha, Lubān Jāwi (Arabic, meaning "frankincense of Java [and island in Indonesia]), and the Sumatran Benzoin Tree. The word benzoin most likely comes from the Middle French 'benjoin', from which the name Benjamin comes from. The benzoin tree is most known for its balsamic resin (sometimes called gum benjamin). When harvested, the bark is incised from a triangular cutting, allowing for a good flow of the reson. Like other resins, it will harden when exposed to the sunlight and air around the tree. The resin (which flows out from a pale yellow and conforms to a reddish-brown substance - the resin), is then powdered, where it becomes more of pale white in color. The resulting powder is most commonly used in medicine, and as a fixative and/or aromatic for some incenses and perfumes. "Tincture of Benzoin" was a traditional tincture was used for it's antioxidant properties, as an astringent, against warts (especially when used with Podophyllum peltaltum, which is a common native American remedy for removing warts), and for upper respiratory infections/bronchitis, coughs and colds. The tincture is also an effective expectorant, carminative, diurectic, and mild stimulant. Traditional Chinese Medicine associates benzoin with the heart, liver, and spleen meridians. The properties are spicy and bitter, and the main function is to increase the flow of qi (pronoucned chi, meaning life energy) and blood, especially of obstructions. The typical dose is between 0.3-1.5 grams of extract or tincture. Can also be applied externally as a poutlice to treat skin ulcers and infections.

There is little-to-no flavor in benzoin resin, but when friction (heat) is applied, a strong and beautiful fragrance becomes present. The aroma of benzoin gum has been compared to a vanilla-creme scent, and often employed in incenses (especially in some Russian churches). There is another form of benzoin called sambrani, or sambraani. This is a well-known Indian incense which has been used to treat conditions in the hair, and to prevent infections. Do not mistake Benzoin Sumatra (what we are providing) with Benzoin Siam (Styrax tonkinensis) - this is the difference of two Styrax species. As a fixative in incenses and perfumes, benzoin allows for the slow release of fragrances, especially with essential oils (which only last for a short time in the air without the use of a fixative).

Storage: Store in air-tight jar away from heat, direct sunlight, moisture, and any ignitive sources. Can store for a minimum of two years. With proper storage, benzoin can last significantly longer.

Origin: Indonesia

Quality: KSA Certified

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All information on this page is for educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

The Fox's Glove is not responsible for the misuse or results of how our customers use their herbs once purchased. It is up to the customer to properly research the herbs and their safety before using and/or ingesting them.

Benzoin Gum, 2 oz., Kosher (powder)

Overview

  • Materials: powder, resin, gum, benzoin, incense, herb, plant, garden, tree
  • Feedback: 1101 reviews
  • Ships from Pennsylvania, United States to select countries.
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