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Aromatic Gums and Resins in Incense
Gum Acacia, Gum Arabic Acacia senegal, A.seyal from Arabia, Senegal and Somalia where it is called chaar gund, char goond, or meska. It is a natural edible gum made from the hardened sap of acacia trees. It has many uses including incense cones.
Gum Acaroidea, Gum Blackboy is an aromatic resinous gum from the Australian grass tree or Blackboy – a native plant of the genus Xanthorrhoea. Their trunks are filled with a powerful aromatic resin known as Blackboy Gum or Acaroid Gum.
Gum Agarwood, Aloeswood Aquilaria malaccensis sometimes known as jinko or oud is a rare and precious wood that is burned as incense and used as a perfume. Western and Oriental people enjoy its distinctive, calming aroma and spiritual influence in their meditations, but stocks of the wild resource have dwindled and the trees are now listed as potentially endangered.
Gum Amber – several fossilized resins are known as amber, with those from the northern hemisphere claiming to be the first known and those from the Baltic region the most prized. The resin originates from several species and some is produced commercially from the resins of the current New Zealand pine Amber or Kauri Gum is a Copal subfossil from the forests of kauri trees Agathis australis that covered the islands before white settlement.
Gum Ammonia is an aromatic gum from the damaged stems of the Ammonia tree Dorema ammoniacum. This occurs naturally through the bites of a beetle. Gum is a traditional adhesive for gilding and applying gold leaf after extensive filtering and preparation and was used by scribes in ancient times as it is used by artists and craftsmen today. Gum can be successfully applied to dry on various materials and surfaces. It has no remarkable fragrance, but was once considered sacred and used in incense in Libya in the worship of Jupiter.
Asafoetida gum from Iran and Afghanistan is used in food, medicine and perfume ingredients. In its raw state its odor is very unpleasant, but it can be used in food preparations to the advantage of those familiar with traditional preparations. Other uses are as animal bait for wolves and some fish; like a fly trap for moths. People use it in preparing a positive psychic field against evil influences.
Gum, Balsam of Gilead, Balsam of Mecca Commiphora gileadensis from the Mediterranean region and Arabia. Loved for its healing properties and sought after by kings and temple priests. There is considerable mystique attached to this substance and its magical properties.
Gum Balsam of Peru / Balsam of Tolu Myroxylon balsamum, M.peruiferum, Toluifera pereirae, is used in medicine and also in the preparation of incense and perfume. A reaction to balsam of Peru is used to indicate any allergic reaction to fragrance. It is a sticky aromatic harvested from the bark of the Myroxolon balsamum tree, a tree that is native to El Salvador. Its aroma is a mixture of vanilla and cinnamon with lemon tones and is in demand in the perfume business. It suits either stronger character perfumes or soft florals and provides a reliable fixer.
Gum Bdellium (Gum Guggal) Commiphora wightii, C. africana, C.stocksiana (Indian)
It is an aromatic gum that oozes from the tree. It is used as a perfume fixative and in the unique formulations of some perfumers. Known since ancient times with Theophrasts first to mention it as a thorn tree that produces resinous tears resembling myrrh. In China, bdellium, known as hsi hsiang or Parthian fragrant, was among the varieties of frankincense that reached China along the Silk Road.
Gum Benzoin, Gum Benjamin, Benzoin Tree, Styrax, Styrax benzoin This is a tree from Indonesia and Sumatra, the main source of benzoin resin. Its common names are also, Loban (Arabic) or Kemenyan in Indonesia and Malaysia. This resin, once commonly called Gum Benjamin, was used as a perfume, incense and medicine in the early Phoenician trade in the period before Christ. Legend has it that Styrax incense served to ward off snakes that interfered with the harvest. The resin is balsamic and is used in perfumes, incense and also in medicine. It has popular appeal due to its pleasant vanilla-type aroma and the fixing properties of the resin. It remains a major component of the Christian church’s type of incense.
Cedarwood Gum Cedrus libani Cedar of the Lebanon pine cone showing resin stains as used in the mummification process of the ancient Egyptians. For many hundreds of years the Cedar of Lebanon has been the national emblem of Lebanon. It is one of the most sacred trees, but it is currently suffering from the current conditions that threaten trees that have survived for centuries. It is believed that the resin directly gives strength to those who inhale and react to its fumes and influence.
Cistus gum, Gum labdanum Cistus ladaniferus or Pink rock is a species found in Spain that produces this sticky substance with a strong aromatic character. Once in great demand as an aromatic.
Copal gum Hymenaea courbaril, Bursena odorata is used in the manufacture of incense and to provide specific viscosity where industrial purposes require it. Copal is a name given to the aromatic tree resin that has a composition of unripened amber. The name copalli from the old Mayan language means incense and is still used as such by the indigenous people of Central America. Copal also grew in East Africa (the common species there is Hymenaea verrucosa.
Dammar gum comes from the Canarium strictum tree and is sometimes collected from the ground. It is used in foods as well as in incense and other preparations such as varnishing oil paintings when the gum is mixed with turpentine.
Dragon’s Blood Gum is gray or yellow resin from certain genera Shorea, Balancocarpus and Hopea obtained by tapping the trees. However, the bright red resin known as Dragon’s Blood comes from specific species of Croton, Dracaena, Daemonorops, Calamus and Pterocarpus. It is valued medicinally and has been used for centuries as an incense.
Elemi Gum The tropical Elemi tree, Canarium luzonicum, is native to the Philippines and produces a soft resin with a light, fresh, slightly spicy aroma with a hint of lemon. It is a pleasant room fragrance. its aroma has a harmonizing effect, especially suitable for meditation and visualization, helping to a state of deep peace without drowsiness.
Gum Frankincense, Olibanum Boswellia sacra, B. carteri produces a resin imported directly from Somalia. This is the most well-known and valued traditional aromatic resin used for centuries for its subtle influence to uplift the human spirit – whether through thought, devotion, prayer or meditation. It is the most preferred fragrance used as an oil or as a resin with a legend strongly associated with the Christ child and the gift from the Three Wise Men. The trees are heavily exploited and are not considered an endangered species.
Kauri Gum, New Zealand Amber, kauri gum from Agathis australis, like true amber, sometimes includes insects and plant material in early stages or in fossilized form. Other Kauri species also extract gum from heavy trunks or branches. Burning fumes are used in traditional healing practices and most species provide incense material.
Mastic gum resin from the Pistacia lentiscus tree is a transparent, lemon-white, teardrop-shaped natural resin known in ancient Greece, Egypt, and the Mediterranean region. It was a key ingredient in their ancient “Kyphi” recipes in creating a light, balsamic, fresh and mellow fragrance called “the fragrance that pleases the gods”. It is cleansing, clarifying and mentally refreshing. Mastic, as well as providing a subtle brain tonic, was used in embalming. In addition to its use in incense, it is used as chewing gum and also in foods. Mastic works well for meditation and reflection with its bright and radiant energy.
Gum Myrrh is the natural aromatic oleoresin from a small species of thorny trees of the genus Commiphora, myrrh and C. momol from Yemen and Ethiopia. The gum is yellow and can be clear or dark. It darkens deeply as it ages and white streaks appear. Myrrh was used in the religious rituals of the ancient Egyptians and was an ingredient in Ketoret, the holy incense of Jerusalem as recorded in the Hebrew Bible and Talmud. According to Christian legend, myrrh was a gift from the Three Wise Men to help Jesus overcome the pain that would follow his crucifixion. Myrrh is the medicine to relieve pain of many kinds. It is a common ingredient in incense used in healing rituals.
Opoponax Gum, Sweet Myrrh, Opopanax chironium The plant thrives in the warmer climates of Iran, Greece and Somalia, but is reasonably adapted to cooler climates, although the resin content is claimed to be inferior in quality. The highly flammable resin burns as incense has a balsamic scent similar to lavender. It is used in medicine to relieve spasms, asthma and hysteria. Legend has it that Opopanax was considered by King Solomon to be the noblest incense meat.
Imperial Opoponax is based on a blend of the sweet resinous aroma of opoponax mixed with the most noble oriental ingredients such as benzoin, sandalwood, amber and vanilla.
Gum Pine Resin refers to gum from a variety of coniferous or pine sources, including Pinus jefferyi from the USA and Pinus pinaster, P. palustris, P. sylvestris and P. halepensis a from Europe. Many resins are valued as ingredients in incense and perfumes. The English word originates from late 14th century Old French resin, from L. resina “resin”, from Greek Rhetine “pine resin”, of previously unknown origin. The gum is believed to hold the captured energy and vitality of the sun and represents powerful masculine traits and qualities. Resin has a wide range of practical applications.
Gum Sandarac, Gum Juniper comes from Callitris quadrivalcis in Africa and other conifers in Morocco and Australia. Tears of pale yellow resin are brittle and clear like amber. This is one of the oldest known therapeutic resins. It is used by artists and those who want work that requires a light yellow resin. It is a common ingredient in incense and men’s toiletry.
Sweetgum, Liquidambar formosana, L. Styrax, L. styraciflua The sap harvested from the Liquidambar tree hardens enough to be chewed as a healing gum, as is the custom of many people in South American states. The Chinese believe in its medicinal value and are aware of its subtle beneficial influence and precious aroma.
Gum Tragacanth from Astragalus gummifer is native to Iran. The natural dried sap of this and several other species, including A. adscendens, A. brachycalyx, and A tragacanthus, are sources of shiraz or dragon gum. This is highly valued as a remedy when applied externally for burns and traditionally for tumors. Modern research is exploring its antitumor properties and there are indications that it may stimulate the immune system. There is currently insufficient evidence for its full value in aromatherapy when applied in psychiatric practice.
Yerba Santa Gum, Gum Bush, Sacred Bush Eriodictyon glutinosum from California is aromatic and was once used medicinally to mask the taste of quinine. Yerba santa, which literally means holy herb in Spanish, has been used for centuries by Native Americans to treat a variety of ailments, mostly related to the lungs and digestion. The plant is also used as a tonic to purify the blood, tonify the nervous system and stimulate the mind. It has a sweet taste, but with a hint of bitterness. The herb is used in local ritualistic use burned as incense as well as in liquid extract as an oral remedy.
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#Aromatic #Gums #Resins #Incense