These fragrant Benzoin almonds - Styrax benzoides
- come from Siam (Thailand). These are 1st Choice select benzoin almonds. The name "benzoin" is probably derived from Arabic lubān jāwī (لبان جاوي, "Javan frankincense"); compare the obsolete terms "gum benjamin" and "benjoin". This incidentally shows that the Arabs were aware of the origin of these resins, and that by the late Middle Ages at latest international trade in them was probably of major importance.
Benzoin resin has a sweet, balsamlike fragrance resembling vanilla. It does not have a very pleasing aroma by itself but when mixed with other ingredients, it develops into a wonderful aromatic pleasure.
Long used since antiquity as an incense ingredient by many civilizations. Known in Europe during the middle ages as "Friar's Balsam." Since Antiquity, styrax resin has been used in perfumes, some kinds of incense, and medicines.
There is some degree of uncertainty as to exactly what resin old sources refer to. Turkish sweetgum (Liquidambar orientalis) is a quite unrelated tree in the family Altingiaceae that produces a similar resin traded in modern times as storax or as "Levant styrax," like the resins of other sweetgums, and a number of confusing variations thereupon. Turkish sweetgum is a relict species that occurs only in a small area in SW Turkey (and not in the Levant at all); presumably, quite some of the "styrax resin" of the Ancient Greek and the Ancient Roman sources was from this sweetgum, rather than a Styrax, although at least during the former era genuine Styrax resin, probably from S. officinalis, was imported in quantity from the Near East by Phoenician merchants, and Herodotus of Halicarnassus in the 5th century BC indicates that different kinds of "storax" were traded.
The nataf (נטף) of the incense sacred to Yahweh, mentioned in the Book of Exodus, is variously translated to the Greek term staktḗ (στακτή, AMP: Exodus 30:34), or an unspecific "gum resin" or similar term (NIV: Exodus 30:34). Nataf may have meant the resin of Styrax officinalis or of some other plant, perhaps Turkish sweetgum, which is unlikely to have been imported in quantity into the Near East.
Since the Middle Ages, Southeast Asian benzoin resins became increasingly available; today there is little international trade in S. officinalis resin and little production of Turkish sweetgum resin due to that species' decline in numbers.
The natural gum is collected from deep incisions made into the tree trunk; it hardens on exposure to the air and is collected.
Benzoin is warm, relaxing and calming and as such is good to use in the evening mixed with sandalwood. It has been known to stimulate imagination and good for use in creative work.See also our Incense Supplies Prices:
Per oz. (28 grams) $8.75
Per 4 oz. (112 grams) $33.25
Per half pound (224 grams) $63.00
Per pound (454 grams) $115.00 - Save 20%!