Benzoin 'oil' is actually a resinoid, derived from a tree that is native to Southeast Asia, Java and Sumatra. In Asia, the resin has been used for sacred and medicinal purposes for thousands of years.
Traditional: A relaxing, soothing oil that drives away depression and dreary thoughts. In fact, it can induce a sense of euphoria. The scent is deeply sensuous and can be used to release emotional blockages and fears, particularly those of a sexual nature. In aromatherapy skin care it is used for dry, inflamed skin conditions and as an ingredient for products that help keep the skin elastic and young. It improves circulation and may aid gout, arthritis and rheumatism. It can also be used to treat infections of the respiratory system such as bronchitis, asthma, coughs and laryngitis.
Magical : The profuse smoke of Benzoin provides excellent 'substance' in which spirits may manifest. Its sumptuous sweet scent is suitable for use in love magic as it will stimulate sensual perception and open the heart chakra. It lends itself well to use in aphrodisiac potions and incense blends. It can help the mind to let go of painful emotions, past grievances and resentment, Benzoin may attune the heart chakra to the vibration of love as a balance between give and take. In Java, shamans use it for shape shifting to take on the animal bodies of their spirit allies.
Benzoin is one of the most important incense ingredients and is abundantly burned in all kinds of spiritual ceremonies. Its sweet scent pleases the Gods and invokes their benevolence.
Arab traders first introduced it to the West where it was enthusiastically received throughout the ancient world; particularly in the Middle East and in Egypt Benzoin was immediately incorporated into exotic incense blends.
In northern parts of Europe it was more appreciated for its medicinal virtues, particularly its expectorant qualities, which are still utilised today in the famous Friars Balsam. As remedial incense it was thought to brighten the spirits and drive out 'cold dampness'. In perfumery it is used as preservative and fixative for other oils.
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