FAQ-working with resins

Tips, Tricks and time-proven methods for working with oleoresins


We have been using Frankincense and other aromatic resins for medicine, perfume, incense, art and in many other applications for thousands of years.

Most soft aromatic resins have a high % of essential oils which make them malleable when fresh and most will dissolve easily in warm vegetable oils and animal fats. They usually yield a high amount of essential oils and the spent resin is chock full of therapeutic resin acids. Often still bearing and strong fragrance.

The harder types of resins could be divided into two categories.

Semi fossilized/fossilized and fresh/cured.

Most of the semi-fossilized resins do not dissolve easily in oils but require alcohol and other solvents.

The "fresh" hard oleo resins such as Copal, Sandarac, will dissolve partially or completely in warm oils which makes them suitable for the preparation of medicated oils, salve and cremes.

The fresh soft resins for the most part, all dissolve easily in warm oils, fats and waxes making them the easiest to use without specialized processes and equipment. They are best suited to home projects that anyone can do in their kitchen.

Most Frankincense types are oleo gum resins. This means they contain both water-soluble gum and oil/alcohol soluble resin and essential oil. They will not dissolve directly in oil, water or pure alcohol but must be ground to expose the different compounds to the solvent of your choice.

You will find instructions on how to Grind Frankincense and other oleo resins in my blog here-https://apothecarysgarden.com/2020/02/09/how-to-grind-frankincense-myrrh-and-other-resins/


Resin Extracts

Resin extracts are the pure resin with no water-soluble gum. In the shop they are usually powdered and will dissolve easily in alcohol and warm carrier oils when making medicated oil, salves, cremes, lotions and liniments. These pure resins have an affinity with the skin and are traditionally used in cosmetic and therapeutic skincare products. Our resin extracts are often the byproduct of our essential oil distillations and processed completely in-house.

 Oleo Extracts

 Oleo extracts, also called oil extracts or oil infusions are a ready-made skincare product. They contain the therapeutic compounds found in the oleoresin and deliver them to and  through the skin. Most oleoresins have an affinity with the skin, our musculoskeletal and respiratory system and have been used in traditional medicine to help heal these systems since time immemorial.  They can be applied neat to the skin, diluted with other carrier oils or used as therapeutic ingredients in skincare products. You can prepare your own oleo extracts with resins and you will find instructions on my blog, here-https://apothecarysgarden.com/2014/07/30/how-to-make-a-whole-extract-of-frankincense-and-other-oleoresins/

 Resin Powders

We powder all the shop resins in-house, guaranteeing their purity and freshness. Powdered resins are the main ingredient when making your own oil extracts. They can be used as exfoliants and they can also be encapsulated. For information on powdering your own resins see my post here-https://apothecarysgarden.com/2020/02/09/how-to-grind-frankincense-myrrh-and-other-resins/

 Essential Oils

  Almost all our essential oils are distilled in-house. The remainder are part of a growing collection showcasing other artisan essential oil distillers from around the world. They are prepared in small batches with a focus on quality. The time it takes to distill 5 kilograms of resins is the same as the time it takes to distill 500 kilograms. Artisans cannot compete with the quantity and sheer volume of essential oil industrial distillers produce, but when it comes to quality, there is no comparison with their products. Something the industrial distillers can not do. Sadly, by the time essential oils reach us from high-volume industrial distillers through middlemen and brokers, they are sometimes diluted, modified or adulterated with less expensive compounds to pad the profit margin of those in the marketing chain. There is nothing added to these artisan distilled essential oils. They are pure.