Freshly ground Bushman’s Candle-Namibia. Sarcocaulon Mossemedes
We grind this material here in the studio. It is fresh, fragrant and nothing is added to it.
The most common product made from Bushman’s Candle is an extract made using alcohol. This extract/absolute contains the pure resin and aromatic compounds of the material without the non-aromatic and wax compounds and can be used directly in perfumes and incense.
An oil extract can also be produced from Bushman’s Candle by macerating the ground material in a warm carrier oil. At a ratio of 1:1 oil to powder, this infuses the oil with the waxes and resins and thickens the oil creating a fragrant wax that feels quite luxurious on the skin. The oil extract can be used in Oil-based perfumes, Solid Perfumes, soaps and candles.
Both the above products are filtered at the end of the maceration process.
Bushman’s Candle is the fallen bark from the desert succulent Sarcocaulon mossamedense, a member of the Geraniaceae family found in Namibia and Southern Angola where it grows in mainly coastal areas in grit with little water and lots of sun.
When a part of the plant dies, the soft interior decomposes over time leaving behind fragrant hollow sleeves of bark.
The bark is made of a waxy resinous material that endures the harsh desert climate for many years.
The Himba traditionally use the bark to add a unique aroma to wild game that is smoked over the fire.
The wax will ignite and stay lit much like a candle which gives this material its colloquial name.
Bushman’s candle can be powdered and used directly in incense blends though, it is more common to make an alcohol tincture of the powdered bark which separates the aromatic resin from the waxy base.
Once the product is filtered and the wax separated, the alcohol is evaporated to leave one with a fragrant “Resin Absolute” which can be used as a perfume or incense ingredient.
Bushman’s candle has a beautiful Amber scent that is rich, sweet, warm, woody and tenacious.
While the resin and essential oil of Bushman’s Candle can be extracted with alcohol, the wax portion dissolves in warm oils and creates a fragrant salve like paste that may be useful in skincare products.
In theory, it should be possible to extract 2 separate products from the raw bark, the alcohol extract for perfume and incense and the wax which can be used in candles and cosmetics.
This Bushman’s Candle bark is collected by women and men of the Himba Tribe through a co-op and all profit goes back to the tribe.
Please contact me here on Etsy if you are interested in larger quantities of Bushman’s Candle.
For more information on working with Bushmans Candle bark please see my post here-https://apothecarysgarden.com/2019/07/26/bushmans-balm-extracts-and-formulas/