Labdanum resin. Extracted from the leaves and twigs of the Cistus Ladanifer plant in Spain.
A sticky, semi-solid mass. Chill before removing from packaging.
An ancient and well-known perfume and incense ingredient, Labdanum has been used as the base for Amber type fragrances for many centuries.
Labdanum is often a core ingredient in Chypre, and Oriental style perfumes.
Some consider it to be the “Balm of Gilead” referred to in the old Testament since this sweet-smelling and comforting aromatic grows in the ancient territory of “Gilead” in Israel.
Labdanum is also thought to be one of the ingredients in the sacred temple incense, “Ktoreth”.
As described in my blog post, http://apothecarysgarden.com/2013/07/02/labdanum-beard-grooming-babylonian-style/, Labdanum has been in use for thousands of years for fragrance, medicine, incense and grooming. No one can resist a beard that has been touched by Labdanum.
2 types of Labdanum are currently available on the global market, the western Mediterranean Cistus Ladanifer, and the Eastern Mediterranean, Cistus Creticus.
The “Spanish, or Western Mediterranean type is most often grown as an annual plant and cut to the ground late summer, early fall. The whole branches are boiled and the raw resin floats to the top of the barrel where it is collected and shipped elsewhere for processing.
Much of the Labdanum on the market is from this source, most often bought by consumers as a resinoid after solvent extraction even though it is usually sold as the essential oil of Labdanum.
Those who collect Frankincense, Labdanum, Myrrh and many other traditional wild harvests, are ideally suited and positioned to care for our fragrant and medicinal natural resources. We have badly managed them till now and they are quickly declining all over the world, even as our consumption increases. By purchasing from traditional harvesters we can contribute to a responsible and sustainable model of economics and ensure that these natural treasures are thriving still in decades to come.
If your resin is sticky, it may be difficult to remove it intact from the plastic wrapper. My trick and workaround is to place the bag in the fridge or freezer for 15-30 minutes before attempting to separate it from its package. After chilling, it will detach with ease and without leaving any material stuck to the wrapper.