Fasoukh, which in some cultures is called Oshek or Veshek, is an ancient incense material that has been used in spiritual, magical and energetic work for hundreds if not thousands of years. Well known in North African, Southern Mediterranean, Arabic and Islamic cultures, Fasoukh is a mainstay of folk magic practices across a broad geographical area regardless of religion, culture and societal differences.
Two types of Fasoukh are most common. White Fasoukh and Black Fasouk.
White Fasoukh is reliably the resin of Ferula Communis while the composition of Black Fasoukh varies from tradition to tradition, culture to culture and geographical areas. Black Fasoukh is sometimes found as an incense blend compounded from many ingredients but also commonly found as a single aromatic or resin. I have come across Black Fasoukh from Morocco, Iran, and even Sudanese Black Fasouk in the famous Addis Ababa Mercato open-air market in Ethiopia. Each was vastly different from the other. Conversely, White Fasoukh has most often been the gum resin of Ferula Communis.
In general, it is safe to say that White Fasoukh is usually used to open communication with the energetic/spiritual world and in many cultures used to petition the Djinn for favours.
while Black Fasoukh is most often used to cleanse and protect the person and the home, counteract the evil eye and malignant forces whether of human or otherworldly nature. Black Fasoukh is also used for other beneficial purposes such as attracting money, love, good health and prosperity. Though usually burned as an incense, in some cultures a liquid or paste is prepared from Black Fasoukh and used in a floor wash, applied to the soles of one’s shoes or to the door frame of one’s home to attract the desired outcome or for protection.
One may notice the similarities in both plant family and function between White Fasoukh and Ammoniacum which is also used for divinatory and oracular purposes.
The fragrance of White Fasoukh when burned is similar yet different than that of Ammoniacum. White Fasoukh lacks green notes and has an earthier, warmer and dryer fragrance than Ammoniacum. (Let’s call it ochre as opposed to green). It is not as sharp or penetrating as the latter, though I detect some sweet candy notes lingering in the air after burning it.
Ferula Communis, like its cousin Ferula ammoniacum, has been used since antiquity to treat respiratory issues, excess phlegm, asthma, chronic coughs and bronchitis and is said to soften hard tumours when applied as a poultice. (It can be pounded with oil and or water first).
It is considered a carminative, stimulating appetite and peristalsis which could be useful for the elderly. It may have a stimulating effect on the uterus and likely should not be taken during pregnancy.
Energetically, (IMH), the Ferula family is ruled by the wind element and has an affinity with the power of communication.
This is not only suggested by how most plants of the Ferula family address flatulence, but also because most seem connected with the function of communication from an oracular and divinatory perspective, opening gateways, (or closing them), and communicating with other dimensions and beings.
I would classify them as under the rule of Mercury.
For more information about the Ferula family please see my post “Ammoniacum, Incense of the oracle, medicine of the people”. https://apothecarysgarden.com/2020/09/01/ammoniacum-incense-oracle-medicine/