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Home Page > Aromatherapy Articles & Guides > What is a resin?

What are Resins?

Benzoin Resin and Frankincense Tears
Shown above are frankincense tears (light color) and myrrh resin (dark) in a bowl hand carved from juniper.  

When some plants, namely trees, are injured, they produce a thick, sometimes solid, sticky substance called a resin. Frankincense, Myrrh and Benzoin are an examples of resins.

In the commercial production of some resins, the trees will be cut in many spots to encourage the tree to produce its resin.

Natural resins provide therapeutic benefit, but some are hard to work with in aromatherapy. Benzoin resin, for instance is extremely thick and sticky. You will find liquid resins that have been extracted by solvent or alcohol extraction.


Benzoin Resin and Frankincense Tears
  A jar of benzoin resin and a bowl of frankincense tears. The benzoin, even when in a jar that is tipped over, is so thick and sticky that it doesn't spill out.


Frankincense tears are small, solid chunks of frankincense resin. Both Frankincense and Myrrh resins are solid and are not traditionally used within holistic aromatherapy in their resinous forms. The resins are most commonly used for loose incense. Resins can be powderized for other forms of incense and for medicinal use.

Frankincense Essential Oil and Myrrh Essential Oils are steam distilled from the resin for use in holistic aromatherapy, spiritual, room fragrancing and perfumery applications. To learn more about these essential oils, click on the Frankincense and Myrrh links to go to the essential oil profile pages for each of these oils.

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