Pitch, resins, francinsence and myrrh

truffler1635 at my-deja.com truffler1635 at my-deja.com
Tue Dec 19 04:02:35 EST 2000

What do all these things have in common?

They are exudates of certain plants that are aromatic and used in
perfumes, aromatherapy, as antifungals and antiseptics. Most people
already know resin is a form of pine pitch, used to cause friction on
musical instruments such as violin, cello, bass, etc. Pitch is sticky and
adhers readily to most surfaces. In nature, trees produce pitch and sap
in response to wounds. The pitch or sap builds up and seals wounds, acts
as an antiseptic and anti-fungicide; and often traps insects which are
drawn to the sweet sap. This is why insects from prehistoric times are
sometimes found in amber, which is just fossilized pitch.

Less well known is the fact that frankinsence and myrrh are also plant
exudates like pitch, which seal cuts and wounds on other plants. In the
case of Frankinsense, the plant is Boswillia carteri. Myrrh is produced
by Commiphora nolmol. For more information on these products which are
still available today, see http://frankincense4u.freeyellow.com/index.htm

Essential oils are seldom talked about on this ng, but deserve
considerably more space. Essential oils are used as aromatics in
perfumes, as antiseptics (such as Pine-Sol), and in aromatherapy (and you
thought it was just nice to have boughs and Christmas trees, didn't
you?). Most conifers have distinctive essential oils, which differ
minutely from species to species. At one time while I was learning to
identify the true firs in 4-H forestry here in Oregon, I _first_ learned
to identify them by smell. I would think there is considerable value to
be made in the person who can learn to market these essential oils to
pharmaceutical companies and as cleansers or medicines. One of my
favorite purchases is a small bottle of essential true-fir oil, which
makes a wonderful room odorizer when a few drops are placed above each
door in a house. This is a terrific way to get rid of unwanted odors,
such as pet and stale-house.

I do not presume to be an expert on the subject, but _would_ like to hear
about the use of other essential oils/aromas/and similar forest by-

Who hasn't got a sprig of mistletoe? A fragrant wreath? A noble fir
Christmas tree? What is your favorite Christmas tree and why? I'll bet
aroma/smell is a big part in the decision-making process.

Some of the native trees whose aromas I am very fond of are:
Western juniper
Incense cedar
White fir
Grand fir
Subalpine fir
Shasta red fir
Noble fir
Sitka spruce
Western hemlock
Douglas fir
Ponderosa pine
Lodgepole pine
Knobcone pine

What are yours?

Daniel B. Wheeler

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