I like the name Styrax Tonkinesis, the latin name for Benzoin. I think of Tonka (remember Tonka trucks as a child?) whose name means big or all pervasive - as in the Sioux word, Tatonka or buffalo, and my personal favorite and regularly used reference to the “Great Spirit” or the “Great Mystery”: Wakan Tanka - All that cannot be named. Those words provide a glorious assessment of this time honored essential oil. The use of Benzoin, a beautiful tree resin, is reminiscent of someone who loves us placing a warm, fuzzy blanket on us, in a time of need. It does most certainly carry the energy of the buffalo: its gum resin is actually, unlike many resins, not amber, but the deep chestnut brown/red color of a bison’s fur. I can only describe it as a hug from the Divine Father….its scent is musky and spice and male, yet sweet and wise and tender too - like vanilla and Old Spice and pure tobacco pipe smoke all at once.

In many Asian cultures, Benzoin’s resin has been burned for incense - and its fragrant properties are well know throughout The Orient. It has indeed long been a favorite in the perfume/cologne industry, but I bring it from my apothecary’s chest to heal all skin disturbances. Antiseptic in nature, it has terrific value for soothing raw and irritated and stubborn, or slow to heal, skin lesions, and can be hugely helpful for longstanding and deeply rooted but undiagnosed skin issues. The sedative qualities of Benzoin correspond to my earlier characterization of getting a hug from “Father”. As I use this oil before bedtime - it reminds me of having my Dad climb in bed and hold me to read me a book and rub my eyebrows until I drifted off to sleep, as a young girl. The resin has been traditionally used for respiratory distress, and facilitates bronchial disease and asthma. This essence can be used in the mouth on sores or lesions or after dental surgeries as well (please only use a reputable company such as Wisdom of the Earth with pure, medicinal and therapeutic grade oils for any internal use).

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