Materials - Gums & Resins

Gum resin exudes naturally from trees or is obtained through tapping. For centuries it has been valued for its chemical properties and wide range of applications from industrial, cosmetic and medicinal products to religious ceremonies and social uses. It is used in the manufacture of varnishes, paints and adhesives; by musicians in the form of rosin for bows of stringed instruments or by ballet dancers to increase grip on their shoes. It's commonly used as incense in traditional shamanic rituals as well as in Buddhist, Christian, Hindu and Muslim religious ceremonies. Some forms of gum resin such as Indian Frankincense are well documented in traditional medical systems like Ayurvedic medicine as well as clinically proven to successfully alleviate muscular-skeletal system disorders such as osteoarthritis; inflammations, both colonic and respiratory, genitourinary system disorders such as mentrual pain and respiratory problems like asthma.

Many different tree species produce gum resin and it therefore falls under many names such as damar, copal, mastic, kauri and benzoin resins. Competition with petrochemical resin and synthetic products has meant that the industrial use of natural resin has leasened in recent years. Nonetheless in some parts of the world resin producing trees such as Styrax spp. are still an important cultivated plant and source of household income.