Benzoin can be a little confusing as there are different types, which derive from different trees and countries. Siamese Benzoin comes in the shape of tears or almonds (see below), while regular Benzoin usually comes from Sumatra or India and has the appearance of crumbly chunks that are mostly greyish brown and speckled with white streaks. Benzoin crumbles easily and when burnt does not melt. Instead, it evaporates leaving very little residue. It has an intense, sweet vanilla-like scent, but if burnt alone it can be choking. Benzoin is traditionally used as a base, especially for joss sticks and can be combined with many different herbs and oils for a variety of purposes. It is sacred to Aphrodite, Venus and Mut. Most commonly Benzoin is associated with love, prosperity, astral travel and shape shifting.
Since people first came together to honour the Gods and spirits of nature they used gums, resins and fragrant herbs to bring them closer to the divine beings and to give fragrant wings to their prayers. Every culture has their own sacred herbs that are particular to its region, yet, precious incense herbs and gums have also always been traded far beyond their country of origin.