Resembling a giant fennel plant, galbanum was used in the ancient world as incense. Native to the Middle East and West Asia, it is cultivated today in Iran, Turkey, Lebanon and Afghanistan. It was used in pharmaceuticals, but now it is mostly known as a food flavoring and a perfume fixative.
Family: Apiaceae (Umbelliferae)
Extraction: Distilled from oleoresin, collected by incising the stem base. Persian oil is solid; the Levant type is liquid. Galbanum has a green, woody, spicy odor.
Medicinal Action: Galbanum soothes aches in the hands, feet, muscles and joints. It treats indigestion, respiratory disorders, asthma and poor circulation.
Cosmetic/Skin Use: Promotes cell regeneration, and tones mature or irritated skin. It was once used to dress inflamed and abscessed wounds.
Emotional Attribute: Galbanum relieves emotional tension.
Galbanol –This type of Ferula galbaniflua has had most of the terpenes removed, making it more water-soluble.
Asafetida (F. asafoetida) –This East Indian herb substitutes for garlic in cooking and sometimes in medicine. Its name is from the word “fetid,” and yes, it really does stink. Therefore, it is seldom used in aromatherapy, even though it is highly antiseptic.
Zalou Root (F. hermonic) –This is considered an aphrodisiac in Beirut.
Musk Root (F. sumbal and F. gummose) –This species is from the Caucasus region of southeastern Europe.
Silhion (F. species) –One of the most valuable trade commodities in ancient Greece. Before it became extinct from overharvesting, this herb was used as a contraceptive.