I was first introduced to galbanum many years ago in a Perfume Blending Class.  It was one of the oils I ended up using in my personal perfume, just a smidgeon blended together with Rose and Ginger.  The result was a blend that was so much more than a perfume and this set me on the hunt to find out more about this oil.  While I never did quite work out categorically why this blend had such a profound effect for me at that time of my life,  I have always had a feeling that it had something to do with my innate tendency, particularly at that time, of putting everyone else’s preferences and wishes above my own.

We all know how important it is to understand the chemistry and physical attributes of the essential oils that we use, but my question to you is how important do you think it is to understand the inner nature of our essential oils? Personally, I have found that this is an integral part of the knowledge base I want to work from, particularly when I blend holistically for someone.  It doesn’t matter whether I am blending for a simple physical challenge, or something that will interact at a deeper physical, emotional, mental or spiritual level, when I can add even just 1 drop of an oil that reflects the inner nature of the client, the resulting blends become so much more.

Galbanum (Ferula gummosa Boiss.)

Family: Apiaceae (Umbelliferae)

Plant Description:  Galbanum is a large perennial herb, which can grow up to 2 meters (6 feet) high.   It has a smooth stem, shiny leaflets, and small white flowers.  It has resin ducts, which exude a milky juice, a natural oleoresin.

History/Folklore:  It was used by ancient civilizations as incense and in Egypt, it was used for cosmetics and in the embalming process.  In the East, it is generally used to treat wounds, inflammations and skin disorders as well as for respiratory, digestive and nervous complaints.

Extraction:  A colourless, pale yellow or sometimes olive essential oil is produced through hydro or steam distillation of the oleoresin (gum).  Only the Levant or soft type is used for oil production.

Aroma:  Green-woody, penetrating, earthy, spicy.  Said to be reminiscent of dense green undergrowth with a dry earthy quality.

Odour intensity:  Very high

Perfume Note:  Top

Blends well with Bergamot, cedarwood, cypress, frankincense, violet, lavender, geranium, oakmoss, opopanax, pine, fir and oriental bases.  It is very odoriferous, so use sparingly.

Perfume Key Qualities: Uplifting, clearing, purifying and soothing.

Chemistry:  Lactones (1%); Monoterpenes (84%)

Cautions:  Generally considered non-toxic, non-irritating and non-sensitizing.  As it is high in monoterpenes it can oxidize easily so avoid using old or oxidized oils.

On a physical level it is used for:  Skin Care (abscesses, acne, boils, cuts, scar tissue, inflammation, mature skin, wrinkles, and wounds. It is said to tone, soften and preserves the skin.); Poor circulation, muscular aches and pains, rheumatism; Asthma, bronchitis, catarrh, chronic coughs; Cramp, flatulence, indigestion.  It is also used as an Insect repellent.

On a psychological level, it is used to calm and balance.  It has been found helpful for nervous tension and stress-related conditions.

On a subtle level, Galbanum is considered to be balancing for both the psyche and spirit.

According to Dr. Bruce Berkowsky’s Spiritual PhytoEssencing Galbanum might be helpful when there is a history of surgery or stabbing.  The Galbanum individual may have the central theme of not being considered as important as other members of the group and self-sacrifice and devotion are an integral part of their nature.

While Valerie Ann Worwood recommends Galbanum for Fear in general.   Fear of sexuality; Fear of letting go; Hypochondria and Rage.  It can be helpful for shedding old ideas and outdated behaviour and attitudes.

More about Galbanum and Galbanum and the Sacred Incense

Steffen Arctander, Perfume and Flavor Materials of Natural Origin, 1960
Salvatore Battaglia, The Complete Guide to Aromatherapy
Berkowsky’s Synthesis Materia Medica/Spiritualis of Essential Oils ©1998-2018 Joseph Ben Hil-Meyer Research, Inc.
Tony Burfield, Natural Aromatic Materials – Odours & Origins, 2000
Ernst Guenther, The Essential Oil, Vol V, 1948 reprinted 1972
Beverley Hawkins, Essential Oils and Carriers, Aromatherapy 101, Aromatherapy 201, Aromatherapy 301, 1999-2018
Julia Lawless, The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oils, 1995
Jennifer Peace Rhind, Fragrance and Wellbeing, Plant Aromatics and Their Influence on the Psyche, 2014
Tisserand and Young, 2nd Edition Essential Oil Safety, 2014
Valerie Ann Worwood, The Fragrant Pharmacy, London, Bantam Books, 1991