Galbanum is a popular fragrance ingredient. It is also bitter, aromatic gum resin extracted from certain umbelliferous Asiatic plant species, mainly Ferula galbaniflua and related plants. The resin is used extensively in modern perfumery as a fixative agent (an ingredient used to stabilize other perfume components). The resin is also steam-distilled to produce galbanum oil, which is used in some perfumes (usually oriental or chypre blends) to impart a fresh, natural "green" scent.
Galbanum-yielding plants originally grew in the Mesopotamia area and were exported to India, China, Israel, and Egypt. Today Iran and Turkey are the primary sources of galbanum.
Galbanum has been used as a medicinal and aromatherapeutic ingredient since ancient times. References to galbanum may be found in the Old Testament, in the writings of Hippocrates (the father of modern medicine) and in Pliny’s Natural History. It was used primarily as an anti-inflammatory, expectorant and antiseptic agent, and as an anti-spasmodic treatment for women during childbirth. The ancient Egyptians imported mass quantities of galbanum from Persia to use in their religious ceremonies, in embalming, and as a therapeutic healing aid.
Galbanum has an intense green fragrance with woody and balsamic elements. Often described as earthy or forest-like, this fragrance compound is valued for its ability to impart a rich, spicy green scent. Perfumers use galbanum both as a strong top note in "green" fragrances and as a base note in combination with musk and/or chypre elements such as oakmoss and pine.
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