Anthro Esoterica

The History of Plant Resin Use

What are Resins?

Plant resins are substances that are usually semi-solid substances or viscous, sticky liquids that are produced by some plants and trees, often when injured. These resins contain large quantities of diverse aromatic and bioactive compounds, and have been used by humans since antiquity. Read more on the uses of plant resins here

Some examples of plants resins that you might be familliar with are Frakincense, Myrrh, pine sap (resin), Copal, amber, Dragon's Blood, Mastic, Dammar and Sandarac. There are many other plants and trees that produce resin, and Anthro Esoterica is dedicated to bringing as many of these to you as we can.

Plant Resin article on Wikipedia

Ancient uses

The use of resins have been commonplace throughout human history. Different resins can serve different uses. Many of the traditional uses of these resins will be discussed on our site here.

The Incense Route

The most valuable of the resins of the Near East, Mediterannean and North African regions were arguably varieties of Frankincense and Myrrh. Both of these plants are native to the Horn of Africa/Red Sea/Arabian Peninsula regions of the world, and can only be commercially harvested in these regions.

These resins would be collected in the Southern Red Sea and Gulf of Aden regions. The material would either go East or West via oversea shipping routes through these waterways, and out into the Indian Ocean where it would be sent to places like China, who still consumes the largest qualnities of Frankincense to this day. The other, and more famous routes, are the overland routes that all passed through the Levant (Modern day Israel, Palestine, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon) on their way to the Mediterranean and Europe, or to the Silk Road.

Our incense can currently be ordered from our Etsy site at