Harvest of the pitch/sap begins once the trees have reached 8-10 years of age. Venomous snakes that live in the trees are first frightened away by burning the pitch of the styrax tree (benzoin). The trunk bark is then cut deeply and longitudinally and a narrow strip of bark five inches long is peeled off. The milky sap exudes and hardens upon exposure to the air and the incision is deepened. Three months later (from May through mid-September) the resin, now in tear form, is dried enough to be collected by Somalian people who pay the Arab people for the privilege of collecting it. This page includes alias and Chinese names for frankincense with pictures, how to use frankincense, its properties, chemical constituents, and helpful links.

Ginkgo biloba

A horticulturist once told me not to plant a female ginkgo too close to the house because when it buds out in the spring it really stinks. I had to check this out of course so I googled it. One person said the unripe seeds smell like dog excrement or some kind of noxious, acidic pungent soft cheese. Great. I’m hoping to relate that as a personal experience from our food forest plantings at our home at Elk Meadow Farm & Nursery here in Idaho. We won’t plant it close to the house.

Olive Leaf

Dissolving ear wax (like dissolves like—before bed time, add a few drops of warmed olive oil into the ear canal then stop up the canal up with cotton—add heat from a flax bag or hot water bottle if it’s an ear ache. This is quite soothing. Some healers also add a drop of garlic oil or St. John’s Wort but I’ve never found this necessary.)


Myrrh is a pungent/astringent aromatic herb used as a stimulant, antifungal, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, astringent, expectorant, antispasmodic, carminative, immune stimulant, circulatory stimulant, bitter, tonic and as a mild anesthetic. Myrrh is used as incense, in perfumes and for embalming. Myrrh is a hot/dry/acrid/bitter herb that strengthens the yang energy of the body.


Thyme culinary spice is widely used with poultry, beef, in soups, stuffing’s, marinades, casseroles, baked or sautéed vegetables. Its dried leaves are often included in potpourris and moth-repellent sachets. Thyme has been noted as a strengthener of the lungs, and the best remedy for whooping cough. It is an excellent antiseptic and tonic and is still used today as a respiratory remedy and for a variety of other ailments. Fresh thyme leaves have an aromatic, slightly bitter taste.