Ammoniacum from Iran
Ammoniacum is a resin that is very old and has been known as incense since the time of ancient Egypt. It was used in the temple of Amun in sacred rituals. The smell is very strong and unpleasant. Ammoniacum has also been used as medicine since antiquity, mostly for ailments of the lungs such as chronic cough and asthma. The most important country of export today is Iran.
Other names: Omumbiri

Latin name: Dorema ammoniacum

Harvest location: Iran

Scent: intense, sulfurous
Ammoniacum, also called gum ammoniacum, is an incense substance that has been known for thousands of years. Originally, the resin was most likely taken from the umbelliferous plant Ferula tingitana. This plant is native to northern Africa.

However, the plant species Dorema ammoniacum, which grows in Iran, also produces a resin called Ammoniacum. This is also an umbelliferous plant.

Nowadays, almost exclusively the Iranian variety is available in European trade. If you visit markets in North Africa, you will sometimes find both varieties.

Ammoniacum in tradition

The name of this incense is borrowed from the oracle of the temple of Amun, to which it has a ritual and spiritual connection. This temple was located in Libya (now Egypt). It was an important religious center for Egyptians and Greeks. The temple of Amun - together with Delphi and Dodona - is one of the most important oracle sites of the ancient world.

Ammoniacum was considered a highly valued remedy in ancient times. Famous Greek physicians used it to relieve the symptoms of asthma and chronic cough. Even Dioscorides described the medicinal effects of fumigating with ammoniacum. Ammoniacum was also used externally, e.g. for lumps.
The resin usually comes out of the stem because a beetle pierces it. After this injury, the milky secretion swells out drop by drop. After it dries and becomes solid, it is removed with a special knife.

Ammoniacum as incense

The scent of ammoniacum is quite peculiar, as with most umbelliferous plants. Compared to galbanum, the aroma is sweeter. On charcoal, the smell is a bit more acrid.

Although the scent is not always flattering, the effects are enticing. The incense develops a strong disinfecting effect. Cleansing and protective incenses benefit from the ammonia gum. People also use the smoke for exorcisms, healings, rituals, special occasions, and as offerings.

The smoke has a releasing effect. Fears evaporate with this scent. Ammoniacum can be added to a purification ritual after a death. It also drives away spirits and protects against them. It also works against curses and evil spells. Those who are esoterically savvy can perform an cleansing ritual with this incense.

Pregnant women and children should stay away from the smoke.
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