Galbanum Oil

Galbanum Oil (Ferula galbaniflua)

By Hwaa Irfan


Ferula galbaniflua has a long history of medicinal use, and was once imported from the Levant and India in large quantities, featuring prominently in Biblical use.  It is a member of the Umbelliferae family of the plant kingdom, and it is native to Iran where it is called ‘Barijeh’, and Afghanistan, of which there are 19 varieties. In Biblical times it was used as incense with its complex aroma, and was known as helbenah. In Coptic medicine, galbanum was used as a poultice for aching wounds, and aching feet.

Naturalized in Pakistan, Turkmenistan, N.W. India, and Cape of Good Hope, Ferula galbaniflua is approaching the status of endangered species. It is a perennial that grows in the mountainous regions of northern Iran with a tall smooth stem that can extend to 5 feet in height. The plant has two types of leaves, with the leaves of the stem being small and glossy. The tiny yellow flowers are few extending from the tips of smaller stems, which is typical of the Umbelliferae family as can be seen in Angelica Sylvestris Angelica Root), and fennel. The thin, flat fruit also has a shine. with prominent ribs, and oil glands in the grooves.

A lactic liquid oozes from the joints of the old plants, and then hardens at the base of the stem that has been removed as if to heal a wound. The hardened liquid forms a resin, which is used in the cosmetic and foods industries, as well as in aromatherapy.

The best resin/tears are externally pale looking, but when opened reveal the colour white. Galabanum resin was once dissolved in water, vinegar/wine, but now it is steam distilled or extracted using Co2, which helps to maintain the integrity of the oil. It is a popular ingredient in the cosmetic, perfumery, and food industry. It is the main ingredient in Cartier’s “Must.”

Commercial production is mainly in Iran, Afghanistan, Turkey, and Cape of Good Hope. The essential oil is a thin colourless – yellowish brown viscous liquid with a complex aroma that reveals itself in layers, from earthy balsamic – musky – pine. Unfortunately, one can find adulterated products on the market, usually adulterated with pine oil, fractions of b-pinene, and undecatrienes. Like all essential oils, if stored in a cool, dry place that is safe from heat, and light, one can expect a shelf life of 1 year.

Chemical Properties

Ferula galbaniflua is rich in monoterpenes, and sulphur. Monoterpenes such as β

pinene, α-pinene, and Δ3-carene have a mild antiseptic, decongestant, rubefacient, and as well as a slight anti-inflammatory activity. With over 84 bioactive constituents,  Ferula galbaniflua essential oil also includes:

  • α-terpinyl acetate
  • α-pinene
  • (Z)-β-ocimene
  • β-pinene
  • Δ3-carene
  • 2-isopropyl-3-methoxypyrazine
  • 2,3,4-trimethylthiophene
  • (3E,5Z)-undeca-1,3,5-triene
  • Arabinose
  • Calcium
  • D-galactose,
  • D-glucuronic acid
  • 4 – 0 methyl glucuronic acid
  • Galactoronic acid
  • Galbaresino-tannol
  • Guaiacol
  • Guaiazulene
  • Hydroxyproline
  • Isoguaiazulene
  • Larabinose
  • Linalool
  • L-rhamnose
  • Potassium
  • Sabinene
  • Sulphur
  • Umbelliferine
  • Verbenone

Therapeutic Properties

Galbanum essential oil removes toxins, skin care, kills & repels insects, eliminates parasites, and heals wounds, and is effective in removing toxins from the body, for relaxing the nerves, and muscles, and in the treatment of childhood trauma.

Some of the therapeutic properties are as follows:

  • Anti arthritic
  • Antibacterial
  • Anti-rheumatic
  • Cicatrisant
  • Circulatory
  • Decongestant
  • Detoxifier
  • Emollient
  • Expectorant
  • Insecticide
  • Spasmolytic
  • Stimulant (blood, digestive, lymphatic, and endocrine systems)
  • Vulnerary

For glossary see It All Makes Good Scents!

As a cicatrisant, geranium essential oil is helpful for healing damaged skin, and tissues, as it not only helps to heal scars by balancing the presence of sebum and keeping the skin supple whilst  stimulating cell regeneration.

As a detoxifier  help to release toxins in the body including excess salts, and water.

Used as an emollient in the cosmetic industry because its rich lipophilic properties penetrates bodily tissues easily.

As a rubefacient, improves circulation, and provides relief for muscular aches, pains, and stiffness.

As a vulnerary the oil helps to stem blood loss, and promotes cell regeneration in the case of wounds and scar tissue.


Ferula Galbanum has long been known to cause irritation to the skin in some people, and contact with the eyes should be avoided.


Gandh Biroza has it is known in some parts of India, has become a part of traditional medicine and is used for rheumatism, and asthma, hysteria, and mental health problems in males.

The oil can only be used for external use, and when used it should be diluted by means of Carrier Oils like Fractioned coconut oil. Drops of no more than 1 should be used for:

Circulatory system – Sluggish

Insecticide – Kills and repels

Lymphatic system – Sluggish

Mind – Anxiety, childhood trauma, confusion, panic attacks, psychosomatic illnesses, spasms, stress


Reproductive –PMS,


Respiratory – Chronic bronchitis, congestion,


Musculoskeletal – Arthritis, muscular aches and pains, rheumatism, spasms,

Skin –  Acne, abscesses, boils, lice, mature skin, oily skin, scar tissue, slow healing wounds, sores, spots,

Spiritual – Emotional blockages, negative energies, undergoing personal change, soul transformation


  • Vapor therapy – Anxiety, eases traumatic experiences (especially in children), psychosomatic conditions, stress, and respiratory conditions
  • Massage oil – Balance skin’s oil production, keeps skin supple, heal wounds, eases blockages in the spiritual body
  • Bath – 2 drops added before filling the bath, helps to calm the mind, bruises, ease depression, mood swings, PMS, stress, fluid retention, eczema, abscesses, musculoskeletal, and conditions pertaining to a sluggish endocrine system…


Burfield T. “The Adulteration of Essential Oils and the Consequences to Aromatherapy & Natural Perfumery Practice.” London. 2005

Felter , H.W., and Lloyd , J.U. “Galbanum.” King’s American Dispensatory, 1898


Kanani, MR, et al.Chemotaxonomic Significance Of The Essential Oils Of 18 Ferula Species (Apiaceae) From Iran.” Chem Biodivers. 2011 Mar;8(3):503-17. doi: 10.1002/cbdv.201000148.

Manniche, L. “An Ancient Egyptian Herbal.” British Museum Publications Ltd, U.K. 1989.

Milani, J.M. et al.  “Extraction and Physicochemical Properties of Barijeh (Ferula galbaniflua) Gum.” International Journal Of Agriculture & Biology 1560–8530/2007/09–1–80–83

Miyazawa, N. et al.  “Novel Key Aroma Components Of Galbanum Oil.”


Aromatherapy Series:     

It All Makes Good Scents!

Amber Oil

Angelica Root Oil

Anise Oil

Bath Oil

Basil Oil

Bay Oil

Bergamot Oil

Bitter Almond Oil

Bitter Orange Oil

Black Seed Oil

Calendula Oil

Carrier Oils

Camphor Oil

Cedarwood Oil

Cinnamon Oil

Citronella Oil

Emergency First Aid Kit

Eruca – Rocket Oil

Eucalyptus Oil

Fennel Oil

Forsythia (Orchid) Oil

Fragonia Oil

Frankincense Oil

Geranium Oil


2 thoughts on “Galbanum Oil

  1. Wrong, osteoporosis is not a noarml event of aging it is the symptom of a very poor over cooked average diet of highly acidic foods (70% plus) such as meat, dairy and grains with a small amount of vegetables (mostly cooked) and fruit. Other symptoms of this diet are heart disease, cancer, diabetes, depression, and so called autoimmune diseases just to name a few. The answer is simple you eat exactly the opposite of what I wrote above, 70% alkaline foods raw vegetables and fruit and the other 30% are meats, dairy and grains (and try to eat most of these foods raw as well). This is why the test subjects bone health improved. We have been brain washed in to believing that symptoms are diseases that need a medication or herb to treat. When the real disease is what we are doing to ourselves and what we are allowing the government and food industry to do to our foods. What I am telling the author and anyone reading this article is also written by Hippocrates the father of real medicine at the top of this page.“Let thy food be thy medicine and thy medicine be thy food.” Doc Blake

  2. Dear Sir,

    We are an Iranian company and we have GALBANUM farm in Iran too.

    Before DIOR company was buying pure galbanum extracted from us, but now we disconnected from them.

    I need to know how we could extract oil from this plant and to whom we could sale?

    You are kindly requested to offer us a machine or a mechanism to extract good quality galbanum

    Are you interested to buy?

    Please reply

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