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This article is an entry from the Netseran Encyclopaedia edited by Hadrian Mar Elijah Bar Israel. You can log in or request an account to make changes..



How to Make Basma

The recipe for making incense is actually to be found in the Book of Exodus, and is as follows:

“Then the Lord said to Moses, “Take fragrant spices — gum resin, onycha and galbanum—and pure Lebuntha, all in equal amounts, and make a fragrant blend of incense, the work of a perfumer. It is to be salted and pure and sacred. Grind some of it to powder and place it in front of the ark of the covenant law in the tent of meeting, where I will meet with you. It shall be most holy to you. Do not make any incense with this formula for yourselves; consider it holy unto the Lord. Whoever makes incense like it to enjoy its fragrance must be cut off from their people.”[1]

  1. Lebuntha is a resin that comes from making an incision in the tree and comes in many different grades. For purity reasons, it may be preferable to use the Somalia Lebuntha. It has a deep, balsamic scent.
  2. Onycha is the operculum of a mollusk found in the Red Sea. It was used in ancient incense and perfume formulas as a fixative to help amplify the overall fragrance of a compound or formula. This needs to be ground into very fine powder and be used in proper ratios to have the desired effect.
  3. Stacte There are many different interpretations about what plant or tree Stacte is. It is believed to be either Storax or Styrax. This is a gum resin, but can also be obtained periodically in a powder form the bark of the tree. The gum resin has a chemical type smell. Again it is typically used as a fixative in a fragrance compound or formula. When blended correctly it will create a interesting balsamic aroma.
  4. Galbanum is a gum resin obtained from a large perennial herb that contains resin ducts. The resin is collected by making incisions at the base of the plant. Galbanum resin often has plant particles, stems and twigs in it. It has a very strong green, turpentine scent. Again it is used mainly as a fixative.


  1. Exodus 30:34-38