It is a shrub with a twisted trunk and thin branches covered with thorns, reflecting its habitat because it grows in northern India and on the Arabian Peninsula, in arid areas swept by scorching winds.
It is close to the myrrh tree, one of the three offerings made by the Three Wise Men to the son of God in Christian history. Coming from the east to Bethlehem guided by a star, their sumptuous gifts were primarily symbolic, with gold representing power, incense the relationship with the afterlife and myrrh the power of healing.
Indeed, the gum-resin obtained by resin tapping the trunks has been used for its therapeutic properties in Ayurvedic medicine for more than 2,500 years. Known as Guggul, it relieves joint inflammation and acts to regulate fat metabolism.
It was a source of income for the nomads who traded it along the ancient Arabian incense routes.