The use of Copal Gray resin dates back to the ancient Aztecs, who burned this resin to clean spaces and bodies of unwanted energies. Several indigenous peoples of Mexico still use Copal Gris during their ceremonies.
The smell is sweet, pleasant and subtle. Copal Gris is a widely used tool for energy cleaning.
Presentation: 25 Grams
There are many virtues of copal, in each region of ancient Anahuac the same conclusions were reached, it is used for the same purpose, and it is even considered an element that “turns on the inner light” of the human being. The resin of the copalli is one of the great gifts that Mother Nature gives us, it is a sacred element in the thinking of the natives suitable for offering, purifying and promoting a dialogue between the human being and the divine realm.
In Mexico and some Central American countries it is known as copal (from Nahuatl, copalli, which meant resin or incense), a series of aromatic plant resins, which are used as incense or incense.
The most common and known is that from the trees of the Burseraceae family: Bursera aloexylon, B. graveolens and B. jorullensis, although it is also extracted from some species of the Protium family.
Bursera, according to Rzedowski et al. (2004), is represented by almost 100 species that are found throughout the Mexican Republic. . Among the Bursera species, B. bipinnata is the taxon with the widest geographic distribution in Mexico: it is found from southern Sonora to Honduras and is only absent from the Yucatan peninsula.
Bursera bipinnata, is also known by the names of: Chinese copal, holy copal, palo copal, white torote, cimarrón copal, bitter or perlate copal, white copal, penca copal or copalquáhuitl.
This taxon represents the plants that are exploited in a preferential way to obtain the white copal, the most appreciated aromatic resin of the highest commercial quality; but also, the trees in the second place are subject to collection due to the resin that they release naturally and that is known under different names: stone copal, black copal, copal rubber.
It is a low tree, with grayish bark and highly branched, its average height is 6 m, it lives in steep places and is part of the transitional populations of pine and oak forests and low deciduous forests. It is found in places between 800 and 1 600 m of altitude, with a climate that is generally warm, subhumid or dry.
In these places, there is a very strong drought for more than four months a year, which makes the trees shed all their leaves and then with the rains they turn green. Most copals produce flowers at the beginning of the rainy season, towards the end of May and beginning of June. The flowers appear at the same time as the shoots of the leaves. Flowering is fast and towards the end of June there are already green fruits. Most of the fruits ripen between August and early September. The states that have a greater number of different types of burseras are: Guerrero, Michoacán and Oaxaca.
Protium trees grow among evergreen tropical forests and their resin, in particular Protium copal, according to archaeological evidence, has not been recorded in the Mexican highlands, but has been recorded among the Mayans, as the copal balls of the Cenote testify. Sacred of Chichén Itzá (Montúfar et al., 2006).
In pre-Hispanic times, among the Aztecs, it was known as copalquáhuitl: “copal tree”, and the resin extracted from it as copalli: “incense”. For its religious use it was known as iztacteteo, that is, “white god”, because of the color of the smoke it gave off. Bernardino de Sahagún, in his General History of New Spain things, describes how copal gum was used in a ritual way by the inhabitants of the Aztec capital who burned it as an offering to their gods:
«In the offering of incense or copal, these Mexicans, and all those from New Spain, used a white gum that they call copalli —which is also widely used now— to incense their gods. They did not use incense, although there is in this land. Of this incense or copal the satraps used in the temple and all the other people in their houses […]. » General history of the things of New Spain, Book II.
Copal extraction process
Copal resin is extracted during the rainy season of the year (from July to October) by the copaleros, specialized farmers, in order to dispose of the resin for the festivities of the dead in November, which is celebrated in many Mexican homes.
Thus, the peasants and copaleros of Jolalpan (Puebla), for example, extract the copal resin by making cuts or scratches with a small blade (called qui-chala), on the bark of the thickest branches of the copal trees. The resin that drains from these cuts is directed, through an oak leaf, towards a maguey stalk that serves as a container. This penca hangs tied to each of the branches of the tree.
The stripes on the bark are made concentric to the oak leaf and form a kind of fan. The separation between cut and cut is not greater than 0.5 cm and the stripes have an average length of 8 cm.
the tree, cuts every third day; on the contrary, they would damage it significantly.
After having made several lines and when the maguey stem has been filled, it is removed and replaced with a new one, and so on until the resin stops flowing. As the copal is deposited on the stalk, it is freed of all its impurities, for this a small rod is used with which the foliar remains that have accumulated on it are removed.
The purer and cleaner the white copal it is, the greater its economic value, because according to Mr. Ofelio Times it is the blood of the plant and adds: “the copalito tree gives us its‘ sangrita ’, its life. God created it for us to smoke. ” (Personal communication, October 20, 2004).
It should be emphasized that the extraction of the white copal implies that, on numerous occasions, the co-producers have to move and go into the mountains with their entire family for at least two months, to work on obtaining it.
Originally, the peasants could ignore their milpa until the second half of August and only then did they go out to co-farm. Now the copaleros are also peasants, bricklayers and the unemployed who can enter the hills from the second half of July, when the season has begun.
Without fail, the copaleros, especially from Jolalpan, Teotlalco (Puebla) and surrounding places, return from the mountain around October 15, because on the 18th of that same month, on the occasion of the feast of San Lucas in Tzicatlán (Puebla) , they sell the copal wholesale directly, since the wholesalers come to buy the white copal and through them the annual distribution is achieved in much of Mexico.
The type of resin called stone, black or tree copal is the one that Chinese copal trees exude naturally, through the wounds that certain insects cause in their bark, it is an aggregate of rounded shape and of brownish or black color.
In addition to the white and stone copals, the copaleros recover myrrh, which are laminar bark fragments, like chips, impregnated with copal resin. This material is obtained by cutting the area of the bark of the tree injured by the scratches that were made to the branches during the resin extraction process.
Another type of Bursera bipinnata copal is the tecopal, a small, rounded structure, very compact and naturally configured, with anthill stones amalgamated with copal resin. It is a particularly therapeutic product with a value equal to or greater than that of white copal.