The gum-like resin has a strong taste, and is probably a deterrent to excessive damage.
Some Commiphora species are favoured by elephants and in some areas the trees are destroyed in great numbers. In the Mapungubwe National Park, in northern Limpopo Province, for example, the damage to these trees is severe. Often the very old trees are targeted and almost destroyed completely.
The fact that many Commiphora species exude a resin with a pleasant odour and healing properties has been known since ancient times. Best known are the plants that produce myrrh and balm. Myrrh from Commiphora myrrha is mentioned in the Bible as one of the three gifts presented to the Christ child by the Wise Men. Commiphora gileadensis relates to the ‘Balm of Gilead', which was used for its fragrance as well as healing properties.