Damar gum is obtained from the Dipterocarpaceae family of trees in India and East Asia (Sumatra in the case of this product), principally those of the genera Shorea, Balanocarpus, or Hopea. Most is produced by tapping trees, however some is collected in fossilized form from the ground. The gum varies in colour from clear to pale yellow, while the fossilized form is grey-brown.
It is used in foods, as either a clouding or a glazing agent, in the making of incense, varnishing and in other processes. Damar was first introduced as a picture varnish in 1826 and is commonly referred to as Damar varnish.
The name is a Malay word meaning “resin” or “torch made from resin”.