As incense, resin is best burned on charcoal or in a fire and emits a high quality, pure aroma - something that can come as a surprise, as prior to burning there's practically no scent at all! Copal resin from Central America comes in three varieties - white, gold/golden and black.
The white form has a light, bright, fruity scent. It's said to be cleansing for the spirit and can help with mental and spiritual work. Unlike the other forms, white is harvested as a liquid then left until it's dried out.
Gold or golden copal resin has a richer and smoother aroma than white, with warmer, more exotic overtones. It's believed to help open the soul and can stimulate imagination, intuition and creativity. Due to its golden yellow colour, the Mayans typically burnt it at sunrise to honour the sun god.
Black or night copal, as it's sometimes called, has the heaviest fragrance. It's often described as mystical and mysterious and is said to carry the "secret energies of the night." It's regarded as a grounding and calming fragrance, helping people connect to the deeper levels of their soul. It's burned a lot in Mexico, but particularly on the Day of the Dead, when it's said to be used to help souls find their way back home.
Each of the copal resin types is useful in a healing capacity. They can be used on their own or combined together.