Benzoin is a thick oil which has a rich sweet-balsamic odour. It is traditionally thought to be anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant and antiseptic.
Gum benzoin, gum benjamin
Resinoid, using solvents
Tropical Asia (sumatra)
A large tropical tree measuring up to 20 meters high with pale green leaves that are whitish underneath with a hard shelled flattish fruit. Benzoin is a pathological product produced when the trunk is cut as the tree exudes a balsamic resin which hardens when exposed to air and sunlight.
An orange-brown thick viscous mass with a rich sweet-balsamic odour.
It has been used in the East for thousands of years as medicine and incence as the fumigations were believed to drive away evil spirits. The Chinese herbalists used it for its heating and drying properties, as a urinary antiseptic and as an aid to digestion. In the West it is used as a form of compound, tincture benzoin or Friars Balsam, used for respiratory complaints. It has been used externally for cuts and irritable skin conditions.
Blends well with
Sandalwood, rose, jasmine, frankincense, myrrh, cypress, juniper, lemon, coriander and other spice oils.
Cautions and comments
Non-toxic, non-irritant, possible sensitization
Main chemical constituents
Esters up to 70%, Acids up to 15%.
How to use?
4-5 drops in bath, on tissue or in a vaporiser. 15 drops in 50ml carrier. WARNING – do not apply undiluted or internally. Keep away from children and eyes. Store in cool, dark place.