BENZOIN ABSOLUTE
quantity in basket: none
code: 15007

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Latin Binomial: Styrax benzoin
Plant Part: Resin
Extraction: Absolute
Growing Practice: Ethical
Country of Origin: Indonesia
Odor Type: BASALMIC

Odor Characteristics Odor is sweet-balsamic with a vanilla note and slight hint of cinnamon.

Refractive Index: 1.46000 to 1.62500 @ 20.00 °C.
Specific Gravity: 1.1535 to 1.1809 @ 15.00 °C
Appearance: viscous liquid
BioChemical Class: Ester
CAS No: 9000-72-0

About the Plant

Styrax is a genus of about 130 species, including benzoin from the Styracaceae family, native to warm temperate to tropicala regions of the Northern Hemisphere, with the majority in eastern and southeastern Asia. The tree grows up to 30-35 feet in height and is deciduous or evergreen depending on climate. It has simple, ovate leaves and pendulous white flowers with a 5-10-lobed corolla, on dense panicles. Fruit is an oblong drupe, smooth with no ribs. In recent years, research on tropical forest conservation has increasingly focused on traditional management systems as a means of achieving a balance between conservation and development. Styrax, being a forest canopy tree is included.

History

Indigenous cultures incorporated benzoin into incenses for its sweet and soothing odor, believing that such incense could drive away evil spirits. Buddhist and Hindu priests burn benzoin incense to invite divine inspiration and heighten spiritual awareness. It has been used in early Ayurveda to treat shingles, ringworm and other skin disorders, and in Asia to heal sores on the feet. It was sometimes added to animal fats for use in enfleurage in making jasmine and tuberose absolutes in India, to add vanilla tones and to add properties that retarded rancidity. Tincture of benzoin (friar's balsam) was used to help warm chills, fight influenza, soothe sore throats, coughs and laryngitis and was thought to improve circulation, promote urination, relieve congestion and dispell gas. Ballerinas applied friar's balsam to heal abused feet.
Aromatherapy: Benzoin has the action of its constituents, benzoic acid, cinnamic acid, and resins. It is used externally, in the form of tincture diluted with water, as a mild stimulant and antiseptic in irritable conditions of the skin. The resin-absolute has not been thoroughly researched for use in aromatherapy. Aromatically, for inhalation, it imparts a warm, soothing scent and can be relaxing and soothing for frazzled nerves. Used in meditation blends, its sweet scent is sensuous, exotic and slightly euphoric.

Perfumery: The "almond" grade of Sumatra benzoin is considered the most suitable for perfumery and is produced by alcohol or benzene solution, called a resin-absolute. Siam benzoin is considered superior for delicate perfumery, however, Sumatran is perfectly adequate for most perfume applications, including the more balsamic, sharp-florals, like hyacinth, new mown hay, etc. It works well as a fixative.

Robert Tisserand and Tony Balacs report benzoin to be non-toxic to skin, a moderate irritant to skin with no sensitization and non-phototoxic. Materials were tested at concentrations ranging between 1% and 30%.

The information provided on these pages is not a substitute for necessary medical care, nor intended as medical advice. Always keep aromatic extracts tightly closed and in a cool, dark place, out of reach of children. Never ingest aromatic extracts. Always dilute aromatic extracts when applying topically and avoid areas around eyes or mucous membranes. If redness or irritation occurs, stop using immediately and contact your health provider if necessary.