Description: The genus includes 100+ species of deciduous and evergreen shrubs and small trees. The benzoin species was first described by Ibn Batuta, an Arab who explored Sumatra around 1325, he referred to it as "luban Jawi," or "frankincense of Java," which over time became "Gum Benjamin" and finally "Benzoin."
The Styrax benzoides tree yields an almond shaped gum resin called Benzoin, collected from deep incisions made into the trunk of the tree. For unknown reasons Benzoin resin is often confused with Storax, which is an entirely different tree found in the area around Turkey and produces a very different aromatic balsam and bark (though they do share some similar balsamic, vanilla-like notes). True Benzoin also gets confused with many sweet aromatic gum resins called Jawi's, from the Middle East and India.
Synonyms: Gum Benjamin, Luban Jawi
Origin: Asia, Europe, Americas
Parts Used: gum resin
Aroma Description: biting top note with undertones of warm, sweet, balsamic, vanilla-like aroma with a touch of cinnamon
Cosmetic Uses: perfumery, aromatherapy; skin healing, powerful anti-oxidant/preservative and fixative in cosmetics and perfumes
Culinary Uses: used for commercial food flavoring
Medicinal Attributes: treats lung congestion, sore throats, coughs and colds. Used in the famous "Friars Balsam" to treat coughs. In Chinese medicine it's used to treat chest and abdominal pains.
Element Association: Air
Magical Associations: Prosperity
Planetary Association: Sun
Aromatic Note: Base note
Essential Oil: Yes, solvent extracted from resin. Used as an aromatic and as a fixative.
Mixes Well With: aloeswood, burgundy pitch, cassia, cinnamon, clove, calamus, copal-black, frankincense, guggul, hibiscus, juniper, lavender, mastic, musk seeds, myrrh, opoponax, palo santo wood, patchouli, rhubarb, rose, saffron, sandalwood, spikenard, star anise, storax, sweetgrass, tolu balsam, vanilla, vetiver, etc.
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