Benzoin Gum Powder, 1 oz.
From Frontier Herb Cooperative, 1 oz of Benzoin Gum Powder. For more information about Styrax benzoin, view http://www.treeleavesoracle.org/treelore/?p=1483.
Article by Thomas Baurley, Herbalist for Technogypsie Productions and Tree Leaves’ Oracle Botanicals. October 26, 2014: Technogypsie Press. © 2014: Copyright, All Rights Reserved. Benzoin Gum can be bought from us here: http://www.treeleavesoracle.org/shop/?p=4791
Genus/Species: Kingdom: Plantae; Angiosperms; Eudicots; Asterids; Ericales; Styracaceae : Styrax benzoin.
Common Names: gum benjamin tree, loban, kemenyan, onycha, snowbell, styrax, storax, sumatra benzoin tree, ben, benjamen, gum benzoin, Siam Benzoin, Siamese Benzoin.
Locality: Native to Sumatra in Indonesia. The Genus Styrax is found Warm temperate to tropical regions of the Northern Hemisphere, especially eastern and southeastern Asia.
Description: A common tree in Sumatra growing upwards of 12 meters. The Styrax Genus has over 130 species ranging from shrubs to small trees, one of which the benzoin belongs to. Possesses alternate, deciduous and/or evergreen simple ovate leaves 1-18 cm long and 2-10 cm broad with pendulous 5-10 lobed corolla flowers producing 3-30 on open or dense panicles 5-25 cm long, producing a oblong dry drupe fruit with smooth and/or lacking ribs or narrow wings.
Cultivation: It is harvested primarily for its resin in Indonesia, grown as an ornamental, and a shade tree in West Africa.
Styrax benzoin – Köhler–s Medizinal-Pflanzen-133 – Public Domain image, copyright expired.
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Culinary Uses: It is used to preserve fats.
Common Uses: Commonly used as a base in incense sticks, cones, and mixtures. It is an alternative to storax. The resin which comes from a dried exudation seeping from pierced bark. The chemical “benzoin” in small amounts can be found within as hydrocarbon styrene but too minute to work with today. It was first obtained from the Levant Styrax (Liquidambar orientalis) as an isolate and later industrially used to create styrene that is now used to create polystyrene plastics like styrofoam. The Styrax resin of most species is used for incense, medicines, and perfumes. Often used as an additive to cigarettes. The wood is used for woodworking and handcrafts. It is a common wood used in creating the kokyū (胡弓) or Japanese bowed instrument.
Magical Uses: A Masculine tree, astrologically aligned with the sun, element of air, and holds the powers of purification and prosperity. It is burnt to purify and is added to purification incenses. It is considered a fine “clearing” herb. Use as an incense mixed with cinnamon and basil and burn to attract customers to your place of business. Magical substitution for storax to which it is related.
Medicinal Uses: Minimally researched, but traditionally used in Islamic medicine that if mixed with other antibiotic materials and hardening material creates a good dental restorative material. It is also found as a ingredient in the “Theriaca Andromachi Senioris” Venice treacle recipe in the 1686 “d’Amsterdammer Apotheek”. The alcohol tincture was very popular in the 19th century for antibacterial applications, as first aid for small injuries, a disinfectant, local anesthetic, and used to promote healing. The tincture diluted with water acts as a mild stimulant and antiseptic for skin irritations. If taken internally known to act as a carminative as it is rapidly absorbed. It is a mild expectorant diuretic and antiseptic for urinary passage. In the Tincture of Benzoin, it is used as an inhalant with steam to treat bronchitis and laryngitis.
Folklore/Legend: In the Book of Exodus, the “nataf” of the incense sacred to Yahweh is loosely translated by the Greek term staktḗ (στακτή, AMP: Exodus 30:34) or perhaps as another gum resin term. It is believed by scholars to have referred to Styrax officinalis. If burnt is believed to drive away snakes.
Need Benzoin Gum? Purchase it here: http://www.treeleavesoracle.org/shop/?p=4791
- Botanical.com “Benzoin”. Website referenced 10/26/2014 at http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/b/benzoi31.html.
- Cunningham, Scott 1990 “Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs”. Llwelleyn Press.
- Wikipedia.com “Styrax Benzoin”. Website referenced 10/26/2014 at en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Styrax_benzoin.
- Wikipedia.com “Styrax”. Website referenced 10/26/2014 at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Styrax.