Essential Oil Profile: Benzoin Absolute

by Amelia E. Stone, RN


Common Name: Benzoin

Latin Binomial: Styrax benzoin

Family: Styracaceae

Other Common Names: gum benjamin,  gum benzoin

Production Method:  solvent extracted

Countries of Origin: Laos

Typical Constituents:  Benzyl benzoate (39.3%), Benzyl alcohol (38.8%), Benzoic acid (18.4%), Ethyl cinnamate (0.8%)

Description of Oil: Resinoid, sticky solid, grayish brown, sweet, like vanilla

Description of Plant: A large tropical tree with pale green citrus-like leaves, bearing hard-shelled flattish fruit about the size of a nutmeg

History, Folklore and Myth: Used in cosmetics for hundreds of years.  Ancient peoples considered it a grand remedy for driving away evil spirits.  Said to make the skin clear and brilliant.

Properties and Uses: anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, antiseptic, astringent, carminative, cordial, deodorant, diuretic, expectorant, sedative, styptic, vulnerary

Precautions and Contraindications: HAZARDS: Skin sensitization (low-risk) CAUTIONS DERMAL: Hypersensitive, diseased or damaged skin, children under 2 years.                                                  MAXIMUM ADULT DAILY ORAL DOSE: 368mg.  MAXIMUM DERMAL USE LEVEL: 2%

Other Interesting Information: Used in food categories including alcoholic and soft drinks.

References:  Lawless, Julia. The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oils. Shaftesbury, Dorset. Element Books. 1995.

Tisserand, Robert, and Tony Balacs. Essential Oil Safety: A Guide for Health Care Professionals. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone. 1995.

Sellar, Wanda. The Directory of Essential Oils. London: Random House. 2005

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