Essential Oil Profile: Elemi

by Jeffrey S. Hoard


Common Name: Elemi

Latin Binomial: Canarium luzonicum

Family: Burseracae

Other Common- Names: Manila elemi, elemi gum, elemi resin

Part Used: Gum resin

Production Method: Steam distillation                                              

Countries of Origin: Native to the Philippines and the Moluccas.

Typical Constituents: Limonen (26.9 – 65%), Elemol (2.8 – 17.3), a-phellandrene (4.3 – 15.1%), Elemiein (1.8 – 10.6%), p-cymene (1,4 – 7.7%), a-pinene (0.4 – 5.4%), 1,8-Cineole (,2.5%), b-Myrcene (0.6 – 2.4%), b- phellandrene (0.8 – 1.6%), Sabinene (1.3 – 5.9%), b-Pinene (0.3 – 1 %), Methyleugenol (0,2 – 0.3%)

Description of Oil: A colorless to pale yellow liquid with a light fresh, balsamic spicy, lemonlike odor.

Description of Plant: A tropical tree up to 30 meters tall.

History, Folklore and Myth: The gum or oleoresin is used locally for skin care, respiratory ailments and as a general stimulant. Elemi was one of the aromatics used by the ancient Egyptians in the embalming process.

Properties and Uses: Used as a tonic for aging skin, infected cuts and wounds, inflammations. It is also good for bronchitis, catarrh and unproductive coughs, nervous exhaustion and stress-related conditions.

Precautions and Contraindications: Non-toxic, non-irritating, non sensitizing.

Other Interesting Information: Elemi oil tends to resinify as it ages. Old or oxidized oils should be avoided.



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

Rose, Jeanne. The Aromatherapy Book: Applications and Inhalations. Berkeley: North Atlantic Books. 1992.

Shutes, Jade. Advanced Aromatherapy Certification Program. East-West School for Herbal and Aromatic Studies. 2014

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