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Herbs & Plants

Styrax benzoin

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Botanical Name :Styrax benzoin
Family: Styracaceae
Genus: Styrax
Species: S. benzoin
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Ericales

Synonyms:  Gum Benzoin. Gun Benjamin. Siam Benzoin. Sumatra Benzoin.

Common Names:Gum benjamin tree, Loban(in Arabic), Kemenyan(in Indonesia and Malaysia), Onycha, , Siam, Sumatra and Java.

Habitat :Styrax benzoin is a species of tree native to Sumatra in Indonesia.

Description:
It is a common member of the forests of Sumatra, where it grows to about 12 meters in maximum height.

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Benzoin is a balsamic resin. Normally the trees do not produce it or any substance analogous to it, but the infliction of a wound sufficiently severe to injure the cambium results in the formation of numerous oleoresin ducts in which the secretion is produced, it is, therefore, a pathological product. The trunk of the tree is hacked with an axe, and after a time the liquid Benzoin either accumulates beneath the bark or exudes from the incisions.CLICK & SEE   When it has sufficiently hardened it is collected and exported, either in the form of loose pieces (tears) or in masses packed in oblong boxes or in tins; several varieties are known, but Siam and Sumatra Benzoins are the most important. The incisions are made when the tree is seven years old, and in Sumatra each tree yields about 3 lb. annually for ten or twelve years. The first three years’ collections give the finest Benzoin; after that the runnings are known as the ‘belly,’ and finally the tree is cut down and the resin scraped out, this being termed the ‘foot.’ Siam Benzoin externally is reddish yellow, internally milky white, has an agreeable odour, recalling vanilla, contains benzoic acid but not cinnamic acid. Sumatra Benzoin is always in blocks of a dull reddish or greyish-brown colour. Fine qualities have a strong storax-like odour, quite distinct from the vanilla odour of the Siamese variety. Sumatra Benzoin contains cinnamic acid.

Constituents:  The chief constituent of Siam Benzoin is benzoic acid (up to 38 per cent.), partly free and partly combined with benzoresinol and siaresinotannol; it also contains vanillin and an oily aromatic liquid. When quite pure it should be entirely soluble in alcohol and yield only traces of ash. Sumatra benzoin contains 18 per cent. or more of benzoic acid and about 20 per cent. of cinnamic acid the latter partly free and partly combined with benzoresinol and sumarisinotannol; it also contains 1 per cent. of vanillin, styrol, styracin, phenyl-prophyl cinnamate and benzaldehyde, all of which combine to produce its characteristic odour.

Medicinal Uses:
Properties: * AntiCancer * Antiperspirant/Deodorants * Antirheumatic * Aromatic * Cardiac tonic Cordial * Carminative * Circulation * Diuretic * Expectorant * Muscle Relaxant * Sedative * Vulnerary

* Aromatherapy * Asthma * Bronchitis * Eczema * Rheumatoid_arthritis
Properties: * AntiCancer * Antiperspirant/Deodorants * Antirheumatic * Aromatic * Cardiac tonic Cordial * Carminative * Circulation * Diuretic * Expectorant * Muscle Relaxant * Sedative * Vulnerary
It is used externally in the form of a tincture, diluted with water as a mild stimulant and antiseptic in irritable conditions of the skin. It acts as a carminative when taken internally is rapidly absorbed, and mildly expectorant diuretic and antiseptic to the urinary passages. In the form of Compound Tincture of Benzoin, it is used as an inhalant with steam in laryngitis and bronchitis. It is a preservative of fats, and is used for that purpose in Adips Benzoatus.

Skin Care: Use benzoin resin in external skin applications to heal cuts and sooth inflammation of rough cracked skin. Benzoin is indicated for use where there is redness, irritation, or itching, such as eczema. The dark, vanilla-like resin also acts as an anchoring base note for aromatherapy blends and as a fixative in perfumery.

Cold Conditions: Use Benzoin in massage blends and aromatherapy applications for all cold conditions of the respiratory system ( related to the lungs). Colds, influenza, coughs, and bronchitis all benefit from benzoin, as well as cold conditions of the joints such as gout and rheumatoid arthritis

Other Uses:
Styrax benzoin is cultivated as a main source of benzoin resin in Indonesia. It is also grown as an ornamental tree for shade in West Africa.

Safety Information:
Syntex benzoin resin may cause possible skin sensitivity and contact dermatitis.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider

 

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Styrax_benzoin
http://www.anniesremedy.com/herb_detail5.php
http://www.aromaweb.com/essential-oils/benzoin-absolute.asp

http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/b/benzoi31.html

 

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Categories
Herbs & Plants

Copal

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Botanical Name: Protium copal
Common Name: Copal, Pom

Habitat :Protium copal is native to Guatemalan in South America, also grows in several places in Africa

Description:
Copal is a name given to tree resin that is particularly identified with the aromatic resins used by the cultures of pre-Columbian Mesoamerica as ceremonially burned incense and other purposes. More generally, the term copal describes resinous substances in an intermediate stage of polymerization and hardening between “gummier” resins and amber. The word copal is derived from the Nahuatl language word copalli, meaning “incense
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To the pre-Columbian Maya and contemporary Maya peoples it is known in the various Mayan languages as pom (or a close variation thereof), although the word itself has been demonstrated to be a loanword to Mayan from Mixe–Zoquean languages.

Copal is still used by a number of indigenous peoples of Mexico and Central America as an incense and during sweat lodge ceremonies.  It is available in different forms. The hard, amber-like yellow copal is a less expensive version. The white copal, a hard, milky, sticky substance, is a more expensive version of the same resin.

Copal was also grown in East Africa, (the common species there being Hymenaea verrucosa) initially feeding an Indian Ocean demand for incense. By the 18th Century, Europeans found it to be a valuable ingredient in making a good wood varnish. It became widely used in the manufacture of furniture and carriages. By the late 19th and early 20th century varnish manufacturers in England and America were using it on train carriages, greatly swelling its demand.

In 1859 Americans consumed 68 percent of the East African trade, which was controlled through the Sultan of Zanzibar, with Germany receiving 24 percent. The American Civil War and the creation of the Suez Canal led to Germany, India and Hong Kong taking the majority by the end of that century.

East Africa apparently had a higher amount of subfossil copal, which is found one or two meters below living copal trees from roots of trees that may have lived thousands of years earlier. This subfossil copal produces a harder varnish. Subfossil copal is also well-known from New Zealand (Kauri gum), Japan, the Dominican Republic, Colombia and Madagascar. It often has inclusions and is sometimes sold as “young amber”. Copal can be easily distinguished from genuine amber by its lighter citrine colour and its surface getting tacky with a drop of acetone or chloroform

Medicinal Uses:
Chickleros who stayed in the bush for months relied on fresh copal resin to treat painful cavities, a piece of resin was stuffed into the cavity and, in a few days, the tooth broke apart and was easily expelled. The bark is scraped, powdered, and applied to wounds, sores, and infections.  Cut a piece of bark 2.5 cm x 15 cm; boil in 3 cups of water for 10 minutes and drink 1 cup before meals for stomach complaints and intestinal parasites.  It is also used as a remedy for fright and dizziness.

Disclaimer:
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://belize.com/copal.html
http://www.marc.ucsb.edu/elpilar/features/trail/documents/plants/copal.htm
http://waynesword.palomar.edu/ecoph22.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Copal_with_insects_close-up.jpg

Categories
Herbs & Plants

Ailanthus triphysa

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Botanical Name : Ailanthus triphysa.
Family: Simaroubaceae
Genus: Ailanthus
Species: A. altissima
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Sapindales
Syn. A. malabarica DC

Common Name : Guggula dhup, Gugguldhup, Baga-dhoopa, Hal-maddi, Mahanimba, Perumaram, Peddamanu.
Common names in Australia include White Bean, White Siris and Ferntop Ash.
(English) : white palle
(Tamil) : mattipal, peru, perumaram
(Trade name) : white palle

Habitat :-Ailanthus triphysa is an Asian and Australian rainforest tree.It occurs in India, Sri Lanka, China, Malaysia, Burma, Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia and Vietnam. In Australia, Ailanthus triphysa occurs in Western Australia, Queensland and as far south as the Clarence River (New South Wales).

Description:-
A medium to tall evergreen tree to 35 metres high and width of 80 cm. The trunk is not buttressed, straight and cylindrical. The bark is grey, somewhat rough and resembling sandpaper to the touch.
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Leaves are pinnate, curved and sickle shaped drawn out to a point. Particularly oblique at the base. Venation is prominent, the net veins more obvious under the leaf.

Flowers are creamy green, flowering in November to January in Australia. The fruit is a samara, often forming in threes.

Leaves crowded at end of branches, imparipinnate, 15–45 cm long; leaflets numerous (15–61) mostly oblong-lanceolate to lanceolate, often falcate, 3–10 cm long, 10–20 mm wide, apex acuminate, base strongly asymmetric, margins entire, both surfaces glabrous or lower surface pubescent; petiole 4–8 cm long; petiolules 2–5 mm long.

Panicles 5–7 cm long. Calyx lobes < 1 mm long. Petals 2.5–5 mm long, creamish green, ± glabrous. Stamens 3–6 mm long in male flowers. Carpels 2–4; styles fused or free at base. Samara mostly 4.5–6 cm long, 15–20 cm wide, brownish.

Medicinal Uses:
The resin is used for medicinal purposes in India.

Other Uses:
The timber is also of value; being light, white and soft, it is easily worked. The resin (halmaddi) is also used in the manufacture of trad. Nag Champa incense sticks. The (scented) resin of Ailanthus triphysa is applied to the split bamboo sticks after which the sticks are again covered in powdered sandal wood and plumeria pollen. The resin has the advantage of remaining in a semi solid pliable state as it absorbs moisture from the air. It is also used in the manufature of other resinous dhoop incense.

Products:
Timber: Wood is used for making boats, matches, fishing floats and weaponry accessories e.g. sword handles and spear sheaths. Gum or resin: A gum is obtained from stem cuttings of A. triphysa. Tannin or dyestuff: A dye obtained from the plant’s leaves stains satin black Essential oil: Aromatic oils are obtained from the bark. Medicine: The plant roots, leaves, bark and gum exudates are used as medicine in India.

Services:
Shade or shelter: A useful shade provider. Soil improver: Leaf litter of A. triphysa on decomposition restores soil fertility. Ornamental: A tree often planted for aesthetic purposes. Intercropping: Used as live stakes for supporting black pepper (Piper nigrum). Other services: The dried bark and gum exudates are burnt as incense.

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ailanthus_triphysa
http://plantnet.rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au/cgi-bin/NSWfl.pl?page=nswfl&lvl=sp&name=Ailanthus~triphysa
http://www.saveourwaterwaysnow.com.au/01_cms/details.asp?ID=629

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