Styrax tonkinensis

Benzoin is basically a balmy resin that is collected by removing the bark of trees in the genus Styrax and making an incision in the trunk. Benzoin is available in a variety of forms ranging from firm brown to fragile white pieces. It is not necessary to fell the Styrax or rain forest trees to obtain the resin, for making a deep incision on the trunk of the tree allows the sap to ooze out in abundance. Moreover, even when a deep incision is made on the tree trunk, the tree has the ability to heal itself. Interestingly enough, though the Styrax trees are related to coniferous family, they do not produce any cones - a common feature of almost all coniferous trees.

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Benzoin trees are said to be indigenous to Thailand and Sumatra in Asia and owing to its pleasant aroma, it is widely used in making incense. Benzoin is also generally referred to as 'friar's balsam'. Special care needs to be taken to obtain superior quality oil from the resin. Although benzoin is also known as gum benzoin or gum Benjamin, it is actually not a gum since the resin is not a polysaccharide that is soluble in water. In order to convert benzoin into a liquid form, it needs to be passed through a number of processes. As mentioned earlier, benzoin essential oil is obtained from the resin oozed out of the trunk of the benzoin tree, usually found in Thailand, Malaysia and East Indies in Asia.

The essential oil extracted from benzoin resin possesses a sugary aroma, resembling that of vanilla. This oil is a superb addition to aromatherapy blends. In addition, benzoin oil also has the aptitude to function as an adhesive that denotes that the fragrance of the oil does not grow fainter. On the contrary, the aroma of benzoin oil increases as it ages and owing to this property of the oil, it is generally used to manufacture deodorizers and air fresheners. In addition, this oil also forms an important ingredient in several perfumes and products intended for body care. Benzoin oil possesses soothing properties and helps to lessen tetchiness. Moreover, the oil also helps to invigorate the mind and emotions.

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Benzoin essential oil extracted from the resin of different species of genus Styrax trees possess a warm and vanilla-like fragrance, it is stable, dense in uniformity and very slow to pour. When kept in cold conditions, benzoin essential oil solidifies quickly, but returns to its liquid form when it is brought back in room temperature.

Benzoin essential oil possesses numerous therapeutic properties and is widely used in aromatherapy. The use of this oil in aromatherapy helps to elevate the spirits as well as keep depression and felling of loneliness at bay. At the same time, benzoin essential oil soothes the nerves and brings about tranquility or peace. Use of benzoin essential oil is also beneficial for the respiratory system as it facilitates expulsion of fluid wastes from the lungs. In addition, it provides a soothing effect to the digestive system and also controls the blood sugar levels.

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Precisely speaking, benzoin essential oil is basically an oleoresin - a blend of a resin and an essential oil. This unstable essential oil is effective for treating dry and cracked skin, enhancing suppleness and lessening the redness of the skin. At the same time, topical application of benzoin essential oil also alleviates itching and irritation. In fact, this oil is known to be of immense help in relieving irritating or prickly skin conditions.

As aforesaid, benzoin essential oil is extracted from the resin released by the bark of benzoin trees and is scientifically denoted to as Styrax benzoin. This essential oil possesses a golden hue. It is a gelatinous liquid that is endowed with numerous therapeutic or remedial properties.

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Benzoin essential oil uses

Application of benzoin essential oil offers numerous medical benefits. Below is a brief list of some of the specific and important applications and uses of this oil.

  • Benzoin essential oil extracted from the resin of benzoin trees is used as a tranquilizer as well as a relaxant to lessen tension and strain. In addition, use of this oil provides relief from tension, fretfulness, nervousness and trauma.
  • Benzoin essential oil is a very strong stimulant and also works as an anti-depressant agent. Use of this oil helps to enhance one's fortitude and, at the same time, improves the mood. Owing to its sweet and vanilla-like aroma, this oil also forms an important ingredient in manufacturing incense sticks, which emit the typical fragrance of benzoin essential oil. This fragrance helps to invigorate the brain and cheers up the mood.
  • Benzoin essential oil also possesses potent antiseptic properties and is useful for eliminating microbes. Hence, it also possesses anti-microbial characteristics.
  • This essential oil is also a potent diuretic and promotes the outflow of urine, which, in turn, facilitates eliminating toxic and waste products from the body. In effect, benzoin essential oil also works as a detoxifying agent for our body.
  • Owing to its anti-microbial properties, benzoin essential oil is also useful as a disinfectant and is used widely to treat infections caused by bacteria, fungus or virus.
  • At the same time, the essential oil extracted from the resin oozed out of the trunks benzoin trees is a powerful carminative (a substance that helps in eliminating gas from the stomach) and is also anti-flatulent. As this oil possesses relaxing properties, it is able to provide relief from muscle tension in the abdominal region, which facilitates relieving gas from the stomach and intestines. Precisely speaking, benzoin essential oil is effective in toning the digestive system as it is helpful in preventing the accumulation of gas in the intestines.
  • The sweet and vanilla-like pleasant aroma of benzoin essential oil is extensively used as an important element in the manufacture of deodorants. The potent aroma of this oil not only helps to stifle the foul body odour, while its anti-microbial properties enable the oil in the deodorant to eliminate the germs responsible for the foul body odour. In addition, benzoin essential oil may also be used as a massage oil with a view to tone up the body skin as well as kill the germs causing bad body odour.
  • The cosmetic industry has high regard for benzoin essential oil for its properties to tone the body, especially the muscles and skin. This oil is extensively used as an astringent to firm up the muscles and skin or keep them in shape.
  • Benzoin essential oil also possesses anti-inflammatory properties and hence, it is used to alleviate inflammation when one is suffering from chicken pox and measles. When used in such conditions, the oil soothes the body.
  • Owing to the disinfectant characteristic of benzoin essential oil, it is also used as an expectorant. This oil helps to clear the congested respiratory tract and draw out cough and bacteria that cause infections.
  • As benzoin essential oil is antiseptic, its use on open wounds and injuries helps to protect the area from becoming septic.
  • In addition, benzoin functions similar to a pulmonary antiseptic. Benzoin essential oil is used as an inhalant to force out mucus or phlegm and provide relief from the congestion of the respiratory tract.
  • The essential oil extracted from the resin of benzoin trees is also an effective medication to assuage the condition of one's heels. This oil fills up the cracked skin in the heels providing relief and comfort.
  • Usage of this essential oil is beneficial for people having stiff and cold joints. It is also effective in stimulating the blood circulation throughout the body.
  • Benzion essential oil is widely used to massage women in their post natal period. In addition, massaging this essential oil helps to provide warmth and comfort to people who might be feeling chilly sensitively.
  • Women in their post natal period use this oil to take care of their body. Creams or gels containing benzoin essential oil are applied topically to heal cracked and throbbing nipples.
  • Benzoin essential oil is mixed with lemon oil to create a blended cream that helps in healing coarse and cracked skin on the hands. As mentioned earlier, this essential oil is useful to treat cracked and dry skin as well as sores.

General properties

  • relaxing
  • sedative
  • warming

Blends well with

General uses


While the essential oil extracted from the trunk of the trees belonging to the genus Styrax possesses several therapeutic properties and is used to treat a number of conditions, this oil should never be used internally. In addition, before you decide to use this essential oil topically to treat any condition, you should always consult your physician and have a skin test done. Remember, use of this oil may cause allergic reactions and, hence, it needs to be used with caution.


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