Although many people refer to benzoin essential oil (Styrax benzoin),the oil is technically an absolute made from the resin of the tree. The resin is too thick for the steam distillation process used to make essential oils. Instead, the production process uses a solvent such as hexane to extract a thick oil from the resin.
"Benzoin can be a pathway to understanding when all is confusion. It can assist with choices that must be made with the heart," writes aromatherapist Valerie Ann Worwood in Aromatherapy For the Soul. She goes on to say the emotional benefits of benzoin are to encourage comfort, elevation, peace, and determination while also being soothing, cushioning, and protective.
Styrax benzoin is also called Sumatra benzoin. Don't confuse it with Siam benzoin (Styrax tonkinensis), which has different components and properties and is less commonly used in aromatherapy.
Plant family: Styracaceae
Production: Solvent extraction from the resin that exudes from the trunk of the benzoin tree. Traditionally, the resin was used for incense.
Aroma: Warm, balsamic, vanilla-like.
Perfume/Aromatic note: Base
Is benzoin safe to use during pregnancy? No, according to Aromatherapy and Massage For Mother and Baby.
Is benzoin essential oil safe for children? Do not use on the skin of children under age 2, according to Essential Oil Safety.
Cautions: May irritate sensitive or allergic skin. Do not use the oil on damaged skin. May sensitize skin after prolonged use. This thick oil may clog some types of aromatherapy diffusers.
Source: Essential Oil Safety, 2nd Ed.
Aromatherapy: A Complete Guide to the Healing Art says the scent helps relieve anxiety, emotional blocks, loneliness, or exhaustion, especially when those things are caused a life crisis.
Aromatherapy for Dummies: Benzoin is popular in a cream or salve to protect chapped skin, improve skin elasticity, and reduce redness. The oil is a fixative that when added to potpourri or perfume makes the scent last longer.
The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy: Benzoin may be beneficial for relieving coughs, colds, scar tissue, nervous tension, stress, and emotional crisis.
The Encyclopedia of Essential Oils (updated edition): Use benzoin oil in skin care for cuts, chapped skin, and inflamed and irritated conditions. The oil is also useful for relieving arthritis, gout, chills, colic, coughs, flu, nervous tension, and stress-related conditions.
The Aromatherapy Bible: Benzoin is "cuddly" and "its sweet fragrance comforts people who are sad, lonely, alienated, depressed and bereaved."
Aromatherapy For Healing the Spirit: In Traditional Chinese Medicine benzoin is one of the most important oils for deficient yang energy of the spleen-pancreas. The oil is also useful for asthma that has a cold, catarrhal nature with clear or white mucous and may help relieve sore throats with hoarseness or loss of voice. Emotionally, benzoin calms, centers, and reassures.
Aromatica: A Clinical Guide to Essential Oil Therapeutics, Volume 2: Benzoin is valuable for respiratory, urogenital, and skin conditions. Use the oil in liniments for sore throat and voice loss. The oil may also help relieve cold, painful rheumatic-arthritic conditions.
Subtle Aromatherapy: Benzoin has a strongly energizing effect on the first chakra. The oil is useful if you need to increase physical strength and energy.
The Essential Guide to Aromatherapy and Vibrational Healing: Benzoin encourages transformation through dreams and powerful meditation experiences. The oil also supports mental clarity through focused thinking.
Aromatherapy and Subtle Energy Techniques: Benzoin oil grounds, strengthens, supports, and comforts. Especially useful for the sixth chakra to steady and focus the mind.
Mixing Essential Oils for Magic: Use benzoin to attract money, comfort, and success; for protection; and to clear negativity to make room for prosperity. The oil also awakens the mind for inspiration and reaching higher levels of consciousness.
Important: Before using benzoin on a large area of skin, spot test to make sure you're not sensitive to the oil.
Use suggestions from Essential Oils: All Natural Remedies:
Authentic Aromatherapy suggests using benzoin to make an air freshener, especially in winter blends and for parties and celebrations.
Suggestions adapted from Aromatherapy: The Complete Guide to Plant and Flower Essences for Health and Beauty by Danièle Ryman:
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