Benzoinum (An Xi Xiang)
Botanical Name: Styrax benzoin
In the West, benzoin, the resin made from the tree Styrax benzoin, is used to treat wounds and treat lung disease. In the East the resin is used to revive people from sudden loss of consciousness or delirium, including postpartum coma. The essential oil is commonly used to relieve the aches and pains of rheumatism and arthritis. Benzoin swabsticks are commonly used in hospitals to help prevent infection and heal mouth sores.
Below is an overview of Benzoinum (An Xi Xiang), combining and interpreting the best of Western Science, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Shamanism, Folklore and more. Gain a balanced and thorough understanding of the healing properties of Benzoinum (An Xi Xiang).
Western Name: Benzoinum
Also Known As: Benzoin, Gum Benzoin
Key Western Actions & Medicinal Uses: Expectorant, Antiseptic, Carminative, Disinfectant, Relaxant, Anti-inflammatory, Anti-rheumatic, Diuretic, Antidepressant. Opens air-passages, laryngitis, croup, asthma, heals wounds, protects skin from the repeated irritation of changing bandages, canker sores, fever blisters, eases muscle aches.
Pin Yin: An Xi Xiang (translates as “Peaceful Rest Fragrance”)
Also Known As: N/A
Meridians: Heart, Liver, Spleen, Opens the Orifices
Key Eastern Actions & Medicinal Uses: Opens the Orifices/Resolves Phlegm/Awakens the Spirit (Shen): Wind stroke, collapse due to Phlegm or Qi (Energy) stagnation, delirium, coma, post-partum coma, stifling sensation in the chest, depression, anxiety. Moves Blood (Xue)/Moves Qi (Energy)/Alleviates Pain: Chest and abdominal pain due to Qi (Energy) and Blood (Xue) stagnation, arthritis, rheumatism. Unblocks the Channels/Relieves Pain: For Wind-Cold Damp conditions such as muscle aches, joint pain, difficulty moving, congested respiratory passages, asthma, bronchitis
Parts Most Frequently Used: Resin
Flavors/Temps: Acrid, Bitter, Neutral
Caution: In China it is not used in cases of Fire caused by Yin deficiency.
History/Folklore: The plant’s main constituent, benzoin, exerts a stimulating influence on mucous tissues and is used as an expectorant to treat chronic diseases of the lungs. It is especially effective against bronchitis, tuberculosis, asthma, and pneumonia. In China, it is used to treat coma, stifling feelings in the chest, and joints and muscles that have difficulty moving. It is also used to treat pain.
Benzoin powder can be mixed with hot water and boiled. The steam can is then inhaled to help soothe sore throats, treat asthma, and soothe inflamed respiratory passages. Its scent is somewhat medicinal smelling with a hint of vanilla.
The essential oil has antidepressant, disinfectant, relaxant, expectorant, vulnerary, astringent, carminative, anti-inflammatory, anti-rheumatic and sedating properties.
The essential oil is widely used as an incense in religious ceremonies the world over. Gently inhaled, benzoin smoke or fumes are detected by smell receptors in the nasal passages that stimulate the nervous system. This triggers improved circulation, relieves anxiety, stimulates the heartbeat, uplifts feelings of depression, and tranquilizes.
The essential oil protects open wounds from becoming infected. The constituents benzaldehyde, benzoic acid, and benzyl benzoate that are found in benzoin oil, are highly germicidal, bactericidal, fungicidal, and antiviral substances. Applied to a wound the essential oil, or paste made from the benzoin powder, can help prevent sepsis. It can also help heal dry cracking skin.
Benzoin essential oil can also help promote urination. It will increase frequency and quantity helping to remove toxins from the blood and lowering blood pressure, and weight loss.
Benzoin oil stimulates the secretion of enzymes and hormones like insulin from the endocrinal glands, such as the pancreas, lowering blood sugar levels and helping to regulate other metabolic functions.
In China a kind of gum is produced from the tree’s resinous balsam that is obtained from making incisions into the bark of trees that are 5-20 years old. The resin is first tapped from 5-10 year old trees from April through September. After that it is tapped every Summer and Fall for another 7-10 years. The white milky resin produced in the beginning of the tree’s production of resin is called “White Tears.” The brownish resin produced in the final years of the tree’s resin producing years is considered inferior to the white resin and is called “Belly benzoin.”
Benzoin resin is firm, brittle, easily pulverized with an agreeable balsamic odor when rubbed.
A typical dosage is 0.3 -1.5g in pill or powder form. The pale brown or brownish-red resin is often used medicinally.
The resin is NOT to be confused with the fungus, or mushroom, known as Ishnoderma benzoinum. Ischnoderma benzonium is a fungus (mushroom) of the genus polygore fungi in the family fomitospidaceae. They are dark brown with tomentose fruit bodies that become brown to black and smooth as they mature. They are used to make dark brown dyes, and are NOT the same herbal substance as the resin from the tree Styrax benzoin.
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Volatile oil, about 75% Amorphous resins, 18% Benzoin acid, Sumaresinolic acid, Coniferyl cinnamate,
Lubanyl cinnamate, Phenylprolyl cinnamate, Vanillin, Cinnamic acid.
The herbal resin from Styrax benzoin can be used by itself as a powder placed in boiling water for pain.
Post-partum Coma & Strokes
Benzoinum resin is used to treat post-partum coma and strokes caused by Wind-Damp and Phelgm.
Water and Alcohol Soluble
Pure benzoin is wholly soluble in water or alcohol.
References: For a complete list of references please visit our References and Resources page.
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