Name: Styrax

Styrax – Styrax bensoin Dry and., S. sumatranum JJSmith, 



Styrax species grow in Tropical Asia – India, Burma, Indochina, Malaysia, Indonesia. There are also industrial crops.

Large trees. The leaves are ovate-oblong, short-petiolate, covered with a white fluff of stellate hairs below. Inflorescences are collected in small panicles. The flowers are small; calyx of 5 sepals; 5-dimensional corolla almost separate-petalled; 5 stamens grow together in a circle at half their height. All parts of the flower are covered with hairs. The fruit is a capsule containing one seed.

Types of styrax are sources of Rsina Benzoe – benzoin resin. To extract the resin, the bark is beaten, then cuts are made, from which a white resinous juice flows out, which soon solidifies into a hard resin. The resin of young trees is a mass of brown color with large yellowish-white patches. The resin of old trees is dark brown. Initially, the tree does not contain any special resin containers or resin, and only after the storage of the tree, after a while, the resin begins to stand out. Microscopic examination at this time can be observed the development of lysogenic cavities. After cutting, the tree dies and is used for fuel.

Several varieties of benzoin resin are commercially available, the main ones being Siamese (Rsina Benzo Siam) and Sumatran (Rsina Benzoe Sumatrana). More valuable Siamese benzoin. It consists of a light brown, slightly translucent ground mass, containing more or less light, often milky-white “tears”. Sumatran benzoin has the appearance of large, hard, brittle lumps.


It consists of a reddish-gray or brown mass with numerous “tears”, milky-white on a fresh break, but soon becoming yellowish. The melting point of the main mass 95°C. The smell of benzoin resin is pleasant, reminiscent of vanilla. The taste is weak. It burns weakly, smokes and at the same time melts, spreading fragrant, but somewhat irritating fumes. Soluble in alcohol and ether, but very little in hot water. When mixing an alcohol solution of benzoin resin with water, a milky-white liquid is obtained from suspended resin droplets.

Benzoic resin contains 65-70% coniferyl ester of benzoic acid (coniferyl benzoate), 10-15% p-coumaryl benzoate, up to 12% free benzoic acid, up to 6% siaresinolic acid, cinnamic ester of cinnamic acid (0.5-6%) and within 0.3% of vanillin, formed as a result of the oxidation of coniferyl benzoate.


It is used as an expectorant in chronic catarrhs ​​of the respiratory tract, as well as an external antiseptic in the treatment of eczema. Included in cosmetic ointments and lotions to remove freckles and age spots.

The plant contains resin.



Like essential oils, resins are complex mixtures of various organic compounds. In plants, they are often present simultaneously with essential oils, but may be accompanied by substances from other groups of natural compounds – gums, tannins, sterols, sometimes rubber.

According to the primary composition, there are three main groups of natural resins:

– resins (actually) – Rsina;

– oil-resin, or balms, – Olea-resina, or Balsama. These are liquid resins, which are natural solutions of resins in their own essential oil;

– gum resins – Gummi-resina. These are liquid (in living plants) mixtures of gums and resins dissolved in essential oil (more precisely, Cummi-olea-resina).

The resins themselves, freed from accompanying substances, like the components of essential oils, are also terpenoids, but more complex, belonging mainly to the class of diterpenes (C 20 H 32 ).

Resin hydrocarbons (for example, pimaradiene), their oxygen derivatives, resinol or resin acids (for example, abietic and pimaric acids) and resinol or resin alcohols (for example, cafestol) are distinguished among resin diterpenes.


Among the resinols, rezitannols or tannols, which have the properties of tannins, are distinguished into a special group. Resinols can form esters.

The constituent substances of resins can be triterpene acids and alcohols – derivatives of a- and b-amirin (for example, mastic tree), lignans (for example, guaiac resin), etc.

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