A resin of balsam, benzoin has been used for over 100 years. It’s obtained by wounding the bark of Styrax benzoin trees age 7 years or older. Benzoin can also be obtained from the bark of S. paralleloneurus and S. tonkinensis.
Common doses of Benzoin
Benzoin comes as compound benzoin tincture USP, which contains 10% benzoin, 2% aloe, 8% storax, 4% tolu balsam, and 75% to 83% alcohol. It’s also an ingredient in some cold-sore lotions, creams, and ointments. Some experts recommend the following doses:
- By steam inhalation, add approximately 5 milliliters of compound benzoin tincture to 1 pint of hot water, and inhale. Or place the tincture on a handkerchief and inhale.
- For mucous membrane protection (adults and children over age 6 months), apply a few drops topically no more than once every 2 hours. Use in infants only under medical supervision.
Why people use Benzoin herb
- As an antiseptic
- As an expectorant
- As a wound adhesive
- Pain from canker sores, inflamed gums and oral herpas sores
Side effects of Benzoin
Contact your health care practitioner if you experience any of these possible side effects of benzoin:
- allergic reactions
- asthma (when inhaled)
- skin irritation
If ingested, benzoin can cause stomach inflammation or digestive tract bleeding.
Combining herbs with certain drugs may alter their action or produce unwanted side effects. Tell your health care practitioner about any prescription or nonprescription drugs you’re taking.
Important points to remember
- Don’t inhale benzoin if you have asthma.
- Know that benzoin is poisonous if taken internally.
- Avoid benzoin if you have a history of allergic reactions, asthma, or skin irritation.
- Be aware that topical benzoin use can discolor the skin and cause skin irritation.
- Know that inhaling the volatile steam of benzoin isn’t effective. Consider using un medicated water vapor instead.
What the research shows
Most clinical information about benzoin comes from case reports and the herb’s long history of use in numerous medical specialties. Such information shows that the herb is inferior to other products in protecting the skin and mucous membranes and as a wound adhesive.
Although people have been inhaling compound benzoin tincture for many years, the practice has never been studied systematically. Experts believe inhaling plain steam is probably just as effective-maybe more so.
As for benzoin’s use in protecting the skin and mucous membranes, experts don’t recommend the herb because it can cause allergic reactions and because many conventional antiseptics have proven to be effective.
Other names for Benzoin : –
Other names for benzoin include benjamin ttee, benzoe, benzoin ttee, gum benjamin, Siam benzoin, and Sumatta benzoin.
Products containing benzoin are sold under such names as Balsam of the Holy Victorious Knight, Friar’s Balsam, Jerusalem Balsam, Pfeiffer’s Cold Sore Preparation, Turlington’s Balsam Of Life, Ward’s, and Balsam.