Originally from the forests of Vietnam and Laos, the Styrax benzoin tree is now commonly found in other parts of South East Asia including Vietnam Malaysia and Indonesia. The tree grows to a height of around 60 meters and bears hairy, oval leaves and greenish yellow flowers.
The benzoin tree is tapped to harvest its gum resin from which the essential oil is derived. Initially, the resin is yellowish in color but after it has thickened takes on a brownish red hue. It has a very pleasant aromatic vanilla type scent because of the presence of vanillin.
Properties of Benzoin essential oil
Research shows that Benzoin essential oil has a number of therapeutic properties which give it a wide variety of medical uses. Benzoin oil is antidepressant, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, anti-rheumatic and astringent.
It also has carminative, diuretic, vulnerary, sedative, deodorant and disinfectant properties all of which serve a number of health and practical benefits. The major components of benzoin essential oil are benzoic acid, coniferyl benzoate, benzyl benzoate, cinammic acid, benzaldehyde and the vanillin which gives the oil its vanilla aroma.
Benefits of Benzoin essential oil
Whether you are new to the world of essential oils or would like to know more about benzoin essential oil in particular, this article will attempt to clarify its multiple benefits.
1. Emotional wellbeing
Many essential oils are used for their ability to enhance mood in general and also to relieve the symptoms of stress and anxiety. They work because the essential oil molecules are able to pass easily through the skin and into areas of the brain connected with mood.
Benzoin essential oil is used for its fragrance and mood enhancing abilities around the world in religious ceremonies and many people simply enjoy using it at home for the same reason. Benzoin essential oil can be diffused or massaged into the body with great psychological effect because of its antidepressant and sedative qualities.
It can quell feelings of anxiety and stress and even help you to get a good night of sleep. Many people suffer from the debilitating symptoms of stress and anxiety and most find the cycle difficult to break. Whatever the cause, essential oils like benzoin are a safe and natural alternative to the prescription drugs so readily prescribed.
2. For wounds
Minor wounds and cuts are often ignored meaning that bacterium is able to take hold and spread causing infection. Many essential oils can be used effectively to treat apparently minor wounds killing germs, bacteria and fungi before they spread too far. The chemical components contained in benzoin essential oil such as benzoic acid and benzaldehydes have potent antibacterial and antiviral properties which when applied to wounds sufficiently early can cleanse the wound and prevent infection. Be sure to dilute your essential oil with a suitable carrier oil before you apply it to the affected area of the skin.
3. For digestion
If you are prone to digestive issues like cramping and flatulence, then benzoin essential oil might provide you with an answer. This wonderful essential oil has carminative properties as well as being able to relieve gas and inflammation in the intestines. It helps to relax the stomach muscles enabling excess wind to pass naturally, relieves pain related to gas. Benzoin essential oil also improves general digestion and helps improve your appetite.
Benzoin essential oil has natural diuretic properties, which essentially means that it helps boost both urine production and frequency of urination. Diuretics are used to efficiently cleanse and remove toxins from the blood stream. These properties can have a positive effect on blood pressure and can even help you to lose weight caused by stubborn water retention.
For the many of us, myself included, who suffer from the pains of arthritis and rheumatism, benzoin essential oil is one of the most effective natural oils that we can use. Whether massaged directly into the affected joins or added to your bath water, benzoin essential oil has all the ingredients to ease our aches and pains.
Benzoin essential oil is so effective in relieving arthritic pain because of its powerful anti-rheumatic and anti-inflammatory properties which are easily absorbed through the pores of the skin. Benzoin oil is commonly found in commercially available arthritis balms.
6. Skin benefits
When diluted properly, benzoin essential oil can be a great ally in your battle with a variety of skin conditions. It has astringent properties meaning that it stimulates muscle and skin tone and is able to keep your skin looking younger and healthier. Benzoin essential oil can also be used to treat psoriasis of both the skin and the scalp.
For scalp treatment, simply add 4 or 5 drops of benzoin essential oil to a mild shampoo and use it as normal.
For other skin issues like rashes, cracked skin and burns, add 4 or 5 drops of benzoin essential oil to 2 teaspoons of almond or coconut oil and apply it to the affected area.
7. Respiratory problems
Benzoin essential oil is one of the many essential oils that can be used to treat congestion, coughing and other respiratory problems. Benzoin is an excellent disinfectant and has expectorant qualities which help free mucus and ease breathing. As well as clearing up the respiratory system, its sedative properties can help clear the way to a good night’s sleep. If you are having breathing difficulties caused by cold, try diffusing it next to your bed at night or add a few drops to a bowl of hot water and breathe in its healing fumes.
Of course, essential oils are not only used for their health benefits and they can serve a simple practical purpose. Depending on your tastes, benzoin essential oil can be diffused for its smell alone. It has a delightful and punchy vanilla type aroma that many people find both pleasant and uplifting.
Because of its rich aroma, it can eliminate any unwanted odors around the home and when used as a massage oil or added to your bath it works as an effective lasting deodorant. Indeed, traditionally women in various cultures have used this oil to smoke their hair making it smell good.
How to use it
Like most essential oils, benzoin can be used alone or blended with other essential oils. It blends especially well with rose, myrrh, frankincense, juniper, sandalwood, lavender and bergamot essential oils.
- Dilute benzoin essential oil with a suitable carrier oil like almond, coconut or avocado and massage it into your skin to take away your aches and pains.
- Diffuse it for anxiety, insomnia or simply to eliminate any unwanted odors from the home.
- For respiratory problems, you can add a few drops to your hand and breathe in the vapors or add a few drops to a sink full of hot water and do the same.
- For scalp problems, add a few drops to your regular shampoo and wash as normal.
- Care should be taken when using benzoin essential oil and it should never be ingested.
- You must always dilute benzoin essential oil before applying it to the skin.
- Because of its strength, excessive inhalation might cause nausea, headaches or vomiting.
- Pregnant and breastfeeding women should stay on the safe side and avoid the use of benzoin essential oil.