The resin of the styrax benzoin tree contains cinnamon acid ester, benzoic acid ester, free acids (such as benzoic acid), styrol, styracin, phenyl-prophyl cinnamate, benzaldehyde, vanillin, and an oily fragrant liquid.
The styrax resin is a widely used ingredient in incense, and it was believed it could help to drive out evil spirits.
The resin is also used as a fixative (a preservative) and a fragrance component in perfumes, cosmetics, soaps, and toiletries. It is otherwise used as a flavor ingredient in food, soft drinks, and alcoholic beverages.
Benzoin resin is a powerful antioxidant that can prevent fat from becoming rancid.
The use of the resin in herbal medicine is usually in the form of a tincture. It is made by dissolving the resin in alcohol. The tincture tends to have a viscous, sticky and oily consistency.
The styrax benzoin tincture is used internally as expectorant and disinfectant and can be a good herbal remedy for respiratory ailments and throat infections such as colds, flu, cough, asthma, chronic bronchitis and sore throat.
The resin is used as an ingredient in several types of cough and cold medications.
Dentists also use tinctures of benzoin resin as an anti-inflammatory agent after tooth extraction. Used internally, the resin also works as a disinfecting agent for the urinary tract.
The resin is a popular ingredient in skin care products and used to treat wounds, boils, dry skin, inflamed or irritated skin and eczema. The resin seems to cause constriction of the blood vessels and stimulate the formation of new cells.
In addition, the resin has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties.