Benzoin Liquid Resin (Biblically known as Onycha)
Plant Origin: Laos
Method: Extruded from bark then steam distilled (no solvents are used in the process)
Aroma: Vanilla, sweet, warm
Benzyl benzoate 82.36%
Benzoic acid 15.13%
Benzyl alcohol 0.04%
Benzyl cinnamate 0.03%
Children? Due to possible skin irritation, not advised for children under 2.
Pregnancy/Lactation? No known hazards or contraindications.
The viscosity (consistency) of some oils are just naturally thicker while most are thinner and watery-like. For example, citrus oils are very thin but root oils are thicker. From a chemistry perspective, the lighter/smaller molecules (such as those that make up citrus oils) are thinner, and heavier/larger molecules (such as those that make up root oils) are thicker.
Benzoin Liqud Resin is extremely viscous, and therefore more difficult to use. With time it may solidify. Gently warming the oil in the hands before use may help (takes patience!), or you may need to warm in a water bath.
Warm Water Bath:
First, place the oil bottle in a bowl (something like a glass baby food jar works well), and then set that in a double boiler with enough warm water to affect the temperature of the oil. Avoid any possibility of allowing the water to get into the bottle. (I put my bottle in a ziplock bag and make sure it is standing upright.) Unscrew the cap slightly to accommodate for expansion while warming. Allow it to warm for about 15-20 minutes, replacing the water as needed if it evaporates. Continue warming until you get the oil at the right consistency to work with. Different oils take varying amounts of time to liquefy, and this somewhat depends also on how solid they are and their ability to soften. You may also want to use a pipette
to help dispense.
Speaking personally, I use a rubber bulb/glass pipette
that screws onto the bottle. I am aware that I need to be careful not to let the essential oil get on the rubber, so I make sure to wipe the rim of the bottle clean before recapping, and I do not let the bottle tip over, which would allow the essential oil to come into contact with the rubber. With care, the rubber will last a good while, but you can expect that it will eventually fail due to the aromatic oil.
David Stewart, PhD, DVM, notes that Onycha is "unparalleled in its therapeutic action on open wounds." It is a Biblical oil mentioned in Exodus 30:34 as a component in the Holy incense. Benzoin is used as a fixative, slowing the dispersion of essential oils into the air.
Aroma is like vanilla. It is sweet and warm-scented. Benzoin is added to creams for dry, cracked hands, acne, eczema and psoriasis. It can be inhaled to benefit the respiratory system and used externally as a deodorant and antiseptic.
Stimulating - mucus, circulation, expels gas, increases urine flow
Skin - cracked, chapped, chilblains (painful, itchy swelling on the skin, typically on hand or foot, caused by poor circulation in the skin when exposed to cold)
Application Suggestions (see Essential Oil Usage for more information and a dilution chart):
Topical: Recommended dilution ratio is 5-12 drops Benzoin to 1 ounce carrier oil, lotion or cream (see testimonies below). Benzoin is very thick and does not usually pour through the small opening in the dropper cap. The cap can be removed if necessary and/or the bottle can be gently warmed. Consider using a pipette. If it is too thick, see "Warm Water Bath" instructions above.
Internal: Benzoin is suitable for internal use within safe parameters if such use is deemed appropriate. We feel that internal use is rarely *needed* and should only be used with respect for how concentrated the oils are. HEO does not advocate internal use of essential oils without appropriate knowledge and understanding of how to administer, for what purpose, how much, which essential oils, safety concerns and so on. In our experience, essential oils are generally more effective used topically with proper dilution or inhaled. Kurt Schnaubelt, Ph.D. notes that "French aromatherapy literature contains many references to using oils orally." He goes on to note that "generally 1 drop is always enough when ingesting essential oils." A potential toxicity hazard could occur when untrained people use essential oils orally and ingest too much.Keep in mind that while medical doctors or health care practitioners may prescribe essential oils for internal use, they are trained and experienced in the safe application of essential oils. It is not a matter of using "French" or "British" methods, it's a matter of experience and appropriate application. According to Tissersand/Young, the maximum daily dose should not exceed 368mg (about 11 drops).
Click here for information about internal usage.
1. A year or so ago, I was using a sharp knife and was not following the appropriate safety procedures nor common sense. The knife slipped and cut my left thumb down to the bone. It bled profusely. I first applied some frankincense to stop the bleeding, which it did within a few minutes. Then I packed some onycha oil, which is very viscous and thick, into the open wound. I did not use a bandage or Band-Aid or any other covering. I exposed the wound to sunlight a few times during the day and replenished the onycha oil in the wound several times. The cut began to show signs of healing right away. It did not form a scab. Instead, the wound came together and the two sides began to knit together. It never got infected nor did it get sore. Within a week, it was totally healed with virtually no scar. - David Stewart
2. I cut my finger deeply with a kitchen knife. I put a drop of Benzoin on it (dliute per suggestions) and wrapped it up to help stop the bleeding. About an hour later I applied another drop and then went to bed. Next day I could tell the wound was healing faster than any kitchen knife cut I've ever had. There was no redness or pain at all. I reapplied the Benzoin and wrapped it back up. A week later there was hardly a sign of the cut at all.
3. I got a large thorn in my leg, and put a drop of Benzoin on it (diluted per instructions). By the next day, I could hardly tell where the nasty thorn had been.
4. I've had problems with my heels cracking for many years. I decided to try some Benzoin on the cracks (diluted per instructions), and the results are fantastic. What seems to work the best is the Benzoin first and then topped with Golden Salve. I wear socks after application.
5. After reading the testimonials here, I applied the Benzoin neat to the cracks in my skin. It burned so bad! So then I went back to the website and read the "Application" paragraph. I mixed it with Almond oil the last night. It was almost like it took on another property, and it got really gummy and pasty. It rolled into little balls and didn't rub on well. I kind of gave up on it. I got the Unscented Cream I ordered and used it last night. I decided to mix the Benzoin with that. It was absolutely amazing. I put it on again this morning. Today is the first day that I was able to not wear bandaids on my finger. I know it will keep getting better the more I use the combination. I had tried everything...coconut oil, jojoba oil, cocoa butter lotion. I even used Amish Origins. I'm loving the combination of the cream and benzoin. Thank you so much! - Linnea
6. I was able to get the Benzoin to blend well with Emu oil, once I gently warmed BOTH of them up, and I shook the bottle up really well. The first time that I tried to mix them, it didn't work too well (I had clumps of each that never seemed to incorporate). The next time I warmed them a little more and shook the bottle like crazy until it was totally blended. It has stayed mixed up now, even though it has sat for a couple of weeks. You can also mix the resin with a few drops of high quality vodka. The alcohol dissipates and allows for easier mixing/blending. I've had success with this. I love Benzoin - the smell is wonderful! - Jackie
Tisserand/Young notes that Benzoin has a low risk for skin sensitization although it should be used with caution on hypersensitive, diseased or damaged skin and with children under age 2.
Benzoin is considered non-toxic and non-irritant. (Battaglia)
Avoid contact with the eyes and other sensitive areas. Essential oils are both lipophilic and hydrophobic. Lipophilic means they are attracted to fat—like the membranes of your eyes and skin. They are also hydrophobic, meaning they do not like water. Flushing with water will only send the essential oil back to the eye's membranes. Applying a carrier oil will create another fat for the essential oil to be attracted to other than the membranes of the eyes or skin. We’ve not known this to cause permanent injury or long-term discomfort, but if you feel concerned, please call your health care provider.
Battaglia, Salvatore, The Complete Guide to Aromatherapy, 2002, pages 283-284.
Davis P., Aromatherapy An A-Z, C.W. Daniel Company Ltd, 2000.
Tisserand, Robert; Young, Rodney, Essential Oil Safety: A Guide for Health Care Professionals, Elsevier Health Sciences UK 2nd Edition 2014, page 210-211.