|INCI: ||Liquidambar styraciflua|
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LIQUID STORAXLiquidambar styraciflua (Altingiacee)
Native to the southeastern United States, it is also called “Liquid amber” or “American red-gum”. It is a deciduous monumental tree that can grow over thirty metres tall, with crimson-grey bark, five-lobed leaves (that turn colours ranging from orange to scarlet in the autumn) and white flowers. It grows wild in the tropical forests of Central America (Olancho Department in Honduras).
It is a congener of the European “Liquidambar orientalis” (the plant at the origin of Black storax, the well-known aromatic balsam of Asia Minor).
It owes its botanical name to the sweet-balsamic smelling amber resin that oozes from its bark (specially cut), known for centuries to the Amerindian populations mainly for its wound-healing properties. It should be noted that the name “Storax” given to it is actually totally inaccurate because in terms of phytology it has nothing to do with the genus Styrax (to which Benzoin , for example).
The essential oil is obtained by steam distillation of the resin, a pathological exudation of the tree secreted when the bark is beaten and cut; it is a viscous liquid dark with brown reddish colour, with a characteristic rich and tenacious balsamic-sweet, spicy, resinous fragrance. It combines well with jasmine and myrrh absolutes, and the essential oils of: Clove, Cinnamon, Frankincense, Lavender, Sweet myrrh, Rose and Ylang ylang.
(according to popular herbalist tradition)
Essential oil of Storax - non-toxic and non-irritating - has bactericidal, balsamic, anti-inflammatory, antitussive, expectorant, and stimulant properties. It is also a traditional remedy to treat scabies and is valid to treat certain sexual infections and to medicate wounds.
It is mainly used in perfumery as a fragrance ingredient and as a fixative in oriental-floral notes often used in soaps; it should be noted that it is also used as a flavouring agent in the drinks industry (both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages).