Siam Benzoin

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Chapter: Pharmacognosy and Phytochemistry : Drugs Containing Resins

Siam Benzoin is a balsamic resin derived from stem of Styrax tonkinensis Craib., belonging to family Styraceae.


SIAM BENZOIN

 

 

Biological Source

 

Siam Benzoin is a balsamic resin derived from stem of Styrax tonkinensis Craib., belonging to family Styraceae.

 

Geographical Source

 

The trees are present in North Laos, North Vietnam, Annam, and Thailand.

 

Collection

 

Siam Benzoin is also a pathological resin produced by incising the bark and by fungus attack. The stem of 6–8 years old plant is incised when balsam exudates. The resin is obtained in the form of liquid which is solidified.

 

Characteristics

 

Siam Benzoin occurs as tears or in blocks of variable sizes and reddish brown externally, but milky-white or opaque internally. Matrix is glassy, reddish-brown, resinous, brittle but softening on chewing and become plastic-like on chewing. It has vanilla-like odour and a balsamic taste.

 

Chemical Constituents

 

The principal constituent of Siam Benzoin is coniferyl benzoate (60–80%) (3-methoxy-4-hydroxycinnamyl alcohol). Other constituents are free benzoic acid (10%), triterpene siaresinolic acid (6%), vanillin, and benzyl cinnamate.

 



Chemical Tests


1.     Heat Sumatra Benzoin (5 g) with 10% aqueous potassium permanganate solution. A bitter almond-like odour is produced due to oxidation of cinnamic acid present in Sumatra Benzoin. This test is negative in case of Siam Benzoin.

 

2.     To a petroleum ether solution of Benzoin (0.2 g), two to three drops of sulphuric acid are added in a China dish. Sumatra Benzoin produces reddish-brown colour, whereas Siam Benzoin shows purple-red colour on rotating the dish.

 

3.     To alcoholic solution of Benzoin ferric chloride solution is added. A green colour is produced in Siam Benzoin due to the presence of phenolic compound coniferyl benzoate. This test is negative in case of Sumatra Benzoin which does not contain sufficient amount of phenolic constituents.

 

Uses

 

Siam Benzoin acts as antiseptic, culinary and expectorant; it is used to prepare benzoinated lard, cosmetics, fixatives, and in perfumery. It is superior to the Sumatra Benzoin with respect to antioxidative effect in lard and other fats.

 

Marketed Products

 

It is one of the ingredients of the preparation known as Friar’s Balsam.

 

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