Storex

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Chapter: Pharmacognosy and Phytochemistry : Drugs Containing Resins

Storax is a balsam obtained from the trunk of Liquidambar orientalis Miller, commercially known as Levant Storax, or of Liquidambar styraciflua Linn, known as American Storax, belonging to family Hamamelidaceae.


STOREX

 

 

Synonyms

 

Styrax; Sweet oriental gum; Prepared Storax; Liquid Storax; Styrax preparatus.

 

Biological Source

 

Storax is a balsam obtained from the trunk of Liquidambar orientalis Miller, commercially known as Levant Storax, or of Liquidambar styraciflua Linn, known as American Storax, belonging to family Hamamelidaceae.

 

Geographical Source

 

Levant Storax is a native to Asia Minor and Southwest of Turkey. American Storax is produced chiefly in Honduras; found along the Atlantic coast from Connecticut to Central America.

 

Collection

 

Levant Storax and American Storax are medium-sized trees attaining the height of 15 m to 40 m, respectively. Levant Storax is a pathological resin. In the early summer the bark of three to four years old tree is injured by bruising. Cambium is activated to produce new wood with balsam secreting ducts. The bark is gradually saturated with balsam which is peeled off. The pieces of bark are pressed to get the product. The bark is boiled in hot water and repressed. The crude balsam is poured into casks or cans and exported.

 

American Storax exudes into natural spaces present in between the bark and the wood. The presence of balsam in spaces may be detected by excrescences on the outside of the bark. From these pockets the balsam is tapped with gutters into containers which are exported in tin cans.

 

Storax is purified by dissolving the crude balsam in alcohol, filtering, and evaporating the solvent under low temperature not to lose volatile compounds. The alcohol insoluble part consists of vegetable debris and a resin.

 

Characteristics

 

Levent Storax is a viscous, semiliquid, greyish, sticky, opaque mass which deposits as a dark-brown, heavier, oleoresin-ous product on standing. American Storax is a semisolid, sometimes solid mass softened by warming, becoming hard, opaque, and darker coloured. Storax is transparent in thin layers, has characteristic taste and odour, and is denser than water. It is insoluble in water; almost completely soluble in warm alcohol, ether, acetone, and carbon disulphide. Odour is agreeable and taste is balsamic.

 


                             Liquidambar orientalis


Chemical Constituents

 

Storax is rich in two resin alcohol (50%): α-storesin and β-storesin and balsamic acids (30–47%). The alcohols occur partly free and partly as esters of cinnamic acid (10–20%). Storax also contains cinnamyl cinnamate or styracin (5–10%), phenyl-propyl cinnamate (10%); ethyl cinnamate, benzyl cin-namate, free cinnamic acid (5–15%), styrene, traces of vanillin, and volatile oil (0.5–1%). Steam distillation of Storax yields a pale yellow or dark brown oil (0.5–1.0%) known as oil of Storax. It has a pleasant but peculiar odour.

 

Uses

 

Storax is used as a stimulant, expectorant, parasiticide, topical protectant, and an antiseptic. Pharmaceutical preparations like Compound Benzoin Tincture, Friars’ Balsam, and Benzoin Inhalation are also prepared from the Storax.

 

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