Styrax benzoin Dryand

[From Greek, styrax = Styrax officinalis and from Arabic, luban jawi = frankinscence of Java]

Common name: Styrax tree, benzoin tree; kemenyan (Malay).

Physical description: It is a buttressed timber which grows to a height of 30 m in lowland rainforests up to 800 m in Malaysia and Indonesia. The bark is smooth, or finely cracked. The inner bark is soft and reddish and

Uses: Benzoin or the resin obtained by bruising then tapping the bark of Styraxbenzoin Dryand. has long been used in Asian medicine. It is used to treat stroke, invigorate health after labor, assuage pain in the heart and abdomen, counteract putrefaction, promote libido and heal hemorrhoids. Benzoin contains a large amount of free benzoic acid and cinnamic acid.

Eucalytpus Leaves Watercolour
Fig. 136. Styrax benzoin Dryand. From: KLU Herbarium 26425. Flora of Selangor. Comm. Ex. Herb. Hort. Bot. Sing. Geographical localization 4| m.s., Genting Highlands, Ulu Gom-bak, altitude: 3000ft., 14 Jun 1973, Malaysia. Field collectors: Mohd Shah and Mohd Ali.

the sapwood is white. Leaves: simple, alternate and without stipules and 6 cm-20 cm x 2.5cm-9cm. The blade is glaucous and covered with a glaucous tomentum of starry hairs. The inflorescences are racemose or paniculate. The fruits are globose, glaucous and 2cm-3.8cm (Fig. 136).

Pharmaceutical interest: A number of lignans characterized from Styrax fer-rugineus show antibacterial and antifungal properties (Pauletti PM etal., 2000). These lignans are likely to be cytotoxic and antiviral, but this has yet to be confirmed. The fruits of Styrax japonica contain anti-sweet triterpenes saponins (Yoshikawa K etal., 2000).

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