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benzoin (bĕnˈzoin, –zōĭn) or benzoinum (bĕnzoinˈəm), balsamic resin, the dried exudation from the pierced bark of various species of the benzoin tree (Styrax) native to Sumatra, Java, and Thailand; appearing as red-brown to yellow-brown tears. Because of its fragrant odor it is used in perfume and sometimes in incense. The benzoic acid present in it gives it value in medicine as an antiseptic, as a stimulant, and, in certain respiratory diseases, as an inhalant. Among the several varieties are Siam benzoin and Sumatra benzoin. Siam benzoin is considered finer, since it has a high content of benzoic acid; Sumatra benzoin contains cinnamic acid.
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A balsamic resin obtained from trees of the genus Styrax; used as an expectorant, as an inhalant in respiratory tract inflammations, and as an antiseptic. Also known as benjamin gum; benzoinam; gum benzoin.
C14H12O2I An optically active compound; white or yellowish crystals, melting point 137°C; soluble in acetone, slightly soluble in water; used in organic synthesis.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.