Elemi (Canarium luzonicum) is a tropical tree native to the Philippines and Moluccas and belongs to the Burseraceae Family. The trees grow up to 30 meters. As new leaves sprout, a white resin, with a strong aroma is exuded on the trunk. Once this dries it hardens and turns yellow and is then harvested to produce the essential oil.
Elemi gum (oleoresin) contains 65 – 75% resinous compounds and 10 – 25% volatile oil. A clear to pale yellow essential oil is steam distilled from the resin and the major components include: Monoterpenes 71.5% (α-phellandrene, β-phellandrene, limonene, terpinolene, pinene, dipentene, myrcene); Alcohols 15.2% (elemol, terpineol, carvone); Phenols 3.8%( methyl eugenol, elemicin; Oxides 0.25% (1,8-cineole) with a trace of the Sesquiterpene, elemenes.
Elemi resinoid and elemi oil are used as fixatives and fragrance components in soaps, detergents, creams, lotions and perfumes with a maximum use level in perfumes of 0.6%.
It has analgesic, antiseptic, expectorant, stomachic and tonic properties and its spicy, balsamic aroma blends well with myrrh, frankincense, rosemary, lavender, lavandin, lemon and other citrus.
In Arabic, elemi means “above and below which has spiritual connotations so psychologically, it is often used to balance the spiritual and worldly life.
On the physiological level it is helpful in getting wounds to close, as well as being helpful in easing congestion and in controlling excessive mucus. It is thought to activate the immune system and energize people suffering from physical fatigue.
Contraindications:. Generally considered non-toxic, non-irritating, non-sensitizing and non-phototoxic. May cause contact dermatitis in hypersensitive individuals.
Albert Y. Leung & Steven Foster , Encyclopedia of Common Natural Ingredients used in Food, Drugs, and Cosmetics, John Wiley & Sons, 1996
Beverley Hawkins, Aromatherapy 201 Course 1999 revised 2000…2011
Elemi is covered in the Aromatherapy 201 Course
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