Foreign. Styrax Benzoin. Commonly called Gum Benjamin.

It is a good stimulant and expectorant. When burned, its vapour is deodorant and antiseptic, and therefore useful for sick rooms.

Benzoin mixed with ointment prevents it from becoming rancid; its vapour is supposed to be good for wooping cough.

In Cosmetic washes Benzoin is an ingredient, and also in Friar's Balsam, a most useful Styptic and healing application, as well as an inward Medicine.

Friar's Balsam to be made thus :

  • Gum Benzoin, 31 ounces;
  • Strained Storax, 21 ounces
  • Balsam of Tolu, 10 drachms
  • Aloes, 5 drachms
  • rectified spirit, 2 pints
  • let it stand 14 days, shaking frequently, and before use.

    This preparation is stimulant, expectorant, and antispasmodic, and is beneficial in old Asthmatic cases, chronic catarrh, and phthisis with a feeble circulation. The dose is about 1 a drachm in mucilage, or dropped upon Lump Sugar. Applied to wounds it stimulates gently, and protects from the action of the air. A piece of lint, or soft rag dipped into it, and wrapped round a cut finger, will produce smarting at first, yet it will commonly stay hemorrhage, and effect a cure without the necessity for another dress­ing, unless the wound be extremely severe. Probably Friar's Balsam was used by the monks of old time to dress the wounds of travellers, and others, who called and rested in their convents.
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    This page and the rest of the encyclopedia of medicinal herbs was reproduced from old herbals written in the 1700 and 1800s. They are of historical interest to show the traditional uses of various herbs based on folk medicine and ancient wisdom. However the traditional uses for these herbs have not been confirmed by medical science and in some cases may actually be dangerous. Do not use the these herbs for any use, medicinal or otherwise, without first consulting a qualified doctor.

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