Philippino Elemi (Canarium luzonicum) is a tropical tree from the Philippines that can grow up to around 30 metres in height. It exudes a yellowish resin when the leaves are sprouting.
The resin is pale yellow to beige in hue, and has a thick waxy like consistency. The highly aromatic essential oil from it is steam distilled from the resin. Elemi is a very fragrant resin with a sharp woody, slightly resinous cedar like scent with a vague hint of citrus. One of the resin components is called amyrin.
The resin is chiefly used commercially in varnishes and lacquers, and certain printing inks. It is used as a herbal medicine to treat bronchitis, catarrh, extreme coughing, mature skin, scars, stress, and wounds. The constituents include phellandrene, limonene, elemol, elemicin, terpineol, carvone, and terpinolene.
History of Elemi:
The word Elemi has been used at various times to denote different resins. In the 17th and 18th centuries the term usually denoted a resin from trees of the genus Icica in Brazil, and before that it meant the resin derived from Boswellia Frereana (otherwise known as Frankincense Maydhi (Maydi)) to which some feel it has a similar aroma..
The word, like the older term Animi appears to have been derived from enhaemon, the name of a styptic medicine said by Pliny to contain tears exuded by the olive tree of Arabia.
Canarium luzonicum essential oil is known locally as ‘Pili” and the gum is exported from Manila. The ancient Egyptians used Elemi oil in the embalming process. It is now chiefly used commercially in varnishes and lacquers, and certain printing inks
“The name Elemi is derived from an Arabic phrase meaning ‘above and below’, an abbreviation of ‘As above, so below’
Storage and Handling Elemi Resin:-
The resin, by its very nature, is soft and malleable and can become very sticky and unmanageable at room temperature or extreme ambient temperatures. Store the resin, in its unopened packaging quite normally in consistently cool and dark conditions ( as with all herbs and resins ) and prior to intended use, put the product, in its unopened packaging, into the freezer for 15 minutes or the refigreator for 60 mins. This will harden the resin enough for it to come away cleanly from its packaging when opened and to handle although as soon as it becomes soft it will stick to your fingers if handled without protective gloves. This can be removed with alcohol in what is colloquially termed as “elbow grease”.