Storax (resin)

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1) A brown, sticky, aromatic resin obtained from the liquidambar trees, such as Liquidambar orientalis, native to Turkey. Storax contains triterpenoids (oleamonic acid, storesin) along with Styrene, stryacin, and cinnamic acid with a pleasant smell like ambergris. In 1839, E. Simon noticed that a white solid formed in the steam distillate obtained from storax. This solid obtained from styrene is now known as Polystyrene. Storax resin is sometimes used as a mounting media for microscope slides.

2) An archaic name for a brown, aromatic resin obtained from the Styrax officinalis trees, native to upper Egypt. This resin is now called Benzoin.

Synonyms and Related Terms

Liquidambar orientalis; liquid storax; Levant storax: styrax; benzoin; Styrax officinalis; benzoino (It); gum styrax; gum benzoin; balsam storax; gum benjamin; liquid ambaer; copalm balsam

Physical and Chemical Properties

Soluble in ethanol, ether, acetone, carbon disulfide.

Resources and Citations

  • A.Lucas, J.R.Harris, Ancient Egyptian Materials and Industries, Edward Arnold Publishers Ltd., London, 4th edition, 1962
  • M.Kaufman, The First Century of Plastics, The Plastics and Rubber Institute, London, 1963
  • Random House, Webster's Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language, Grammercy Book, New York, 1997
  • The American Heritage Dictionary or Encarta, via Microsoft Bookshelf 98, Microsoft Corp., 1998

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