Benzoin

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What other names is Benzoin known by?

Baume Benjoin, Benjoin de Sumatra, Benjoin, Benjuí, Benzoe, Benzoïne, Gum Benjamin, Gum Benzoin, Loban, Lohban, Styrax benzoin, Styrax paralleloneurum, Sumatra Benzoin.

What is Benzoin?

Benzoin is the sap (gum resin) of trees that belong to the Styrax species. Don't confuse benzoin with Siam benzoin (Styrax tonkinensis), which is used only in manufacturing and not as a medicine.

People take benzoin by mouth for swelling (inflammation) of the throat and breathing passages.

Some people apply it directly to the skin to kill germs, reduce swelling, and stop bleeding from small cuts. Benzoin is also used topically for skin ulcers, bedsores, and cracked skin. In combination with other herbs (aloe, storax, and tolu balsam), benzoin is used as a skin protectant. This combination is known as "compound benzoin tincture."

By inhalation, benzoin is used to treat hoarseness (laryngitis), croup, and other respiratory conditions.

In dentistry, benzoin is used for swollen gums and herpes sores in the mouth.

In manufacturing, benzoin is used in making pharmaceutical drugs.

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...

  • Swelling (inflammation) of the throat and airways.
  • Hoarseness (laryngitis).
  • Croup.
  • Skin ulcers.
  • Bedsores.
  • Cracked skin.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of benzoin for these uses.

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).

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How does Benzoin work?

There is some evidence that benzoin might act as a skin protectant, and also help to break up chest congestion by thinning mucous and making it easier to cough up (expectorant).

Are there safety concerns?

There is some evidence that benzoin might be safe for use as a medicine when taken by mouth or applied to the skin. Not enough is known about the safety of inhaling it.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Not enough is known about the use of benzoin during pregnancy and breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Benzoin allergy: People who are allergic to benzoin break out in a rash when they use it.

Are there any interactions with medications?



Lithium
Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.
Talk with your health provider.

Benzoin might have an effect like a water pill or "diuretic." Taking benzoin might decrease how well the body gets rid of lithium. This could increase how much lithium is in the body and result in serious side effects. Talk with your healthcare provider before using this product if you are taking lithium. Your lithium dose might need to be changed.

Dosing considerations for Benzoin.

The appropriate dose of benzoin depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for benzoin. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.
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You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

Reviewed on 3/29/2011 12:35:40 PM

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