Reviewed on 6/11/2021
Other Name(s):

American Storax, Balsam Styracis, Balsamum Styrax Liquidus, Copalm, Copalme, Copalme d'Amérique, Copalme du Levant, Copalme Oriental, Estoraque, Estoraque Liquido, Gum Tree, Levant Storax, Liquidambar, Liquidámbar, Liquidambar macrophylla, Liquidambar orientalis, Liquidambar styraciflua, Liquid Amber, Liquid Storax, Lu Lu Tong, Opossum Tree, Red Gum, Styrax, Sweet Gum, White Gum.


Storax is an oily resin (balsam) obtained from the tree trunks of Liquidambar orientalis (Levant storax) or Liquidambar styraciflua (American storax). It is used as medicine.

Storax is obtained by scoring the bark of the tree in early summer and stripping the bark later, perhaps as late as autumn. The bark is pressed in cold water, alternating with boiling water, and the crude liquid storax is collected. Storax is considered to be similar to Peru balsam in its effects.

People take storax for cancer, coughs, colds, diarrhea, epilepsy, sore throats, and parasitic infections.

Storax is sometimes applied directly to the skin to protect wounds, or to treat ulcers and scabies. Storax is an ingredient in Compound Benzoin Tincture.

As an inhalant, storax is placed in a vaporizer and used to treat coughs and bronchitis.

In foods, storax is used as a flavoring or fixative.

In manufacturing, storax is used as a fragrance or fixative in soaps and perfumes. Storax is also used to kill bugs (as a fumigant). It is also used for preparing slides for examination under a microscope.

How does it work?

Storax contains ingredients that might fight some bacteria.


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Uses & Effectiveness

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...

  • Cancer.
  • Colds.
  • Coughs.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Epilepsy.
  • Parasitic infections.
  • Scabies.
  • Sore throats.
  • Ulcers, when applied to the skin.
  • Wound protection, when applied to the skin.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of storax 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).

Side Effects

Storax is safe when used in food amounts and seems to be safe for most people when used appropriately in medicinal amounts. Moderate amounts of storax can cause some side effects such as diarrhea and rash.

Do not take large amounts by mouth or apply large amounts to open wounds. This can cause serious side effects including kidney damage.


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Special Precautions & Warnings

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


The appropriate dose of storax 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 storax. 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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Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration

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.

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Bruneton J. Pharmacognosy, Phytochemistry, Medicinal Plants. Paris: Lavoisier Publishing, 1995.

Electronic Code of Federal Regulations. Title 21. Part 182 -- Substances Generally Recognized As Safe. Available at: