Liquidambar comes from Southeast United States, Mexico, Guatemala and of course, Honduras where our resinoid is harvested. There is some confusion between Styrax and Storax and so it bears some clarification because it is a highly confusing resinoid. Because of its phenolic composition, Storax is a true balsam. It has a notable amount of terpenes which is noticeable along with the almost top note of vanilla. Styrax is a resin from Gum Benjamin otherwise known as deeper vanilla scented Benzoin. Liquidambar exudes resin so freely and with scarcely any extra tree tapping needed that it has been reported that animals cured their wounds rubbing against a tree where resin flows. The resin is called xochicotzatl by the Mexican Indians and was used in all kinds of applications from smoking tobacco, burned as incense and used in medicines. There was mention of the use of formed figurines used in sacrifices in “Plant Resins”, a book on the chemistry of, you guessed it, plant resins. The Native Americans used Liquidambar to cure fevers, treat dysentery and chewed the resin as a tooth preservative. They also used the resin in salves for wound and sore healing. It is noted that the Spanish conquerer, Cortes and his crew were thought to have compared the healing qualities of Liquidambar was comparable to Balm of Gilead (Commiphora opobalsamum). Storax is so important as an expectorant, antiseptic and stimulant that it is in the U.S. Pharmacopoeia where it has remained since 1925.
Liquidambar is been part of my natural Amber perfume formulas for as long as I’ve been making Amber oil which if I recall correctly, is now entering its third decade. The resinoid is a golden thick honey consistency as one would expect in a pourable resinoid. The terpenes offer just enough subtle amber like pine resin scent, similar to a Pine absolute. Although Liquidambar is no means a top note oil, the first scent is a subtle, sweet vanilla like scent that quickly develops into an amber scent. I have made Amber oil based perfumes without Liquidambar and when I realized I was missing the depth and sheer sexiness of a well made Amber oil, I returned to adding the resinoid to complete the composition.
Suggested use: Useful in salves and balsam blend for wound and skin healing. Can be used in meditation practice, relaxation or to gently scent the area. Highly recommended for use in natural and botanical perfumery making, particularly when an Amber scented oil is desired. Please note, in order for a resinoid to be pourable, a solvent must be added thereby making this material suitable for perfumery and not aromatherapy applications.