is the balsamic resin found in various species of the Styrax tree, Styrax officinalis
, native to tropical Asia and South America. Common names include styrax or the more ambiguous storax, snowbell, and benzoin. It has sweet balsamic fragrance and has been used in perfumes, incense making, and medicines since Antiquity. Benzoin incense is nataf (נטף) of the incense, mentioned in the Book of Exodus.
The tincture of benzoin and its derivative compounds, including Benzoin Co tincture and Friar's Balsam are still used today in first aid for small injuries, due to the antibacterial, local anesthetic and healing effect of the the active ingredients, found in the resin. The antibacterial activity seems mostly due to its abundant benzoic acid and benzoic acid esters, which were named after the resin.
Benzoin gum is also a popular natural preservative in skin care products today.