Scientific Name(s): Liquidambar orientalis Mill., Liquidambar styraciflua L.
Common Name(s): Alligator tree, Alligator-wood, American storax, Bilsted, Red gum, Satin-walnut, Star-leaved gum, Storax, Styrax, Sweet gum tree
American storax is obtained from L. styraciflua, a large tree found near the Atlantic coast from New England to Central America.USDA 2015 Levant storax (L. orientalis) is obtained from a small tree native to Turkey. The bark of the tree is scaly and irregular, hence the name 'alligator tree.' The tree has star-shaped leaves and brown, ball-shaped fruits, which produce clusters of flowers and large quantities of pollen distributed by wind.USDA 2015
Storax has been used as an expectorant, especially in inhalation with warm air vaporizers. It has also been used to treat parasitic infections. Because the leaves are rich in tannins, they have been used to treat diarrhea and to relieve sore throat.Morton 1977 In Latin America, the gum is used as a diaphoretic and as a diuretic. It is also applied topically to sores and wounds. Storax had been used in the United States as a component of hemorrhoid preparations, but now its only use is as an ingredient in the compound tincture of benzoin as a topical protectant.Khan 2011 Storax is used in food products as a flavoring and fixative, and in soaps and perfumes.Khan 2011
Crude liquid storax is obtained from pressing the bark of the tree in cold water, then with boiling water. The crude balsam is dissolved in alcohol, filtered, and collected using a process that does not allow the loss of its volatile constituents.Storax 2010
Crude storax is a gray, thick liquid with a pleasant odor, but a bitter taste. About 85% of the crude material is alcohol soluble.Duke 1992, Khan 2011 Purified storax forms a brown, semisolid mass that is completely soluble in alcohol. Storax is high in free and combined cinnamic acid, styracin, cinnamate, and volatile oil. Major constituents of the leaf oil include limonene, alpha-pinene, and beta-pinene.El-Readi 2013 The stem oil contains germacrene D and alpha-cadinol.El-Readi 2013
Uses and Pharmacology
In one study, a combination product containing L. orientalis demonstrated CNS activity, delaying the onset of induced convulsions in mice.Koo 2004
There is no clinical data regarding the use of storax for any condition.
There is no clinical evidence to support a dosage recommendation.
Pregnancy / Lactation
Information regarding safety and efficacy in pregnancy and lactation is lacking.
Case reports are lacking.
Information is lacking. Purified storax is included in the USP and has been approved for food use at low concentrations (25 ppm); purified storax was previously included.Khan 2011 Renal injury is possible from application to a large surface area of the body.Duke 2002
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