✵The article gives records of the herb Benzoin, its English name, Latin name, property and flavor, its herbal classic book defined botanical source one plant species, ①.Styrax tonkinensis (Pierre) Craib ex Hartw., and another usable plant species, ②.Styrax benzoin Dryand., with a detailed introduction to the botanical features of these two plant species, the growth characteristics, and ecological environment of these two plant species, the features of the herb Benzoin, its pharmacological actions, medicinal efficacy, and administration guide.
Pin Yin Name: ān Xī Xiānɡ.
English Name: Benzoin.
Latin Name: Benzoinum.
Property and flavor: neutral in nature, pungent, bitter.
Brief introduction: The Herb Benzoinum is the dried resin obtained from Tokin Snowbell, Styrax tonkinensis (Pierre) Craib ex Hartw., used (1).as an aromatic stimulant for restoring consciousness in cases of apoplexy, and (2).to relieve pain of the chest and abdomen by activating the flow of Qi and blood. The herb is commonly known as Benzoinum, Benzoin, ān Xī Xiānɡ.
Botanical source: Herbal classic book defined the herb Benzoinum(Benzoin) as the dried resin obtained from the species (1). Styrax tonkinensis (Pierre) Craib ex Hartw. Other famous herbal classics defined the herb Benzoinum(Benzoin) as the dried resin obtained from the species (1). Styrax tonkinensis (Pierre) Craib ex Hartw., or (2). Styrax benzoin Dryand. They are plants of the Styrax Linn. Genus, the Styracaceae family (storax, silver bells family) of the Ebenales order. These 2 commonly used species are introduced:
(1).Styrax tonkinensis (Pierre) Craib ex Hartw.
Botanical description: The plant, Styrax tonkinensis (Pierre) Craib ex Hartw., is commonly known as Bái Huā Shù, or Bái Huā ān Xī Xiāng Shù (mean white-flower Styrax). Trees, the tree grows up to 5~20 meters tall. The bark is taupe (dust color) or greenish-brown, and has irregular longitudinal cracks; branches are slightly flat, covered with brown pilose, later turn glabrescent, and branchlets are covered with brown stellate hairs. Leaves are alternate; petioles are 8~15 mm long, densely covered with brown stellate hairs; leaf blades are elliptic, elliptic-ovate, oval (egg-shaped) to ovate-oblong, 5~18 cm long, 4~10 cm wide, the apex is short and acuminate, the base is circular (rounded) or cuneate (wedge-shaped), the upper surface is glabrous or stellate hairs grow along veins on young leaves, the under surface is densely covered with gray to pink green stellate fluff, edge is entire, young leaves sometimes are 2~3 dentate lobed, 5~6 lateral veins.
Panicles and racemes are apical or axillary, apical panicles are bigger, 5~15 cm long, racemes on the lower part are shorter, pedicels and peduncles are densely covered with tawny(yellow-brown) stellate pubescence; Bracts are small, caducous; Calyx is calathiform (cuplike) short campanulate (bell-shaped), 5 dentate lobed; flowers are white, 1.2~2.5 cm long, 5-lobed, lobes are ovate-lanceolate; calyx and corolla are both densely covered with white stellate hairs; 8~10 stamens, equal length, anthers are linear, 2-locule; filaments are flat, sparsely covered with white stellate hairs, lower part connate to a tube; style is about 1.5 cm long; the ovary is superior, ovate, densely covered with white fuzz.
The fruit is subsphaeroidal (near-spherical) to oblate, about 1 cm in diameter, 2 cm long, taupe brown (grayish brown), and outside is densely covered with stellate fluff. Seeds are oval (egg-shaped), nutty, chestnut brown or reddish-brown, have 6 light streaks, densely covered with tubercular protrusions and stellate hairs. Its flowering period is from April to June, the fruiting period is from August to October.
Ecological Environment: The tree grows in the wild or cultivated near rice fields, it grows on hillsides and mountain slopes, valleys, open forests, or forest edges, in areas at altitudes of 100~2,000 meters above sea level. It is mainly distributed in the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River, the Zhujiang River area, the southwest area, and the Hainan island of China.
Growth characteristics: Styrax tonkinensis is a tropical and subtropical tree, vertically distributed in areas at altitudes of 100~2,000 meters above sea level, the tree prefers a warm climate with sufficient sunshine and is tolerant of short-period frost. The suitable annual average temperature for its growth is 18~26 Deg C (Celsius, or 64.4~78.8 degrees Fahrenheit), the average temperature in January is above 10 Deg C (Celsius, or 50 degrees Fahrenheit), the absolute minimum temperature is not lower than -3 Deg C (Celsius, or 26.6 degrees Fahrenheit). The tree grows better in fields with deep soil layers, sandy loam with good drainage. It likes a moist environment, distributed in areas with annual precipitation of 1,200~1,800 mm, but is not tolerant of water damage. Should not choose field without good drainage, low-lying land easy to flooding, or field with high groundwater level. Normally the tree grows in moist fields with deep soil layers, loose and fertile, slightly acidic, well-drained hillsides or valleys, open forest or forest margins.
Characters of herbs: The herb is irregular small lumps, often bonded into a ball, slightly flat, the surface is orange-yellow, with a waxy luster (fat flows out naturally); There are also irregular globular or flat blocks with ash-gray (grayish-white) to yellowish-white surfaces (fat cut artificially). The texture of the herb is crisp and fragile, and the fracture surface is flat and white. After placement, it gradually changes to fallow (pale yellowish-brown) or reddish brown. The herb has an aromatic fragrance, it tastes slightly pungent, and gritty when it gets chewed.
(2).Styrax benzoin Dryand.
Botanical description: The plant, Styrax benzoin Dryand., is commonly known as ān Xī Xiāng, or ān Xī Xiāng Shù. Trees, the tree grows up to 10~20 meters high. The bark is brownish-green, the inner bark is brownish-black, the xylem is red-brown, and young branches are covered with brown stellate hairs. Leaves are alternate; petioles are about 0.6~ 1 cm long; leaf blades are ovate-oblong, up to 4.5~11 cm long, 2.6~4.5 cm wide, apex is sharp pointed or acuminate, base is broadly cuneate or orbicular, the upper surface is slightly glossy, the under surface is densely covered with white short stellate hairs, leaf margin is irregular serrated.
Racemes accumulated and form panicle, axillary, or apical, pedicels (flower stalks) are covered with hairs, flower bracts are small, caducous; the calyx is shortly campanulate (bell-shaped), 5-dentate lobed, lobes are lanceolate, corolla is white, deeply 5-parted, lobes are lanceolate, about three times the length of the hypanthium (floral tube), calyx and flower petals are all covered with silvery white threadlike hairs, inner surface is red brown; 8~10 stamens; anthers are linear, filaments connate at the base and form a tube; ovary is superior, oval (egg-shaped), densely covered with white fuzz, the upper part has 1 loculus, the lower part is 2~3-loculed, style is thin and long, red brown.
Fruits are oblate, about 2 cm long, and taupe brown (grayish brown). Seeds are pyreniform (nut fruit-like), red-brown; each cell contains 1 seed; and have 6 longitudinal striations.
Ecological Environment: The tree grows in the wild or is cultivated near a paddy field. The tree is mainly distributed in Sumatra and Java. The tree has been introduced and cultivated in tropical regions.
Characters of herbs: The herb is a conglomeration of spherical particles, different in size, reddish-brown to brown, coarse and rough, embedded with yellow-white and gray-white opaque particles. The texture of the herb is crisp, and turns softening and melting when it is heated. The herb has an aromatic fragrance, it tastes slightly pungent.
Medicinal efficacy: Inducing resuscitation, clear phlegm, promoting qi to activate blood, relieve pain. It is indicated for stroke and phlegm syncope, convulsive epilepsy and coma (frightened epilepsy and unconscious), apoplexy and sudden syncope, Qi stagnation and sudden syncope, attacked by pestilent factors then coma, abdominal pain, postpartum hemorrhea (fainting after childbirth), acute infantile convulsion, lumbago of wandering arthritis, arthrodynia of extremities due to wandering arthritis.
Administration of Benzoinum (ān Xī Xiānɡ):
Administration Guide of Benzoinum (ān Xī Xiānɡ)
①.Internally: 0.6~1.5 grams, mostly prepare to pill, powder; ②.Internally:prepare to finely ground herb powder, 1~5 fen (about 0.3~1.5 grams), or prepare to pill, powder. Externally:burn the herb and smokes;③.Internally:prepare to finely ground herb powder, 0.3~1.5 grams, or prepared to pill, powder.
Contraindications, Precautions and Adverse Reactions: the herb Benzoinum should be used cautiously in conditions fire excess from yin deficiency(hyperactivity of fire due to yin deficiency). Should forbidden using in conditions Qi deficiency with reduced appetite, fire excess from Yin deficiency(hyperactivity of fire due to yin deficiency).
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1.Introduction of an Xi Xiang:Benzoin or Benzoinum.