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Benzoin Gum Powder

If you can remember visiting the family doctor 40 or more years ago, you may remember the ubiquitous jar of “tincture of benzoin” kept on an office shelf. The benzoin tree is native to the tropical reaches of Southeastern Asia, China, and Indonesia. The resin, also called gum benjamin, has a vanilla like aroma and ranges in color from pale yellow to red brown and is harvested by making triangular incisions into the tree’s bark to establish a flow, which then hardens into lumps when exposed to air and sunlight. Benzoin is used in the perfume industry as an antioxidant, stabilizer, and fixative. It will sometimes harden under fluctuations in humidity.
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