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Is it safe to burn Benzoin incense ?

To: alt.aromatherapy,alt.folklore.herbs,,sci.chem,alt.lucky.w
From: catherine yronwode 
Subject: Re: Is it safe to burn Benzoin incense ?
Date: Sat, 10 Aug 2002 22:24:44 GMT

Tsu Dho Nimh wrote:
> (Pierre Digravecci) wrote:
> >I have recently bought bits of Siam Benzoin in an incense shop. The
> >last time I have burnt some, it soon became impossible to breathe
> >inside the room, as this thing were producing an incredibly 
> >irritating smoke. Afterwards I noticed a large amount of (beautiful) 
> >white crysallic deposit under the metallic lid of my burner.
> Benzoin is a disinfectant: tincture of benzoin, benzoic acid
> (used in food). It's a skin wash more than anything.
> > My questions are:
> > - What are those white crystals ?
> My guess would be benzoic acid - in its pure form,
> > - Are there special conditions for this chemical reaction to 
> > happen ?
> High concentration of aromatics in what you are burning.  The
> second batch was probably not very high quality.
> > - Can I safely go on burning this incense ? I have read on a
> > toxicology report that chemical Benzoin is commonly used in 
> > inhalants as an expectorant and antiseptic. But a few lines further 
> > they say that it may be harmful by ingestion, inhalation or skin 
> > absorption.
> Given that is became "impossible to breathe" and you found the
> smoke "incredibly irritating", why would you even WANT to give it
> another try at your lungs.

I have burned Benzoin (Styrax benzoin Styran officinalis) as an incense
for years, both alone and in combination with Frankincense, Sandalwood,
Camphor, Myrrh, Copal Oro, Copal Negro, and/or Dragon's Blood resin --
and i have not found it irritating to my lungs, nor did it produce a
whitish crystal deposit on my incense burners. 

Perhaps the product in question was adulterated in some way to increase
its weight?

cat yronwode 

Hoodoo Herb and Root Magic 

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