Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Elemi (from the Greek enaimon, the name of a styptic gum said by Pliny to exude from the olive tree of Arabia) is an oleo-resin, or rather a class of oleo-resins, partly crystalline and less soluble in alcohol, and partly amorphous and more so. It is tough, light-yellow, greenish-yellow, or colourless, with a fennel-like smell and aromatic bitter taste. That used in pharmacy is exuded from incisions in Canarium commune, a Philippine Island tree, and is known as Manilla elemi. Mauritius elemi comes from Colophonia Mauritiana; African, from Bosnellia Frereana, and probably other species native to Somali-land; American or Brazilian, from Icica-Icicariba, I. heptaphylla, I. Caranna, etc.; and Vera Cruz or Mexican, from Amyris elemifera. All these trees belong to the order Amyridaceae, Burseraceae or Terebinthaceae, as it is variously called. Though used as a constituent of a stimulating ointment and as incense, elemi is chiefly employed in the manufacture of spirit and turpentine varnishes. In the Philippines it is used in caulking ships and in torches.