Latin Name: Canarium luonicum
Also known as: C. commune, Manila elemi, elemi gum, elemi resin
Distribution: Elemi is native to the Philippine Islands and the Moluccas, where it is also cultivated. Distillation occurs at the source.
Extraction: Elemi is extracted with a solvent to form a resinoid and the oil is produced from the steam distillation of this resinoid. A gum and resin are also produced in small quantities.
Characteristics: Elemi is colourless to pale yellow with a light, fresh balsamic-spicy, peppery, citrus odor.
Actions*: Antiseptic, balsamic, cicatrizant, expectorant, fortifying, regulatory, stimulant, stomachic, tonic.
Uses: For aged skin, infected cuts and wounds, inflammation, rejuvenation, wrinkles, bronchitis, catarrhal conditions, unproductive coughs, nervous exhaustion and stress-related conditions.
Elemi has been used as a stomachic and as an expectorant. It eases congestion of the lungs and controls excess mucus.
Elemi is recommended in skin care for aged skin, infected cuts, inflammation, and wrinkles. It may also be beneficial for ulcers, fungal growths and infected wounds.
Emotional: Elemi oil can encourage soothing, calm, stillness, contentment, compassion, and peace.
Perfumery: Elemi can be used as a top note fragrance. It is often used as a fixative and as a fragrance in soaps, detergents, cosmetics and perfumes. It blends well with myrrh, frankincense, labdanum, rosemary, lavender, lavandin, sage, cinnamon, and other spices.
Primary constituents: a-pinene, sabinene, limonene, myrcene, phellandrene, dipentene, elemol, elemicin, terpineol, carvone, and terpinolene..
Interesting facts: The name “elemi” is derived from the Arabic phrase meaning “As above, so below” showing that the oil acts on the emotional as well as the spiritual level. Although it is often known as the “poor man’s frankincense”, elemi must be appreciated for its many fabulous qualities (many of which are similar to frankincense).
It was one of the aromatics used by the ancient Egyptians in the embalming process. It is occasionally used as a flavoring in soft drinks and alcohol. It is also used in soaps and incense.
Although Elemi is called a gum, it is almost entirely made up of resin and essential oil.
Contraindications: Elemi is non-toxic, non-irritant, and non-sensitizing.
*for a listing of definitions, please visit Therapeutic Actions
Please note: this information is not intended to take the place of diagnosis and treatment by a licensed medical practitioner or naturopath. Any recommendations are for educational purposes only and are believed to be effective.
Do not use essential oils internally unless under the care and guidance of a licensed aromatherapist.