Onycha (Styrax benzoin) is mentioned only once in the Bible:
“The Lord said to Moses: Take sweet spices, stacte,[another name for myrrh] and onycha, and galbanum, sweet spices with pure frankincense and make an incense blended as by the perfumer, seasoned with salt, pure and holy; and you shall beat some of it into powder, and put part of it before the covenant in the tent of meeting where I shall meet with you; it shall be for you most holy. When you make incense according to this composition, you shall not make it for yourselves; it shall be regarded by you as holy to the Lord.” Exodus 30:34-36
Benzoin was used both as medicine and as incense in the ancient world. They used it in perfume and blended it in holy anointing oils, and used it as an ointment to heal skin wounds. Since the 16th century however, it has been used as a tincture for respiratory complaints and for cuts and skin conditions. To make a tincture, the oil is placed in alcohol. Benzoin is a rather sticky substance that has a characteristic vanilla-like fragrance. The oil comes from the benzoin trees that grow up to 65 feet in height. These are tropical trees that come from places like Java, Sumatra and Malaysia. To get the oil, solvents must be used and later removed from the oil.
How Can Onycha (Styrax Benzoin) Be Used Today for Healing ?
Modern uses of onycha (benzoin) include stimulating renal output, relieving colic, flatulence, and constipation and it may help control blood sugar levels. Onycha can be inhaled for sinusitis, bronchitis, colds, coughs and sore throats. It is anti-inflammatory and is used for dermatitis and skin wounds. This oil can relieve stress when used in massage. As a nurse, I used tincture of benzoin countless times for wound dressings, and when patients were diaphoretic, I used it to help tape to stick to the skin.
Onycha can be inhaled, used in massage, and applied topically in wound dressings. It is a non-toxic, non-irritating oil but some may be sensitive. Want to learn more about this healing oil and many others? Consider becoming a certified aromatherapist. Educational courses in healing energy and aromatherapy can help you understand how essential oils heal the body/mind/spirit. The Institute of Spiritual Healing & Aromatherapy is offering courses throughout the United States.