Elemi essential oil

Elemi essential oil information

Elemi essential oil information

General Information

Common Name: Elemi

Scientific Name: Canarium indicum

Family: Bursearaceae

Origin: Phillipine Islands and Moluccas

Synonyms: C. commune, Manila elemi, elemi gum, elemi resin, elemi (oleoresin)


Essential Oil Properties and Characteristics

Elemi essential oil is a colourless to pale yellow liquid with a light, fresh, balsamic-spicy, lemon like odour.

Origin and History

Elemi is a tropical tree growing up to 30 metres high which yields a resinous pathological exudation with a green pungent odour. Although it is called a gum, it is almost entirely made up of resin and essential oil.

Elemi essential oil is native to the Philippine Islands and the Moluccas, where it is also cultivated. Distillation of the oil takes place at source. There are several other species of Canarium which grow wild or are cultivated in the Philippines, which also yield a 'gum'. It is also closely related to the trees yielding myrrh, frankincense and opopanax.

The gum contains about 10-25 per cent essential oil of mainly phellandrene, dipentene, elemol, elemicin, terpineol, carvone and terpinolene among others.

Elemi essential oil, gum or oleoresin is used locally for skin care. It has antiseptic and stimulating properties. Elemi was one of the aromatics used by the ancient Egyptians for the embalming process. Resinoid and oil are used primarily as fixatives but also as fragrance components in soaps, detergents, cosmetics and perfumes. Occasionally used as a flavouring ingredient in food products, alcoholic and soft drinks.

Method of Extraction

Elemi essential oil is extracted by steam-distillation from the gum. A resinoid and resin absolute are also produced in small quantities.

Precautions During Use (Contraindications)

Elemi essential oil is non-toxic, non-irritating and non-sensitising. 

Therapeutic properties

Elemi essential oil has antiseptic and stimulating properties. It is used in skin care products, especially for mature skin.

Elemi essential oil blends well with myrrh, frankincense, labdanum, rosemary, lavender, lavandin, sage, cinnamon and other spices