This section is from the book "An Experimental History Of The Materia Medica", by William Lewis.
Gummi Elemi Pharm. Lond. Elemi: a concrete resinous juice, said to be obtained from a large tree resembling an olive; (Amyris elemisera Linn.) brought from the Spanish West Indies, and sometimes from the East Indies, in oblong roundish cakes, generally wrapt up in flag leaves. The best sort is softish, somewhat transparent, of a pale whitish yellow colour, inclining a little to greenish. The faculty of Paris mentions a spurious elemi, or gummi chibou, which is not yet known among us.
Elemi has a strong, tolerably pleasant smell; and a flight bitterish taste. It gives out very little to aqueous menstrua, but almost totally dissolves in rectified spirit, tinging the fluid of a pale gold colour. Distilled with water, it yields a thin pale coloured essential oil, amounting to about one ounce from sixteen, of a moderately pungent taste, and smelling strongly of the elemi: a friable inodorous resin remains behind in the still. On submitting to distillation the solution made in rectified spirit, a little of the fragrance of the elemi arises with the spirit, greatest: part remaining in the infpiffated mass, which has a considerable share of the smell, though it makes little impression on the organs of taste.
This resin is scarcely otherwise employed among us, than as an ingredient in digestive ointments; one of the best of the officinal digestives, formerly called the ointment or liniment of Arcaeus, consists of six parts of the elemi, five of turpentine, twelve of sheeps suet, and one of olive oil melted together. This resin should nevertheless seem applicable to other purposes, and to be preferable, for internal use, to some resinous substances that have been held in greater esteem.