Until quite recently, storax has generally been supposed to be the juice of Styrax officinale, a small tree, indigenous in Syria and other parts of the Levant, and naturalized in the South of Europe; but it has been rendered extremely probable by Mr. Daniel Hanbury, of London, that the drug is really derived from the Liquidamber Orientate, growing in Asia Minor. There are several varieties of it. Sometimes it is obtained in tears, separated or agglutinated; but these are seldom if ever brought to this country. The varieties found in our market are two; one in solid friable lumps, consisting of sawdust with more or less of the balsam; the other, called liquid storax, a semiliquid adhesive substance, of a light greenish-gray colour, though nearly black on the surface. it is said to be procured from the inner bark by expression or decoction, or by the two methods combined. Storax is purified for use by dissolving it in alcohol, and evaporating to the proper consistence; and it is in this purified form that it is directed in the British Pharmacopoeia.

The odour of storax is fragrant, its taste somewhat pungent and aromatic. it is fusible by heat, inflammable, very partially soluble in water, to which it imparts its odour, and quite soluble, with the exception of impurities, in alcohol and ether. it contains resin, a volatile oil, and cin-namic or benzoic acid, with some other ingredients of no practical importance.

Medical Effects and Uses

Storax has the same effects on the system as the other balsams, and may be used for the same purposes. it has been occasionally employed in chronic bronchial affections, complaints of the urinary passages, leucorrhoea, amenorrhoea, and as a local stimulant application to ulcers; but is at present little prescribed, at least in the United States. it has of late been again brought into notice as a remedy, jointly with copaiba, in diphtheria and croup. (See article on Copaiba, page 638.) it is an ingredient in the Compound Tincture of Benzoin, already described {page 689), and in the Compound Pills of Storax (Pilula Styracis Composita, Lond.; Pilulae Styracis, Ed.), formerly directed by the British Pharmacopoeias, but omitted in the present; so that they are no longer officinal. They were made of storax, opium, and saffron. The object of the storax was simply to cover the smell and taste of the opium, as its name, in the title of the preparation, concealed the important ingredient. indeed, the object was to afford the means of prescribing opium, when it might be needed, without the knowledge of the patient; very important sometimes, in order to avoid leading to evil habits. Five grains of the mass contained a grain of opium.