Called also icicafiba, icicia, and gum elemi, is a dry resinous substance, brought from the East Indies and AEthiopia; but an inferior sort is the produce of an olive tree in the Spanish West Indies; the amyris elemifera Lin. Sp. Pi. 495. The elemi tree is also called myrobalanus Zeylanicus; elemnifera Curassavica arbor; kaekuria. What is brought from the east is wrapped in flag leaves; is softish, somewhat transparent; of a pale whitish yellow colour, inclining to green; inflammable, and of an agreeable flavour when melting; to the taste bitterish; dissolving totally in rectified spirit of wine; and yielding, by distillation with water, about one ounce of essential oil from sixteen of the gum. Dr. Wright informs us that a resin, not apparently different from the elemi, is obtained from the bursera gum-mifera Lin. Sp. Pi. 47 1; the tree supposed to afford the simarouba. Of this resin, alcohol dissolves 0.94; and it contains also about 0.06 of essential oil.
It is chiefly used as a digestive in the form of an ointment: the London college gives the following prescription, in which it is the chief ingredient.- Unguen-tum elemi, Ointment of Elemi. Take of mutton suet prepared, two pounds; of gum elemi, one pound; of common turpentine, ten ounces. Melt the gum with the suet; and when all is quickly removed from the fire, add the turpentine; and, while the mixture is fluid, strain it.
Arcaeus was its first prescriber, and it was formerly called linimentum vel balsamum Arccaei. (See Lewis's Materia Medica. Neumann's Chem. Works.) When two ounces of olive oil are added, it has been called un-guentum elemi compositum. It is the best of the terebin-thinate applications for encouraging a salutary digestion in ulcers. If to half a pound of this ointment one drachm of aerugo aeris is added, it becomes unguentum elemi cum erugine. The verdigrise must be mixed with a little oil, and gradually stirred into the ointment whilst in a melting state. This remedy has been long used as a stimulant to foul ulcers.