Gurjun essential oil is extracted from the woods and the oleo-resin (well-known globally as East Indian copaiba balsam), of the Gurjun tree by steam distillation method.
Ashwakarna is the Sanskrit name of the Common Gurjun tree and the trusted Ayurvedic remedy for relieving respiratory problems like asthma, bronchitis and chronic cough, for its ability to eliminate excess mucous deposits in the system.
Known as Dipterocarpus turbinatus botanically, Gurjun is indigenous to the Andaman Islands and the eastern parts of India. Gurjun is also called as Gurjun Balsam and referred as Chhaagakarna and Ajakarna in Ayurveda and used in the treatment of rheumatic conditions, urinary tract infections, skin problems like eczema and psoriasis and chronic respiratory problems.
Celebrated often as a key commercial timber species, the woods of this tree is considered vital in making of plywood. These notable reddish brown woods have been used in various countries including China, Cambodia, India and Yunnan. The resin extracted from the woods is used in making torches in Cambodia and the wood is employed in tea cabinet work, wood work and for sawing.
Gurjun tree is cultivated in India and China as a perfume as well as therapeutic plant. It is also used as a substitute for crude paint material. The leaves, wood and the resin of this tree have been in use in various Complementary and Alternative Medical systems for treating psoriasis, gonorrhea, bronchitis, leprosy, asthma and certain other skin disorders.
The essential oil extracted from the oleo-resin of the Gurjun trees contains beta-caryophyllene, bicyclic sesquiterpene hydrocarbon, humulene and sesquiterpene alcohol. The remedial properties of this oil are diuretic, antifungal, antimicrobial, spasmolytic, anti-ulcer, stimulant, anti-rheumatic and decongestant. The oil is a pale yellow to pale amber colored, viscous liquid of a mild-woody, somewhat balsamic-sweet odor and great tenacity. The oil would find application as a fixative, modifier and odor depressant material in woody or Oriental fragrances, e.g. in soap compounds where its great tenacity and mild, uniform odor is an advantage.
It has very little “odor value”, but it blends perfectly with a multitude of common perfume materials. On account of its extraordinarily high laevo rotatory power, gurjun balsam oil has served as a “correcting agent” in artificial essential oils which had to meet certain physical specifications or Pharmacopoeia demands. It is not infrequently found as a diluent in ylang-ylang oil, patchouli oil, sandalwood oil, vetiver oil, cubeb oil, etc. Gurjun (Balsam) Oil is not a common commercial article any more, but it is still available since the parent “balsam” is regularly produced.
Gurjun Balsam finds use in perfumery, it serves similar purposes as does copaiba balsam: it is a low-cost, comparatively mild-smelling natural fixative for woody, balsamic or pine-type fragrances, It is an odor-depressant and “stretcher” of general application. The natural oleoresin “gurjun balsam” contains from 60 to 80 percent of a viscous essential oil which is also used occasionally in perfumery
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