Family • Burseraceae - Canarium luzonicum (Blume) A. Gray - MANILA ELEMI - Ch'ing-kuo

Other scientific names

Canarium villosum Blume
Pimela luzonica  Blume
Canarium album Blanco
Canarium commune F. Vill.
Canarium carapifolium Perk.
Canarium polyanthum Perk.
Canarium triandrum

Common names

Alañgi (Ilk) Manila Elemi (English)
Alanki (Ilk) Palsahingin (Tag)
Antang (Ibn) Pili (Tag., Bik., Bis., Ibn.)
Anteng (Ilk) Piling liitan (Tag)
Bakan (Ting.) Pilauai (Tag)
Bakoog (Ilk) Pisa (Tag)
Basiad (Tag) Sahing (Tag.)
Belis (Tag) Tugtugin (Tag.)
Bulau (Pang) Chinese olive (Engl.)
Malapili (Bik) Brea blanca, arbol a brea (Spanish)


Additional Sources and Suggested Readings

(1) Plant Resins: Chemistry, Evolution, Ecology

(2) Mutagenic and Antimutagenic Activities in Philippine Medicinal and Food Plants / Clara Y Lim-Sylianco and W Thomas Shier / Summary • Toxin Reviews, 1985, Vol. 4, No. 1, Pages 71-105 / DOI 10.3109/15569548509014414

Sahing2Gen info 
Canarium belongs to the family Burseraceae with 75 known genera and about 550 species.

Of the canarium species, there are 75 known and nine of which are found in the Philippines, with at least four of econimic importance: Canarium ovatum (Pili), C. indicum, C. album, and C. luzonicum(Sahing,Manila elemi).

Resin called elemi is obtained from members of the family Bursecraceae, particularly Canarium, Dacryodes, and Protium. As with other resins grouped as balsams, elemis are more viscous than oleoresins, semisolid, and very fragrant. Its soft and malleable nature comes from its liquid sesquiterpenes.The resin is primarily from volatile sesquiterpenes and non-volatile triterpenes.

Although “elemi” used to be generically applied to a large number of oleoresins, it is now used to describe Manila elemi, from Canarium luzonicum, one of the best known and single largest source of the world’s supply of elemi. Manila elemi is a soft and fragrant oleoresin, oily, paie yellow to greenish, of honey consistency, balsamic in odor and bitter tasting.

Elemi has properties and uses similar to Frankincense; ergo, also referred to as “Poor Man’s Frankincense.”

France has been the largest single market, followed by Germany, and increasingly by Japan.

Sahing is a large tree reaching a height of more than 30 meters, the trunk a meter or more. Leaves are alternate, pinnate, and about 30 centimeters long, commonly with three opposite pairs and a terminal leaflet. The leaflets are smooth, oblong-ovate, 12 to 20 centimeters long, 3 to 7 centimeters wide, smooth and shiny on both sides, pointed at the apex, rounded or obtusely pointed at the base. Flowers are clustered and borne on large compounded inflorescences. Fruit is ovoid, 4 to 5 centimeters long, 2 to 2.5 centimeters wide, smooth, with a single seed.

– Common in primary forests at low and medium altitudes from northern Luzon (Cagayan) to Mindoro, Ticao, and Masbate.

Parts utilized 
Fruit and sap

Constituents and properties
• Oleoresin (Manila Elemi), d-alpha-phellandrene, dipentene, sesquiterpine alchol, elemicin, trimethyl homogallic aldehyde, trimethyl homogallic acid, d-limonene, terpene, terpinolene, pinene.
• Rubifacient and antirheumatic.
• Considered antiseptic, antispasmodic, antibacterial, fungicidal and insecticidal.
• Study on the composition of Manila elemi oil from the distillation of elemi gum yielded 39 compounds constituting 99.2% of the oil with limonene, the most abundant at 56%.

Arthritis and rheumatism – Apply oleoresin over affected parts.
Boils, abscesses, and furuncles – Apply oleoresin over affected area to induce swelling to come a point.
Used for burns and sores.
For fevers and chills, the tree bark is struck with a bolo or sharp instrument to induce the sap to bleed. The tree sap is allowed to hardened overnight and a corn-sized drop is taken with water.
The tree bark is commonly used for postpartum baths, one of many ingredients in a decoction (balat ng buboy, palad ng buli, dahon ng payang-payang, galamay amo, and three pieces of batong buhay).
In plaster, heated and applied to the chest to stop secvere coughing.

• Anti-lice: Marketed as Lysout, a natural anti-lice foaming gel composed of: Echinacea purpurea 10%, Canarium luzonicum gum oil 2%.
• Used to scent soaps and cosmetics.

Study Findings
Genotoxicity: In a 1985 review, of 138 medicinal plant preparations used in the Philippines, 12 exhibited detectable genotoxicity, including Canarium luzonicum.

Commercial and wild-crafted.
Elemi oil in the cybermarket.