One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
An oleoresin obtained from a tropical tree and used in varnishes, ointments, and aromatherapy.
This resin is obtained from several trees in the family Burseraceae, in particular Burserasimaruba (producing American elemi) and Canarium luzanicum (producing Manila elemi)
- ‘Ethyl alcohol is a comparatively poor solvent for elemi, but some perfumers prefer to extract only once with one or two parts of ethyl alcohol.’
- ‘Because of its drying and conserving properties, Elemi was one of the aromatics used by the ancient Egyptians for embalming their dead.’
Mid 16th century: perhaps from Arabic al-lāmī.
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