He began his experimental work in 1841 with investigations of oil of turpentine and tolu balsam, in the course of which he discovered toluene.
Balsam of Tolu, produced by Myroxylon toluiferum, a native of Venezuela and New Granada; balsam of Peru, derived from Myroxylon Pereirae, a native of San Salvador in Central America; Mexican and Brazilian elemi, produced by various species of Icica or "incense trees," and the liquid exudation of an American species of Liquidambar, are all used as incense in America.
CINNAMIC ACID, or Phenylacrylic Acid, C9H80 2 or C 6 H 5 CH: CH COOH, an acid found in the form of its benzyl ester in Peru and Tolu balsams, in storax and in some gumbenzoins.
It occurs naturally in some resins, especially in gum benzoin (from Styrax benzoin), in dragon's blood, and as a benzyl ester in Peru and Tolu balsams. It can be prepared by the oxidation of toluene, benzyl alcohol, benzaldehyde and cinnamic acid; by the oxidation of benzene with manganese dioxide and concentrated sulphuric acid in the cold (L.
Aipi), peanuts, pineapple, guava, chirimoya (Anona cherimolia), pawpaw (Carica papaya), ipecacuanha (Cephaelis), sarsaparilla, vanilla, false jalap (Mirabilis jalapa), copaiba, tolu (Myroxylon toluiferum), rubber-producing trees, dyewoods, cotton and a great number of beautiful hardwoods, such as jacaranda, mahogany, rosewood, quebracho, colo, cedar, walnut, &c. Among the fruits many of the most common are exotics, as the orange, lemon, lime, fig, date, grape, &c., while others, as the banana, caju or cashew (Anacardium occidentale) and aguacate avocado or alligator pear, have a disputed origin.
1 8 41  3, p. 168) obtained it by distilling Tolu balsam, naming it benzoene, and Glenard and Bouldault obtained a substance by the dry distillation of dragon's blood which they called dracyl.
In this group may be included the oleo-resins, such as copaiba, cubebs and Canada balsam; the gum-resins, such as asafetida, myrrh, ammoniacum and galbanum; and the true balsams, such as benzoin, storax, balsam of Tolu and balsam of Peru.