Dictionary > Chian turpentine

Chian turpentine

noun, plural: Chian turpentines
A semifluid or fluid oleoresin extruded by the terebinth (Pistacia terebenthus)
Chian turpentine is an oleoresin from the extrusion of Pistacia terebenthus, commonly referred to as terebinth or the turpentine tree. The terebinth is an angiosperm species belonging to the family Anacardiaceae. The tree can grow to the height of 25 to 30 feet. It has a very thick bark and the wood is hard and resinous.1 It is a species native to Iran and the Mediterranean region. The species is believed to be the earliest known source of turpentine. The name Chian came from the island of Chios that was formerly famous for turpentines. 1 This species is native and cultivated in this island primarily for its resin (which was anciently used as wine preservative) and for ornamental purposes.2
The turpentine that flows from the tree is yellowish white in clolour with a slight tinge of blue. The exudation can be derived by making an incision made in the trunk and larger branches. 1 The turpentine is gathered by allowing the juice to flow upon the stones placed at the bottom of the tree and allowed to condense at night, and then scraped off the following morning before sunrise. The collected juice would then be re-liquified through solar heat. Finally, the turpentine would be strained to remove other impurities before being placed in casks. Chian turpentine has a consistency similar to a thick honey.2
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1 “Vegetable Substances Used for the Food of Man”. (1833). London: Charles Knight. pp.415-416.

2 American physician. (1827). “The Eclectic and General Dispensatory”. Philadelphia: Towar and Hogan. p.239

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