Ben oil, extracted from the seeds of the Moringa oleifera. High in behenic acid. Extremely stable edible oil. Also suitable for biofuel.
[size=75]From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia [/size]
Ben oil is pressed from the seeds of the Moringa oleifera, known variously as the horseradish tree, ben oil tree, or drumstick tree. The oil is characterized by an unusually long shelf life and a mild, but pleasant taste. The name of the oil is derived from the high quantity of behenic acid. The oil’s components are:
Seeds offer a relatively high yield of 22-38% oil. Ben oil has been used for thousands of years as a perfume base, and continues to be used in the capacity today. The oil can also be used as a fuel. Burkill reports:
The ancient Greeks manufactured ben oil and other herbal oils. Theophrastos, in the fourth century BC, had very strong opinions about which oils to use to make perfumes, and ben oil was firmly at the top of the list.
In Rome, around 70 AD, Pliny the Elder described the tree and its fruits under the name myrobalanum after the Greek word myron meaning “ointment”. Around the same time Dioscorides described the fruit as balanos myrepsike (roughly “acorn shaped fruit well-suited for preparation of fragrant ointments”). He observed that “grinding the kernels, like bitter almonds, produces a liquid which is used instead of oil to prepare precious ointments.” Dioscorides’ recommendation was influential in promoting the “balanos” fruits and their oil for medicinal purposes.
During the same era, Alexandria, in Egypt, had become the predominant center for the production of perfumes. This was still true when the Turks captured the city in 642 AD and became familiar with both the fruits and the oil. The Arabic word for myrobola didn’t include just the fruit, but also the oil and the herbal oils extracted from it. That Arabic herbal oils usually included myrrh resin, Indian cardemom and other types of cardemom lead to a common misunderstanding: Portuguese botanists who started exploring the Far East in the 16th century wasted years trying to find the tree that produced the fragrant myrobalan oil before they realized that it was just an extract of a plant which they already knew.