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Shellac, Waxes, Gums and Resins

Damar Lumps

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Damar Resin – Dammar Resin – Gum Damar – Gum Dammer – Damar Gum – Dammar Gum – Shorea Robusta Resin

CAS Number: 9000-16-2
EINECS Number: 232-528-4


Damar is an aromatic resin mainly secreted by the Dipterocarpaceae family of trees in Southeastern Asia, of which those of the genera Hopea, Shorea and Balanocarpus are the most important commercially. The trees that yield Damars are commonly found in the Malay Peninsula and Sumatra, an island in western Indonesia, but are also sourced from Borneo, Cochin China, Java and Thailand. The main Malayan varieties are Damar Mata Kuching from Hopea micrantha, Damar Temak from Shorea hypochra, and Damar Penak from Balanocarpus heimii. In Indonesia, Batavian Damar from Shorea wiesneri is the main commercial variety. The principal varieties in India are sal Damar from Shorea robusta, black Damar from Canarium strictum, and white Damar from Vateria indica. Most Damar resin is produced by tapping trees, but can also be dug out of the ground in fossilised form. East India resins are produced by the same trees that yield Damars, but are older and harder and are mostly gathered from watercourses or the ground.


Damar ranges in colour from clear to pale yellow, while the fossilised form is grey-brown, but it can be refined into an off-white powder. It is soluble in alcohol and Turpentine, but not water. It has a melting point of approximately 120 degrees Celsius, and is combustible.


Food & Beverages Industry

Outside Europe, Damar is used as a food additive, functioning as a shiny protective external coating. The Beverages industry also uses it as a clouding agent to make drinks such as fruit juices look more natural and appealing.

In Europe, Damar does not have an E number, so is not authorised as a food additive, but is authorised for use “on plastic materials and articles intended to come into contact with food” [Commission Regulation EU 10/2011 – search for “Dammar”]. In the US, Damar “may be safely used as the food-contact surface of articles intended for use in producing, manufacturing, packing, processing, preparing, treating, packaging, transporting, or holding food…” [FDA CFR 21 175.300]. Damar is sometimes mixed with Beeswax and coated onto cloth to make Beeswax wraps.

Confectionery Industry

Damar is used as a glazing agent for candies.

Pharmaceutical Industry

Damar is used in histology, the study of the microscopic structure of tissues. Damar dissolved in a solution of xylene or chloroform is used to mount and preserve thinly sliced biological sections for examination under the microscope.

Incense Industry

Damar is used in the manufacture of incense.

Wood Treatment Industry

Damar is used as an ingredient in lacquers and varnishes that are made by mixing it with Turpentine to form a fine varnish that dries to smooth, clear and hard finish. Damar varnishes are believed to adhere better than Manila Copal varnishes, but are viewed as softer and less durable.

Textile Industry

Damar is dissolved in molten Paraffin wax in the batik technique of wax-resistant dyeing, helping to prevent the wax from cracking when it is drawn onto rayon or silk.

Printing & Packaging Industry

The Printing industry uses Damar in coloured printing inks. The Paper industry uses Damar to varnish paper because of its light colour and lustre.

Other Industries

The Art industry uses Damar as a varnish for oil paintings.