On storing, moisture and mucilaginous matter gradually settle out.
The taste is mucilaginous, sweetish and slightly bitter and aromatic. The root is frequently forked, and it is probably owing to this circumstance that medicinal properties were in the first place attributed to it, its resemblance to the body of a man being supposed to indicate that it could restore virile power to the aged and impotent.
The oil which exudes is mixed with water and heated till the water boils, and the mucilaginous matter in the oil separates as a scum.
When these fires occur while the trees are full of sap, a curious mucilaginous matter is exuded from the half-burnt stems; when dry it is of pale reddish colour, like some of the coarser kinds of gum-arabic, and is soluble in water, the solution resembling gumwater, in place of which it is sometimes used; considerable quantities are collected and sold as " Orenburg gum "; in Siberia and Russia it is occasionally employed as a semi-medicinal food, being esteemed an antiscorbutic. For burning in close stoves and furnaces, larch makes tolerably good fuel, its value being estimated by Hartig as only one-fifth less than that of beech; the charcoal is compact, and is in demand for iron-smelting and other metallurgic uses in some parts of Europe.
Resins when soft are known as oleo-resins, and when containing benzoic or cinnamic acid they are called balsams. Other resinous products are in their natural condition mixed with gum or mucilaginous substances and known as gum-resins.