Amyris is a genus of flowering plants in the citrus family, Rutaceae. The generic name is derived from the Greek word αμρν (amyron), which means "intensely scented" and refers to the strong odor of the resin. Members of the genus are commonly known as Torchwoods because of their highly flammable wood.
The trunks of Amyris species exude elemi, a type of balsam (oleoresin) that contains elemic acids, liquid sesquiterpenes, and triterpenes such as α- and β-amyrin among other components. It is used medicinally and in lacquers. The wood is often used for torches and firewood. Its high resin content causes it to burn brightly, and it will burn well even when green. In addition, the wood is hard, heavy, close-grained, can take a high polish, and repels dry wood termites. Essential oils containing caryophyllene, cadinene, and cadinol are extracted from A. balsamifera and A. elemifera. These are used in varnishes, perfumes, medicines, cosmetics, soaps, and incense.
Chemical compounds known as chromenylated amides isolated from Amyris plumieri have shown some inhibition of the cytochrome P450 enzymes.