Continuing on in our series of Essential Oils that may not have
been on your radar, today we will be looking at Copaiba Balsam
Copaiba Balsam Essential Oil (EO), botanically known as Copaifera Officinalis, has a mild, sweet, woody and slightly balsamic fragrance, that provides a base note in formulations
The EO is steam distilled from the crude balsam of the wild-growing, Copaiba tree. Primarily found in the forests of Brazil, Columbia, Peru, and Venezuela, this well branched, tropical tree grows up to 100 feet tall. It has leathery leaves, and the blossoms are small, white, and quite fragrant. It produces a fruit that is leathery and only contains one seed, and is classofoed as a leegume. The part of the copaiba tree that is used to make the EO is the balsam, which is the oleoresin. But, while it is called a balsam, it is really more of a natural oil, not a balsam. It is a thick, rather clear or pale yellow, but deepens to a fairly golden yellow color as it is exposed to air. This resin accumulates in cavities that are in the trunk of the tree. Then incisions are made in teh trunk in order to tap the resin.
This herbal oil is used as an emollient in lacquers and paint, and is used in art restoration to restore coloring to old paintings. But the most important properties of the copaiba tree are due to its oil, and the medicinal properties of that oil. In fact, from 1820 until 1910 copaiba oleoresin was listed as an official drug in the US Pharmacopeia. Copaiba oil has been documented to have antibacterial properties, and additionally is believed to have anti-inflammatory, disinfectant, diuretic, expectorant, and stimulant properties. It especially benefits bronchitis, bruises, burns, chills, colds, coughs, cuts, cystitis, intestinal infections, stress related conditions, and other urinary issues. In skin care, this EO is best used to treat cuts, burns, and bruises, in compresses, balms, or ointments. Considering its properties, and the fact that it is a base note, this EO makes a great fixative for your disinfectant blends, either for surfaces or for diffusers. And, of course, this EO is also great for scenting perfumes, soaps, lotions and other bath and body products. The only safety warning is to avoid this EO during pregnancy.