scientific name: Copaifera officinalis other common names: Jesuit's balsam, copal,
balsam growing areas: Brazil, Peru, Panama, and Venezuela physical description: It is a large tree that can grow up to 100 feet in height.
traditional uses:. The tree produces an oleoresin, which is obtained through cuts made on the bark. The resin is bitter to the taste and yellow-brown in color. In traditional medicine, the resin has been used for the treatment of bronchitis, catarrh, and inflammation of the gastrointestinal and urogenital tracts. It has also been used as a styptic for wounds and ulcers to promote healing. Though it is a plant native to Latin America, copaiba was introduced to Europe in the sixteenth century.
Copaiba has also been used for nonmedicinal purposes, such as as an additive to perfumes and varnishes. availability and dosage: Available as an oil, usually sold by the ounce. Dosages vary.
contraindications: None noted.
special precautions: Consult your physician before beginning any use of an ethnobotanical substance for medicinal purposes.
Researchers report that large doses can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, and skin rashes.
medical research: Researchers in Brazil found in a 1998 study that rats fed an extract of the resin of copaiba suffered less damage to their stomach tissue from chemicals meant to induce gastric ulcers. The researchers concluded that the resin increased mucus production in the stomach and acted as an antacid.