What the heck is copaiba balsam?

Balsam Copaiba

Image courtesy of mauroguanandi on flickr

Recently I was asked if I carried Copaiba Balsam. Although I had heard of the oil, I was quite unfamiliar with it so it wasn’t a product I stocked. That’s when I decided to find out more about Copaiba so I would know what the heck it was.

To begin with, there are two items produced from the Brazilian Copaiba (Copaifera officinalis) resin. There is a sesquiterpene-rich essential oil, but also an oleoresin with diterpenes not found in a distilled oil. Robert Tisserand* prefers the oleoresin stating that those diterpenes are very desirable for healing the skin and it would find “good use in any skin care formulation.” He also mentions that it “is one of the safest oils to use on the skin. It can be very useful in healing soothing irritation and treating chronic skin disease.” Apparently I wasn’t giving this oil its due by ignoring it for so long.

In doing more research, I discovered that the essential oil has a long list of therapeutic uses, including analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antispasmodic, astringent, calming, cooling, decongestant, diuretic, expectorant, and immunostimulant. These indicate that the oil would help with a myriad of skin problems along with disorders of the respiratory, urinary or digestive tracts. It is also considered an oil that supports emotional healing by soothing tension and enhancing meditation.

Tisserand also notes that the oil “causes skin cells to produce beta-endorphin, one of the happiness hormones.” So, I thought a cheerful recipe would be good to include:

Come On, Get Happy Massage Oil
4 drops Copaiba balsam (Copaifera officinalis) essential oil or oleoresin
3 drops Jasmine (Jasminum sambac) absolute
5 drops Tangerine (Citrus reticulata) essential oil
1 oz carrier oil
Mix ingredients in a small bottle. The blended oil can be used in the bath, in massage, or as a moisturizer.

*at Robert Tisserand Essential Oil Training on Facebook