Balsam copaiba essential oil is distilled from the resin or gum of the Copaifera officianalis, a tropical tree that can grow up to 100 feet tall. The term balsam is a misnomer since balsam copaiba does not contain benzoic or cinnamic -- which is the case for a "true" balsam.
Copaiba is high in b-caryophyllene. This aromatic compound has analgesic (1), anti-inflammatory (2), anti-viral (3), immunostimulant (4), and anti-spasmodic (5) properties. These therapuetic properties make this oil useful for soothing aches and supporting the immune and respiratory system.
Copaiba is said to have an earthy, exotic aroma that is resinous, warm, and sweet. It if referred to as an excellent cooling oil helpful against inflammation, combating chronic mucus congestion, in supporting wound healing, for skin conditions, helpful against fungal conditions, and relieving aches.
It's high sesquiterpene content gives this oils it's skin and wound supporting and anti-inflammatory properties -- it typically has very high b-caryophyllene which is unusual but very welcomed.
The combination of therapeutic effects from b-caryophyllene and other sesquiterpenes make it an excellent choice for soothing, calming, and grounding as well as a perfect choice to support lung conditions and asthma. It also has anti-microbial properties. Copiaba blends well with oils rich in d-limonene such as citrus oils, elemi, or palo santo. Copiaba has no safety concerns.
Energetically this oil is said to support a quiet mind, reflection and introspection and support focused attention and tranquility.
Suggestions for use: I recently used copaiba in two blends to soothe back discomfort and inflammation. Since it is an acute situation I used a high dilution of oils in a base of arnica cream and also made a salve that included St. John's wort infused oil and hemp oil.
For a blend to soothe aches try creating a 3 - 5% blend in a base of arnica lotion or unscented lotion (15- 18 (3%) or 25-30 (5%) drops total of oils per ounce). You could try 10-15 drops of copaiba, along 2-5 drops of lemon, orange, or eucalyptus for additional analgesic support and penetration enhancement. You could add a bit of lavender or fir oil for additional support or try peppermint or cornmint for the cooling menthol or a small amount of ginger or clove for a warming effect (keep clove oil under 0.5% or less than 3 drops per ounce as it can irritate the skin). Massage onto sore areas as need for relief.
This would also be a great oil for sports massage, relaxation, or focus or to soothe respiratory discomforts.
If you have questions about copaiba or any other essential oil or aromatherapy in general contact Tricia.
1. Ghelardini C, Galeotti N, Di Cesare Mannelli L et al (2001) Local anaesthetic activity of β-caryophyllene. Il Farmaco 56:387-389
2. Fukuoka K, Sawabe A, Sugimoto T et al (2004) Inhibitory actions of several natural products on proliferation of rat vascular smooth muscle cells induced by Hsp60 from Chlamydia pneumoniae J138. Journal of Agricultural & Food Chemistry 52:6326-6329
2. Tambe Y, Tsujiuchi H, Honda G et al (1996) Gastric cytoprotection of the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory sesquiterpene, β-caryophyllene. Planta Medica 62: 469-470
3. Astani A, Reichling J, Schnitzler P (2011) Screening for antiviral activities of isolated compounds from essential oils. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Volume 2011 (2011), Article ID 253643, 8 pages
4. Da Silva SL, Figueiredo PM, Yano T (2007) Chemotherapeutic potential of the volatile oils from Zanthoxylum rhoifolium Lam leaves. European Journal of Pharmacology 576:180-188
5. Leonhardt V, Leal-Cardoso JH, Lahlou S et al (2010) Antispasmodic effects of essential oil of Pterodon polygalaeflorus and its main constituent beta-caryophyllene on rat isolated ileum. Fundamental & Clinical Pharmacology. (6):749-58