10 Benefits Of Balsam Essential Oil
1. Fights Infections
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When a tree is wounded, it secretes a sticky liquid to heal and protect itself from fungal or bacterial attacks. This liquid is known as the sap, balsam, or oleoresin and it has medicinal properties. This is why balsamic oils are used as antibacterial and antifungal agents in both traditional and modern medicine.2
While both balsam of Peru essential oil and cobaipa balsam oil can prevent the growth of mosquitoes and fleas, protecting you from insect-borne illnesses,3 4 balsam fir essential oil is effective against Staphylococcus auerus, a bacteria that causes numerous infections like pneumonia and bone and joint infections.5
2. Can Cure Scabies
As far back as 1907, balsam of Peru was used to treat scabies caused by mites, which mostly affected soldiers. The balsam, mixed with glycerine, was applied topically on the scabies and could reduce the itching, sometimes within a day. This was because the oil could kill off the parent mite within a few hours.6 Traditional medicine also holds that it is good for sore, cracked nipples, chilblains, and hemorrhoids. Even now, balsam of Peru is used in topical medicines for scabies, diaper rash, rashes in folds of the skin, eczema, anal itching, and hemorrhoid suppositories.
However, the chances of this balsamic essential oil causing skin allergies is considerably high. So don’t apply it without asking your doctor first or without doing a 24-hour patch test.
Copaiba balsam essential oil is safer to use in this regard as it has an antimicrobial effect but does not trigger allergies.
3. Can Heal Wounds Faster
The American Indians in Central and South America used to apply copaiba balsam to the navels of newborns and on battle wounds of warriors. This use probably originated when they found that wounded animals rubbed their bodies against copaiba trees.7
True to its traditional use, copaiba balsam could hasten healing in an experiment on lab rats. By day 9, rats with open wounds that had been given the copaiba balsam treatment showed 84% wound contraction compared to the 51% in the control group.
In case of incisions or surgical wounds, the tensile strength of the wound – that is its ability to withstand any external load – became double by day 5 in rats treated with copaiba balsam.8 The wound-healing property is probably due to the antibacterial and anti-inflammatory agents in the balsam.
4. Can Heal Skin Conditions
Copaiba balsam essential oil has been proved to be immensely beneficial for people with skin problems. Applying the oil on your skin gets rid of blisters, marks, and pimples – particularly when you’re prone to acne.9
As one study found, copaiba balsam oil can also reduce the redness, skin thickness, and scaliness associated with psoriasis by inhibiting the production of inflammation-causing immune agents in the body.10
It also speeds healing and makes scars on your skin less visible. Not just that, copaiba balsam essential oil also has antioxidants that eliminate free radicals and hence reduce wrinkles, making your skin look younger. Some even suggest that it can fade stretch marks and treat varicose veins.
5. Can Treat Gastric Ulcers
In Brazil, copaiba balsam enjoys a place of pride. It is considered a potent remedy for gastric problems. Indeed, a study has found that the balsam from the Copaifera langsdorffii tree could prevent gastric damage in rats caused by ethanol (a constituent of all alcohols) and artificially induced stress. It could even cure lesions in the stomach caused by a medicine’s side effects.
In some other rats with an impaired digestive system, it could also reduce total stomach acidity without hindering digestion.11 Copaiba balsam shows a protective effect even in cases of colitis.12
6. Reduces Chronic Pain And Inflammation
Copaiba balsam essential oil can be applied topically when you have severe pain in your joints. The oil is anti-inflammatory and has a therapeutic effect on inflammation and pain, even in chronic illnesses like arthritis and rheumatism.13 It may even help with headaches and fibromyalgia.
The credit goes to an organic compund called beta-caryophyllene. It helps heal inflammation, pain, atherosclerosis, and osteoporosis.14
7. Can Cure Cough And Congestion
Traditionally, balsam has been used in reducing chest congestion and relieving mucous, and today, balsam of Peru is used in cough syrups, expectorants, and inhalants.
An 1839 journal of medicine in London records the “excellent effects” of copaiba balsam in chronic bronchitis.15 Both copaiba balsam and fir balsam are said to dilute the mucous and help expel it.
8. Can Treat Urinary Infections And Gonorrhea
Traditional use of copaiba balsam also includes treatment of bladder infections, urinary tract infections, urinary incontinence (bedwetting), and gonorrhea. Apparently, in 1859, Great Britain imported 151,000 pounds of copaiba balsam mostly to treat gonorrhea! Copaiba balsam oil was supposed to be orally taken 3 times a day. It could stop the thick genital discharge, but when taken alone, it also irritated the stomach.16 17
9. Can Treat Anxiety And Depression
Like most essential oils, balsam essential oil has a therapeutic effect on anxiety and depression. Copaiba balsam has been seen to improve symptoms of depression and anxiety in animal studies without affecting their general activities. Higher doses brought better results. This effect is possibly brought about by beta-caryophyllene.18 19 It’s best to diffuse the aroma of these oils using a vaporizer.
10. Can Control Some Tumors And Cancer
Balsam fir essential oil contains a phytochemical (plant chemical) known as abieslactone, which controls the growth of certain tumor and cancer cell lines like liver and breast cancer.20 21 It also has a chemical called alpha-humulene, which is toxic to tumor cells.
In one study, having copaiba balsam reduced tumor growth by 58% and tumor size by 76% in mice with skin cancer. The cancer had also spread to the lungs, resulting in lung nodules. But copaiba balsam could reduce these by 47%.22
But when used in a higher dose in another experiment, it seemed to stimulate cancer growth in lab rats with uterine and cervical cancer.23 More research is required to determine the correct dosage.