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Peru Balsam

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  • Botanical: Myroxylon balsamum
  • Family: Fabaceae
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Peru Balsam

Botanical

Myroxylon balsamum

Family

Fabaceae

Known as

Peru Balsam, Tolu Balsam, Myroxylon balsamum, Balsam of Tolu, Balsam of Peru, Myroxylon, Perubalsam, Balsambäume, Cabreúva, Cabreuva, Myrocarpus fastigiatus, Quina, Balsamo

Old Use

medicinal, culinary; flavoring

Parts Used

resin, wood

Aroma

balsamic, spicy, sweet, warm

Medicinal

asthma, bronchitis, bronchitis, bursitis, chapped skin, colds, coughs, earache, eczema, hemorrhoids, low blood pressure, nervousness, stress relief, skin rashes, wounds

Heart & Circulation

circulation, vascular

Infection & Inflammation

earache, fever, immunity

Respiratory System

asthma, bronchitis, colds, cough, difficulty breathing, pharyngitis

Stomach & Intestinal

low blood pressure

Skin & Hair

abscess, allergies, chapped skin, eczema

Properties

antibacterial, antiseptic, antitoxic, anti inflammatory, diuretic, expectorant, stimulant

Note

base

Extraction

steam distillation

Description

The trees are large, growing to 40 metres (130 ft) tall, with evergreen pinnate leaves 15 centimetres (5.9 in) long, with 5–13 leaflets. The flowers are white with yellow stamens, produced in racemes. The fruit is a pod 7–11 centimetres (2.8–4.3 in) long, containing a single seed.

The wood is dark brown, with a deep red heartwood. Natural oils grant it excellent decay resistance. In fact, it is also resistant to preservative treatment. Its specific gravity is 0.74 to 0.81.

Properties & Uses

Stimulant and expectorant, much used as the basis of cough mixtures. The vapour from the balsam dissolved in ether when inhaled, is beneficial in chronic catarrh and other noninflammatory chest complaints. 

Cautions

Balsam has been reported to cause allergic skin reactions. Discontinue use if a skin rash develops.

Distribution

Central America in the forests of San Salvado.

Constituents

aromatic, oily liquid, termed cinnamein, dark resin peruviol, small quantity of vanillin and cinnamic acid.

For educational purposes only This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.