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Tolu Balsam

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  • Botanical: Myroxylon balsamum
  • Family: Fabaceae
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Tolu Balsam


Myroxylon balsamum



Known as

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

Old Use

medicinal, culinary

Parts Used

resin, wood


balsamic, spicy, sweet, warm


asthma, bronchitis, bronchitis, chapped skin, colds, coughs, difficulty breathing, eczema, hemorrhoids, high blood preasure, itching, nervousness, stress relief, skin rashes, wounds

Infection & Inflammation

earache, immunity, sinusitis, throat infections

Respiratory System

asthma, bronchitis, catarrh, cough, difficulty breathing, nasal congestion, throat infections

Skin & Hair

chapped skin, dermatitis


antibacterial, antiseptic, antiseborrheic




steam distillation


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, expectorant, parasiticide. Used in scabies and skin diseases; it destroys the itch acarus and its eggs, and is much to be preferred to sulphur ointment, also of value in prurigo, pruritis and in later stages of acute eczema. It is a good antiseptic expectorant and a stimulant to the heart, increasing blood pressure; its action resembles benzoic acid. It is applied externally to sore nipples and discharges from the ear. Given internally, it lessens mucous secretions, and is of value in bronchorrhoea gleet, leucorrhoea and chronic bronchitis, and asthma. It is also used in soap manufacturing, for its fragrance, and because it makes a soft creamy lather, useful for chapped hands. Balsam of Peru can be applied alone or as an ointment made by melting it with an equal weight of tallow.


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


Central America in the forests of San Salvado.


cinnamic acid, a volatile oil, and a little vanillin, benzyl benzoate and benzyl cinnamate. It is freely soluble in chloroform, glacial acetic acid, acetone, ether, alcohol and liquor potassa, scarcely soluble in petroleum-benzine and benzol.

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.