▷ 25 Exceptional Uses for Copaiba Balsam Essential Oil
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25 Exceptional Uses for Copaiba Balsam Essential Oil

Copaiba balsam essential oil

Copaiba Balsam (not to be confused with Balsam Peru) is the balsam (oleoresin) tapped from the trunk of the copaiba tree (a genus of Copaifera) that accumulates in the cavities of this Brazilian tree’s trunk.

The process of collecting it is like tapping for syrups. It’s an incredible source that can be harvested without concern for sustainability. When it’s harvested, it’s a clear, thin liquid.

Once it is in contact with air, it thickens and becomes a beautiful golden light brown. Brazil uses around 90% of its resin for essential oil production.

The term balsam refers to a solution of plant-specific resins in plant-specific solvents (essential oils). Copaiba balsam (Copaifera officinalis) was the first species described on record and is the most commonly used for essential oil.

Copaiba has a soft, resinous, earthy, sweet, sensual aroma that you’ll fall in love with.

Plants and their fixed oils or essentials oils have powerful therapeutic properties. The molecules are made of chemical families, sesquiterpenes being dominant in copaiba. Within these families are the components (constituents) that give essential oils and their parent plants the aromas and therapeutic actions.

Copaiba essential oil has a high content of the constituent caryophyllene (beta, trans, and humulene), which is known for its powerful analgesic properties. Copaiba balsam can have up to 87% b-caryophyllene, with older sources showing around 53%. There was very little research into copaiba essential oil until recently, when the article, “Copaifera of the Neotropics: A Review of the Phytochemistry and Pharmacology” was published May 18, 2018. (1)

In 2012, studies stated that the activities of the isolated compounds do not explain the strong activities of crude oleoresins. New biological studies have been published that go some way to unraveling the action mechanism of the isolated sesquiterpenes and diterpenes in copaiba.

In 2018, further studies stated that native peoples of the Amazon region have used the oleoresins from Copaifera species (copaiba) for thousands of years. It was shown to have remarkable biological activities, which included antibacterial, antiparasitic, antineoplastic, and anti-inflammatory effects.

Copaiba resin’s primarily studied constituents are largely composed of sesquiterpenoids, particularly β-caryophyllene (includes trans-caryophyllene and humulene). The resins are also composed of diterpene acids, which are responsible for many of the observed biological activities.

Although it’s only certain isolates that metabolize in the body, it is the total essential oil makeup (constituents) that affects the aroma and overall therapeutic properties.

Copaiba has no known safety concerns. Because of this, and its constituent properties, there are many therapeutic uses for this essential oil. Here is a list of 25 uses for copaiba balsam.

1. Treat Upper Respiratory Infections

Copaiba acts as an expectorant, easing coughs and bronchial inflammations. It also has anti-bacterial properties that can help combat bacterial infections.

You could try the following blend in a diffuser by adding 15 drops or according to your diffuser directions, and diffuse 30-60 minutes, with 30-minute breaks between sessions.

Option two is inhalation by direct inhalation from the bottle, or by making your own personal inhalers. Essential oil inhalers are available on Amazon or from aromatic suppliers. Add 15 drops of the following to one inhaler and inhale as needed. You can use copaiba on its own or in a blend. Since it is a thicker essential oil, it works well with thinner oils in inhalers.

Try the following:
  • 5 Drops Copaiba Copaifera officinalis
  • 5 Drops Lavender Lavendula angustifolia
  • 5 Drops Tea Tree Melaleuca alternifolia
  • 5 Drops Cedarwood Juniperus virginiana


*If you are making a blend you will use often, make a “master” blend by making larger quantities to store on hand for quicker use. Always store essential oils in amber bottles and in the refrigerator to extend the shelf life of your oils*

Option three is to use one drop of copaiba essential oil to one tablespoon of honey per day. You can break this up by taking one teaspoon every six hours. This is for adult use only, and not for those under 12 years of age. (2)

*IMPORTANT: More than stated in option three is not safe. Not all oils are ingestible, and many are for a limited time only usage to avoid possible side effects. Please consult with your physician and a qualified aromatherapist trained in internal use prior to ingesting essential oils. “Studies have shown that the ingestion of high doses of copaiba oil can cause adverse side effects, such as gastrointestinal irritation, sialorrhea (hypersalivation), and central nervous system depression.” *

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2. Reduce Allergies

The reduction of allergies starts by knowing what is causing the symptoms. To treat the symptoms, we must know the cause. For the symptoms such as runny nose, cough, and congestion from allergies, try the following blend:

For Kids:
  • 1-ounce olive oil or unscented lotion
  • 3 drops Copaiba Copaifera officinalis
  • 5 drops Lavender Lavendula angustifolia
  • 3 drops Ravensara Ravensara aromatica
For Adults:
  • 1-ounce olive oil or unscented lotion
  • 5 drops Copaiba Copaifera officinalis
  • 5 drops Ravintsara Cinnamomun camphora ct. 1,8 cineole
  • 5 drops Tea Tree Melaleuca alternifolia
  • 9 drops Cedarwood Juniperus virginiana

Directions: Apply to chest and neck (or back area) as needed, especially before going outside. This is a 3% blend. Due to the content of 1,8-cineole, the adult blend is not safe for children under the age of ten years old.

3. Soothe Sore Throats

Various studies have been done to evaluate the antimicrobial activity against several strains of bacteria successfully. (3)

Try 6 drops of copaiba in 1/3-ounce olive oil or other vegetable or “fixed” oil. Apply over lymph glands located behind our ears and the neck area to ease sore throat.

4. Improve Digestion

Copaiba oil has been studied for digestive issues such as intestinal infections. Copaiba oleoresin showed antibacterial activity against several strains of bacteria, especially gram-positive Bacillus subtilis, which naturally occurs in the gastrointestinal tract of humans. Some species showed activity against intestinal mucosa and some did not. This may be due to where the various species were grown since, depending on environmental factors; plants produce different metabolites that can directly influence the activity or therapeutic properties of an oil.

Blending copaiba oils that also ease digestive issues with the “safe” mint spearmint, flowers, and spices can quickly ease symptoms and help support your digestive system. Try the following blend:

Belly Calm
  • 5 drops Copaiba Copaifera officinalis
  • 5 drops Sweet Orange Citrus sinesis
  • 3 drops Spearmint Mentha spicata
  • 5 drops Roman Chamomile Chamaemelum nobile
  • 1-ounce carrier oil or unscented lotion

Apply to abdominal area in a clockwise motion. Use 2-ounces of carrier oil or unscented lotion for children younger than 2-years old because their skin is more sensitive.

Important Note: Whatever you choose for an oil, make sure that the oils you purchase are high quality. Remember, you're breathing this oil into your lungs so essential oil quality is a terrible place to cut corners.

5. Soothe Intestinal Cramps

Following #4’s blend may help soothe intestinal cramping. For adults, you can replace spearmint with peppermint (Mentha piperita), which is a bit more potent. Peppermint is not recommended on or near the face of small children or infants due to overexposure and possible neurotoxicity in children.

6. Support Immune System

Like many oils, copaiba can be supportive to our immune systems. Studies have shown the positive immunomodulatory effects of Copaiba officinalis. However, a weak or sick immune system needs more than aromatic support. Eating healthy, exercising, and making other smart healthy choices will not only help support the immune system but keep it healthy as well. Try blending copaiba with citrus oils. Citrus oils contain the highest content of d-limonene, which helps to activate white blood cells and is an immunostimulant, anti-bacterial, and more.

 Try the following in a diffuser by adding 15 drops or per your diffuser’s instructions. A reminder to avoid possible neurotoxic reactions, always diffuse no more than 30-60 minutes intervals with at least a 30-minute break in between aromatic sessions. Diffusion all night may lead to serious side effects.

Try the following:
  • 5 drops Copaiba Copaifera officinalis
  • 5 drops Sweet Orange Citrus sinesis
  • 5 drops Spearmint Mentha spicata

7. Wound Healer

Copaiba’s skin healing properties make it perfect for healing wounds.

Try the following:
  • 2-ounces Tamanu Oil
  • 10 drops Copaiba Copaifera officianalis
  • 10 drops Helichrysum Helichrysum odoratissimum
  • 5 drops Tea Tree Melaleuca alternifolia
  • 10 drops Frankincense Boswellia sacra 

8. Get Relief from Diarrhea

Diarrhea can occur from many sources including viral, food, and general digestive issues. To ease the symptoms of diarrhea, try the following blend by applying to your abdominal area as often as necessary. Peppermint is not recommended on or near the face of small children and infants due to overexposure and possible neurotoxicity in children. You can replace with spearmint.

Try the following:
  • 2-ounces carrier oil or unscented lotion
  • 10 drops Copaiba Copaifera officianalis
  • 5 drops Peppermint Mentha x piperita
  • 10 drops Roman Chamomile Chamaemelum nobile
  • 5 drops Hemp Cannabis sativa

9. Treat Urinary Tract Infections

Apply the 1% to 3% copaiba/carrier oil blend to the lower abdomen directly over the bladder and the lower back from the waist down to treat urinary tract infections. The copaiba oil will give quick relief and kill the bacteria.

You can also soak in a warm bath with copaiba balsam essential oil added. Blend the copaiba into a lightweight carrier oil first then add 5 to 10 drops to your bathwater. Abyssinian oil, grapeseed oil, and rosehip seed oil are great for making bath oils.

*Place a drop of a 2% copaiba balsam essential oil/carrier oil blend on an inconspicuous area of skin and wait for at least a few hours to make sure you aren’t sensitive to it. *

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10. Reduce Inflammation

After a clinical trial on the oil-resin of Copaifera reticulata, it was hypothesized that copaiba resin-oil showed an anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective agent in an acutely damaged CNS (central nervous system). Since this 2012 study, further studies have proven copaiba’s anti-inflammatory actions, including the most recent study in May of 2018. Copaiba contains the chemical family sesquiterpenes that include the constituent β-caryophyllene, which is most likely responsible for the anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective effects described. (4)

Use copaiba in the following blend:

Pain and Inflammation
  • 1-ounce carrier oil or unscented lotion
  • 10 drops Copaiba Copaifera officinalis
  • 10 drops Scotch Pine Pinus sylvestris
  • 5 drops Plai Zingiber cassumunar
  • 5 drops Hemp Cannabis sativa

11. Treat Arthritis and Gout

Using the above blend will not only ease inflammation and in turn reduce pain; it will also allow damaged tissue time to heal and to avoid possible future tissue damage. Arthritis and gout have also been known to be diet related. Check with your physician, nutritionist, or do research in what foods to avoid that may contribute to your inflammation as well as foods that may help ease your inflammation.

12. Alleviate Pain

Because of copaiba’s high content, upwards of 53% (5), of beta-Caryophyllene, one of the best constituents in essential oils for pain, it’s one of the best oils to help relieve pain and inflammation. Try the following blend to reduce aches and pain.

Pain Relief
  • 1-ounce Trauma oil (or another carrier)
  • 5 drops Copaiba Copaifera officianalis
  • 5 drops Hemlock Tsuga canadensis
  • 5 drops White Pine Pinus strobus
  • 10 drops Balsam Fir Abies balsamea

13. Relieve Lupus and Fibromyalgia Symptoms

Using the same blend described for inflammation will help not only reduce inflammation associated with many autoimmune diseases but will also help reduce the pain and discomfort. For overall body treatment, you can use 1.5-3%. For specific pain such as the joint pain often associated with fibromyalgia, you can use 4-10% for short-term use only. I have fibromyalgia and occasionally must increase my percentage for those flare-ups. Tamanu oil (carrier) is perfect for pain and inflammation.

Pain and Inflammation
  • 1-ounce carrier oil or unscented lotion
  • 10 Copaiba Copaifera officinalis
  • 10 drops Scotch Pine Pinus sylvestris
  • 5 drops Plai Zingiber cassumunar
  • 5 drops Hemp Cannabis sativa

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14. Moisturize Dry Skin

Use a 0.2-1.5% copaiba essential oil/carrier oil blend to moisturize dry skin. You can use up to 4-10% for acute or chronic spot treatment (short term only) and 1.5-3%% for over-all body treatment. Its emollient properties are deeply moisturizing. You can use any carrier oil you prefer with copaiba balsam oil.

However, because of babassu’s healing properties, it’s great for skin products. It is high in linolenic acids and used in many cosmetic and skin-care products. Using babassu with jojoba will help protect and heal your skin. The addition of essential oils that are also known for their antimicrobial properties, and that includes copaiba, will help to accelerate the healing actions of the babassu oil.

Dry Skin Relief
  • 1/4-ounce Babassu Oil
  • 3/4-ounce Jojoba Oil
  • 2 drops Copaiba Copaifera officinalis
  • 4 drops Tea Tree Melaleuca alternifolia
  • 5 drops Lavender Lavendula angustifolia

Blend. Apply to your skin as often as needed, up to 4 times a day.

15. Get Rid of Acne

Many issues, including being hormone-related or diet-related, can cause acne. If you suspect that your acne is related to an internal issue, seek your physicians advise in these areas.

Finding oils and products that do not clog the sebaceous glands is of the utmost importance. Although many love coconut oil, it also has comedogenic properties, meaning it can clog pores. Using the referenced list will help you avoid ingredients or products that may contribute to acne. Anything in red should be avoided so you are not contributing to your acne issue. (6)

Copaiba’s anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties, as well as wound healing properties, will help heal acne and acne scars. For spot treatment, you can use anywhere from 4-10%, depending on what oils you use, your sensitivity, and your age. This blend is a 3%. If not effective, go up 1% at a time to find your threshold.

Acne Spot Treatment
  • 1-ounce carrier oil (jojoba or olive is best)
  • 5 drops Copaiba Copaifera officinalis
  • 5 drops Tea Tree Melaleuca alternifolia
  • 3 drops Geranium Pelatgonium roseum x asperum
  • 5 drops Helichrysum Helichrysum italicum

We do not recommend more than is necessary, as it will not resolve your problem any quicker or more efficiently. It will, however, raise your chances of a negative reaction rather than a therapeutic response.

Because of the healing properties of these oils, your skin will clear and become soft and smooth. A healthy regimen should also include plenty of water every day to keep the skin moist and beautiful from the inside.

16. Smooth and Moisturize Aging Skin

Paired with skin loving carrier oils, copaiba essential oil can leave skin smooth and youthful. Copaiba has a wide range of ethnopharmacological indications, including the treatment of infections in the skin. Copaiba also acts as a cicatrisant, or wound healer, and we can’t forget its properties as an anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory. Apricot kernel oil is cold pressed from the seeds of apricots. It absorbs quickly and has great therapeutic properties including gentleness on inflamed, aging, or sensitive skin.

Try pairing it with babassu or rose hip carrier oil, both beautiful for facial blends. Use one or a combination of all three of these carrier oils. I like using 1/3 of each. Grapefruit is phototoxic and not recommended if you are going in the sun. Sweet orange is not phototoxic and a good alternative to grapefruit. Facial products should be made between 0.2-1.5%

Facial Serum
  • 1-ounce total: Apricot Prunus armeniaca Kernel (cp), Babassu Orbygnia speciosa, Rose Hip Rosa canina L. carrier oil
  • 5 drops Copaiba Copaifera officinalis
  • 3 drops Jasmine absolute Jasminum grandiflorum
  • 3 drops Grapefruit Citrus paradisi
  • 2 drops Neroli Citrus aurantium var. amara

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17. Treat or Prevent Bacterial Infections in Wounds

Copaiba has proven to have antibacterial and wound healing properties. (7) It’s perfect with other oils that act as a cicatrisant such as helichrysum and lavender. Try the following, but do not use this treatment on open wounds. For a carrier, tamanu is best for wound healing. If you don’t have tamanu, use whichever carrier you have handy. For wounds that have become infected, you may want to consult with your physician.

Try the following:
  • 1-ounce Tamanu Oil
  • 10 drops Copaiba Copaifera officinalis
  • 5 drop Helichrysum Helichrysum italicum
  • 10 drops Lavender Lavendula angustifolia

18. Shrink Varicose Veins

Gently massaging your legs daily not only increases circulation to help shrink varicose veins, it also stimulates and gets the lymphatic system working more efficiently. Using copaiba with other circulatory stimulants such as rosemary, juniper berry, or black pepper will help circulation.

Use 1%, or 9 drops, of copaiba alone or blended with one or more of the other mentioned oils per 1-ounce of carrier oil and massage legs after bath.

19. Alleviate Athlete’s Foot and Toenail Fungus

Along with reducing pain and all the other uses, copaiba helps to manage pain and inflammation of, and reduce the presence of, unwanted bacterial and fungal activity. For nail fungus, combine ½ copaiba oil to ½ carrier oil. After bath and before bed, apply generously to clean dry feet and place socks on. Continue until feet clear.

20. Reduce Fever

B-Caryophyllene, the major component within copaiba, is antipyretic, meaning it assists with reducing fever. Antipyretics are substances or drugs that can cause the hypothalamus to override a prostaglandin-induced increase in temperature. Another word used in aromatherapy for antipyretics is febrifuge. Science is cool stuff!

Other fever-reducing oils include peppermint, melissa, and palmarosa. If you choose to use either peppermint or melissa, take precautionary steps, as they can be irritating to the skin. In high quantities, peppermint has a warming effect rather than a cooling effect. Peppermint shouldn’t be used near or on the faces of children younger than five years old. Palmarosa is safe and goes beautifully with copaiba. It has a sweet, soft, delicate aroma with a rose undertone. The scent is also a bit herbaceous and woodsy. It goes well with copaiba’s soft, resinous, earthy, sweet, sensual aroma.

Try blending ½ ounce of carrier oil with 5 drops each of palmarosa and copaiba. Apply to neck and chest area. Applying to the back will help reduce the fever even quicker. If you choose melissa or peppermint, I recommend not using them together. Since both are harsh, you increase the chance of irritation by combining them. Use one combined with the gentleness of copaiba.

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21. Treat Eczema and Psoriasis

Copaiba can ease skin-irritating symptoms such as eczema and psoriasis. However, they require two different treatments for two different issues. Eczema is atopic dermatitis and describes an inflammation of the skin. Dermatitis can have many causes including allergies, genetic factors, or other irritants and occurs in many forms. It usually involves an itchy rash on swollen, reddened skin.

Psoriasis is a common skin condition that speeds up the life cycle of skin cells. This causes cells to build up rapidly on the surface of the skin. The extra skin cells form scales and red patches that are itchy and irritating. Psoriasis is thought to be related to issues with the immune system.

For both conditions, you must first address the underlying cause. Discussing with your physician, changing diet, or altering personal habits is a great place to start. To address the skin, we can start with a light summertime carrier oil and skin healing oils, including copaiba. Copaiba is wonderful for its anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties.

Try the following:
  • ½-ounce Watermelon Seed oil Citrullus lanatus
  • 5 drops Copaiba Copaifera officinalis
  • 5 drops Carrot Seed Daucus carota
  • 5 drops Helichrysum Helichrysum italicum

22. Skin Penetrator

In the Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology, Copaiba was tested and reviewed as a potential skin penetrating enhancer. This can help enhance penetration of drugs as well as essential oil into the skin more efficiently. (8) (9)

Other skin penetrating oils include sweet basil and oils with d-limonene, which include all citrus oils. Oils high in d-limonene have concerns for phototoxicity and should be avoided if you will be in the sun or using tanning beds. Other oils that are skin penetrators include oils with 1,8-cineole, which can be found in eucalyptus, ravintsara, and rosemary, as well as others. Oils high in 1,8-cineole come with a caution in children under 10 years of age. This is because of the effect of these oils on the CNS (central nervous system), which may cause breathing issues in young children.

When using essential oils that may present a concern for the skin, blending with skin-friendly oils helps to avoid possible irritation. Some skin-friendly oils include basil, cypress, frankincense, geranium, helichrysum, lavender, and palmarosa.

Want a lovely blend to enjoy? I love this on my skin. This time a year we want a carrier low in fatty acids, which tend to sit on the skin. Since we sweat, we want to use oils with a higher percentage of polyunsaturated linoleic acid since they absorb well in the summer. This would include cucumber seed, grapeseed, passionfruit seed, raspberry seed, and watermelon seed oil.

Skin Loving Summer Oil
  • ½-ounce carrier oil
  • 4 drops Copaiba Copaifera officianalis
  • 4 drops Helichrysum Helichrysum italicum
  • 1 drop Rose absolute Rosa damacena*

*Note: Rose is quite potent. Always start at a low dilution

23. Prevent Hair Loss

Although no essential oil can prevent hair loss, you can improve the health of your scalp to help nature or your other hair products prevent or slow the loss of hair. You can do this by keeping your scalp healthy with essential oils and skin loving carrier oils.

On dry clean hair, apply the following recipe. Brush through with a soft brush or comb, massaging your scalp gently. Place a warm towel over your hair for 30-60 minutes. Wash and rinse as usual.

Hair and Scalp Healing Oil
  • Grapeseed Vitis vinifera carrier oil
  • 5 drops Copaiba Copaifera officinalis
  • 5 drops Lavender Lavendula angustifolia

24. Soothe Anxiety and Nervousness

As previously discussed, beta-caryophyllene is dominant within Copaiba. Caryophyllene has antispasmodic properties, soothing the nervous system.

Direct inhalation is best for anxiety-related symptoms. Add the following blend to an inhaler or directly inhale from a bottle or cotton ball.

Anxiety
  • 5 drops Copaiba Copaifera officianalis
  • 5 drops Sweet Basil Ocimum basilicum ct linalool
  • 5 drops Roman Chamomile Chamaemelum nobile

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25. Alleviate Stress

Stress, whether physiological or biological, is the body’s response to an environmental condition. It is the body's method of reacting to a condition such as a threat, fear, or physical and psychological barrier. Suffering extremely stressful conditions that are left untreated could lead to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). To reduce stress, reach for oils that depress the central nervous system.

Stress Less
  • 1-ounce carrier of choice (or diffuse)
  • 5 drops Copaiba Copaifera officianalis
  • 5 drops Roman Chamomile Chamaemelum nobile
  • 5 drops Clary Sage Salvia sclarea
  • 2 drops Sweet Marjoram Origanum marjorana

June is PTSD month. For more on PTSD, visit me at www.soulessentialsduo.com

Was this list helpful to you? We hope you enjoyed reading and come back to visit. Leave a comment and tell me how you will use your Balsam Copaiba essential oil.

References:

About the author

    Rehne Burge, C.A., NAHA Louisiana Director

    Rehne Burge is a certified aromatherapist (CA). You can reach her at Soul Essentials Duo.

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