In the humid forests of Brazil and Columbia, in Peru and Venezuela, the Copaiba tree stands tall over the canopy with all the might of its massive short-limbed trunk. The tree is easy to locate due to the pungent smell of its rugged bark, from which flows precious oleoresin that amazes researchers to this day with its potency and worth. Copaiba tree is a symbol of vitality for Amazonian people. Its name, kupai’wa, means “there is something inside”. It is said that the people of the forest began using the copaibeiras therapeutically when they saw animals which were wounded or suffering from a poisonous bite, rub themselves against its bark. The oil has traditionally been used to strengthen the immune system and the ease digestion. The curanderos – healers – have long been applying it as an ointment to heal war injuries and collision wounds and to soothe aching joints. In Panama, copaiba oil was ritually given to newborns with a little bit of honey to chase away evil spirits and develop the child’s knowledge of the world. One of the first missionaries in Brazil, Jesuit José de Anchieta, wrote of the copaiba in his long letter to the Superior General of his order in the late 1560s: “…It exudes capacity to help wounds scar over, in such a way that sooner or later no scar remains at all.”
As early as the 18th century, its properties were mentioned in the universal dictionary of medicine: “As regards copaiba balm, it is universally esteemed: it will heal any fistula, no matter how old.”
The copaiba’s oleoresin is collected by directly incising and drilling through the bark, much like with maple syrup. Only relatively old trees, those around a hundred years of age, can be used, because that is when they start producing greater quantities of oleoresin. Local populations used to collect this oil only once a year as part of a ceremony. One tree will yield about forty liters per year. The incision made in the trunk is later sealed – preferably with clay – and it takes the tree six months to replenish its oleoresin supply, shielded from the assaults of insects and spores. This method of harvest, patient and respectful, is fortunately still in use. The tint of the collected oleoresin varies from yellow to brown, depending on the resin and essential oil content (between 30 and 90% for the latter). Its aroma is strong, resinous and woody. It is filtered a number of times and distilled to separate the wholesome vegetable oil from the high-quality essential oil.
Organic Copaiba Balm is so powerful it is often nicknamed the forest’s antibiotic. In traditional medicine Copaiba Balm has been used extensively by indigenous people due to its antiseptic, healing, anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. Much of the clinical research performed to date has verified the traditional uses of Copaiba Balm. The beta-caryophyllene concentrated in the oil is anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic. Vitamin E helps cells fight oxidation. Germacrene D has major antibacterial and antifungal properties .Oleic acid (omega 9) helps injuries scar over, while linoleic acid (omega 6) assists skin regeneration and prevents drying. Organic Copaiba Balm soothes acne, reduces wrinkles, moderates psoriasis, alleviates calluses, takes care of bruises, and soothes sunburn and irritation.