Copaiba Balsam is a natural oleoresin which occurs as a physiological product in various Copaifera species. These are large trees which grow wild in the northeastern and central South America. The chief producer is Brazil, and smaller amounts come from Venezuela, British Guiana, Surinam and Colombia. The oleoresin flows abundantly from large cavities in the trunks of these trees when holes are drilled for collection of the copaiba “balsam”
It is an important source of the wood known as keruing and is often used in the plywood industry.Balsam is the resinous exudate from living trees and shrubs. Balsam is a solution of plant-specific resins in plant-specific solvents (essential oils).Such resins can include resin acids, esters or alcohols. The exudate is a mobile to highly viscous liquid and often contains crystallized resin particles. Over time and as a result of other influences the exudate loses its liquidizing components or gets chemically converted into a solid material(by auto oxidation).
Resins are difficult to classify because of their amorphous nature. Even the term "resin" is not sharply defined.Plant resins are sometimes classified as mixtures with other plant constituents. For example as pure resins (guaiac, hashish) gum-resins (containing gums/polysaccharides), oleo-gum-resins (a mixture of gums, resins and essential oils).Oleo-resins (a mixture of resins and essential oils, e. g. capsicum, ginger and aspidinol). Balsams (resinous mixtures that contain cinnamic and/or benzoic acid or their esters) and glycoresins (podophyllin, jalap, kava kava).
The perfume extracted from the sap of the tree Commiphora opobalsamum is designated in the Bible by various names: bosem, besem, ?ori, nataf, and in rabbinic literature, kataf, balsam, appobalsamon, afarsemon. It was the only tropical, and the most expensive spice grown in Israel.It was known to Pliny as obalsamum.Apparently the balsam of the Bible also signifies some remedy compounded of balsam sap and other ingredients.The Balm of Gilead is mentioned as having healing properties.
Balsam was an ingredient of the incense (ketoret) burned in the Tabernacle.The Egyptian town of Ain Shams was renowned for its balsam-garden, which was cultivated under the supervision of the government.During the Middle Ages the balsam-tree is said to have grown only here, though formerly it had also been a native plant in Syria. According to a Coptic tradition known also by the Muslims.It was in the spring of Ayn Shams that Mary the mother of Jesus, washed the clothes of the latter on her way back to Palestine after her flight to Egypt. From that time onwards the spring was beneficient.
During the Middle Ages balsam-trees could only produce their precious secretion on land watered by it.Balsam is also known as Balsam of Mecca. At present the tree Commiphora opobalsamum grows wild in the valley of Mecca where it is called beshem. Many strains of this species are found. Some in Somalia and Yemen. As a perfume it is hardly used today.
It serves in the Orient as a healing agent for wounds and as an antidote to snakebite and the sting of scorpions.In fragrances it has good application for woody blends , it especially blends very well with Sandalwood Oil , Patchouli. Can be used upto 10% levels for Oriental Bends.