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“The balsam is stimulant and tonic, and is of use in chronic coughs, whites, palsy and chronic rheumatism. As an external application, it is employed with advantage in cleansing and stimulating foul and indolent ulcers”, quotes the book Ayurvedic Materia Medica for domestic use by Thomas John Graham.
Also called as Peruvian balsam, the essential oil and the balsam as such are being used in the field of Complementary and Alternative medicine like Ayurveda and Homeopathy as well as in Modern medicinal practices.
With its decongestant, antiseptic, antibacterial, antifungal and anti-rheumatic properties, Balsam Peru is prescribed in Ayurvedic medicine for treating bronchial asthma, whooping cough, bruises, bed sores, burns, eczema, respiratory infections, tuberculosis, headache, fever, diaper rashes, cold, scabies, ringworm and rheumatic conditions.
Historical uses and importance of Balsam Peru essential oil and its other extracts: This tree is scientifically called as Balsamum tolutanum. Balsam of Peru is the resin extracted from the tall tree that grows in Peru, Bolivia, Columbia, Venezuela, Paraguay, Brazil, Argentina and France.
Balsam Peru is also called by other names like Balsamum Peruvianum, Surinam balsam, Balsam fir oleoresin, Quina quina, Balsam Tolu, Toluifera pereirae, Indian Balsam, China oil, Myroxylon Balsamum, Balsams Peru, Myrosperum pereira balsam etc.
Initially, Peru was the major and largest exporter of Balsam oil and it was for this reason, this Balsam was called as Balsam of Peru. In recent times, Balsam of Peru is exported by various other major Balsam growing countries. This tree has a natural potential of producing resin, which is sticky in nature. Balsam of Peru is collected from Balsam trees that are roughly 20 years old by tapping method.
Balsam of Peru has been a part of the traditional healing methodologies for centuries together. It was used as a natural remedy for treating digestive disorders, headache, cold, cough, respiratory infections and certain skin problems. The Native American populace used the powder extracted from this tree as a deodorant.
Balsam of Peru and its essential oil has been a trusted remedy of the Europeans and other Asian folks for healing skin diseases like bedsores, ringworm, scabies, eczema, diaper rashes, wounds and itches. It is also used as an important ingredient in the manufacturing of female hygiene sprays, shampoos, insect repellents, topical salves, soaps, mouthwash, surgical dressings, skin care lotions and certain other fragrant ingredients.
Chemical constituents and remedial properties of Balsam Peru essential oil:
Studies have proved that the resin extracted from the Peruvian balsam tree consists of about 80% of cinnamic acid along with the presence of cinnamein. This is the reason for its vanilla and cinnamon like aroma. It’s essential oil is said to contain various volatile oils and the major components are benzyl cinnamate, benzyl benzoate, and nerolidol.
These components contribute to its remedial properties like antiseptic, antimicrobial, analgesic, anti-parasitic, expectorant, decongestant, antifungal, diuretic, antioxidant, deodorant, cicatrisant, anti-stress and anti-dandruff.
Ayurvedic health benefits of Balsam Peru essential oil:
The word ‘Ayurveda’ simply means ‘the knowledge of life’, where ‘Ayur’ stands for life and ‘Veda’ means knowledge. This oldest remedial system states that illness occurs when there is disharmony between an individual and nature.
Ayurvedic healing considers every human being as a unique part of nature with a unique individual combination. According to this philosophy ‘no two individuals are given the same medicine, even for the same disease’. The first Ayurvedic consultation aims at analyzing the unique individual constitution of a person, which comprises of three biological energies known as doshas. They are vata (air and space), pitta (fire and water) and kapha (water and earth).
These Ayurvedic doshas are nothing but a combination of the five vital elements of nature called as Panchamahabutas, namely fire, water, earth, air and space. Ayurveda states that every person has a prakriti (individual constitution), which is a combination of these doshas in a unique proportion with a predominance of any one of them.
This prevalence determines the character, personality, uniqueness and behavioral attributes of a person. Based upon these fundamental qualities, the unique Ayurvedic treatment methodology and remedies are prescribed. Ayurvedic writings reveal that the absolute balance between these doshas indicates perfect health and harmony with nature, whereas doshic imbalances lead to sickness.
The most notable Ayurvedic remedies include Ayurvedic essential oils, herbs, yoga, meditation, Pranayama or the art of balanced breathing, prayers, simple physical exercises, Ayurvedic routine, Abhyanga, and Panchakarma. With these remedies, Ayurveda focuses on treating the root cause of an illness instead of diagnosing its symptoms.
With its stimulating and invigorating properties, Balsam Peru essential oil has been recommended in Ayurveda for augmenting pitta dosha and pacifying kapha and vata dosha.
Let’s look at the Ayurvedic health benefits of Balsam Peru oil:
The essential oil of Balsam Peru has been used as an important ingredient in many hair care products including shampoos and conditioners for its antifungal, anti-parasitic and anti-dandruff properties. These remedial values help in clearing away dandruff, killing head lice and treating dry and itchy scalp conditions.
Massaging your scalp with 3 drops of Balsam Peru oil, 2 drops of Lemon oil and 2 drops of Rosemary oil along with 5 ml of Coconut oil can be of great assistance in nourishing your scalp, clearing away the itchy flakes on the head, repairing your damaged hair and act as a hair tonic. You can also add 2 drops of Balsam Peru oil to your regular shampoo and enjoy the richness of your shining hair, free from dandruff and head lice.
2. Extremely beneficial to the skin:
Balsam Peru oil is a time-honored skin care remedy that has been employed in the treatment of numerous skin problems including ringworm, bedsores, skin ulcers, wounds and diaper rashes. The antiseptic, antifungal, antioxidant and antimicrobial properties of this oil helps in quicker healing of wounds, combats the growth of microbes responsible for skin infections, and fights aging symptoms.
Blend 2 drops of Balsam Peru oil with 2 drops of Ylang Ylang oil and 2 drops of Lavender oil with 3 ml of Olive oil. Gently apply this blend on skin problems like eczema, scabies, wounds, ringworm, acne, athlete’s foot, chapped skin, rashes and wrinkles.
This natural skin tonic works like a wonder in treating fungal skin infections like ringworm and athlete’s foot with its anti-fungal properties; acne, rashes, wounds and eczema with its antimicrobial properties; wrinkles and dull lifeless skin with its antioxidant properties.
Bedsores generally occur in sick people who are bed-ridden. This includes especially the aged population with sensitive skin. Mixing 1 drop of Balsam Peru oil with 2 ml of Jojoba oil can reduce pain and help in promoting quicker healing of wounds. This blend can also be used externally on diaper rashes for babies as well as the aged.
3. Alleviates respiratory infections:
According to Ayurveda, amassing of toxic substances or ama in the system is a major cause for many illnesses including respiratory problems. It is a known fact that excess of kapha dosha (blend of water and earth elements) is responsible for diseases based on the surplus fluid deposits in the system causing respiratory infections, obesity, rheumatism, edema and other inflammatory conditions.
Balsam Peru oil has diuretic, expectorant and antimicrobial properties that aid in eliminating the excess fluid deposits in the system through urine and sweat, discarding phlegm and mucus secretions in the respiratory tract and arresting the growth of microbes that worsen respiratory problems. It has been used in the United States since 1800s as a respiratory aid and cough suppressant. Balsam of Peru was also used as an ingredient in cough syrups and lozenges.
2 drops of Balsam Peru oil along with 1 drop of Peppermint oil and 1 drop of Eucalyptus oil added to steam inhalation can help in relieving cold, sore throat, nasal congestion, headache, sinusitis, watery eyes, chronic cough, bronchitis, tuberculosis, asthma and inflammation of the pharynx.
Gently rubbing your throat, chest, back and forehead with 2 drops of Balsam oil along with 1 drop of Tea tree oil mixed with your vaporizing ointment can help in relieving sore throat, bronchial congestion, blocked nasal passages, chest congestion, headache, sinusitis and drowsiness due to cold and other respiratory infections.
4. Enhances the functions of the digestive system:
Indigestion is the key cause for building up of toxic substances in the body. This is due to improper metabolic functions, including digestion, absorption and elimination. Pitta dosha is responsible for ‘Agni’ or digestive fire in the system. Vitiation of pitta energy often ends up in sluggishness, nausea, constipation, flatulence, loss of appetite and other digestive disorders.
Balsam Peru oil has the ability to enhance pitta energy and can re-kindle the digestive fire. Inhaling the warm aroma of Balsam Peru oil by adding 2 drops of this oil to your vaporizer especially before your meals can help in enhancing your appetite, stimulating your bowel movements, treating constipation and promoting proper digestion. Massaging your abdomen with 2 drops of Balsam Peru oil and 2 drops of Nutmeg oil with 2 ml of sesame oil can support your digestive functions.
5. Improves blood circulation and treats rheumatic disorders:
Ayurvedic writings denote that rheumatism is an auto-immune disease that arises mostly due to the upsurge of ama or toxins in the system owing to the disparity of digestive fire. These harmful substances may even block the working of the essential organs in the body.
Basically, ama stored in the body reaches the kapha dominated parts like fingers, joints, stomach, brain, chest, toes and few other parts. Thus rheumatism is identified with the symptoms of inflammation, redness of joints, soreness of muscles, lack of energy, swelling of joints, irregular blood circulation, insomnia and fatigue.
With its diuretic, anti-rheumatic, antioxidant and analgesic properties, the essential oil of Balsam Peru has the potent to improve blood circulation, reduce pain, decrease swelling and inflammation by eliminating the toxic remains, excess water deposits, salt and uric acid through urine and soothe the joints and muscles.
Massaging the affected parts with 3 drops of Balsam Peru oil with 2 drops of Cardamom oil, 2 drops of Yarrow oil, 2 drops of Bay oil blended with 20 ml of coconut oil can help in alleviating pain, inflammation, swelling, soreness, stiff muscles, water retention, insomnia and other symptoms associated with rheumatism.
Ayurveda also recommends the practice of Pranayama or the art of balanced breathing in Ayurveda, through which the toxic remains in the system are discarded through exhalation. Along with this certain yogasanas can also help in treating rheumatic problems at ease and this has also been proved by various scientific studies.
Other health benefits:
With its mild, warm and soothing aroma, Balsam Peru oil acts like a marvel in treating depression, mood fluctuations and negative feelings. To attain this solace, 2 drops of Balsam Peru oil and 2 drops of Benzoin Res oil can be added to your burner, candle diffuser or vaporizer during the practice of yoga, meditation and Pranayama. This can also aid in enhancing self-confidence and positive thoughts.
Disclaimer: This information is meant only for the use of education and is not meant to diagnose or treat any health condition or replace any prescribed medications or professional medical advice. We are not healthcare practitioners and this info is shared only with the idea of highlighting the traditional wisdom of Ayurveda, the mother of all healing sciences.
Never take essential oils internally and do remember to dilute essential oils before using it on your skin, as pure and organic essential oils are extremely concentrated substances and may lead to allergic reactions when used on the body directly. Ensure that you seek advice from your Ayurvedic professional/healthcare expert before selecting the appropriate essential oil for your health condition and unique individual constitution. Avoid using Balsam Peru oil if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, as it is regarded as a sensitizing oil that may cause allergic reactions.
Thought for the day:
The art of medicine consists in amusing the patient while nature cures the disease. -Voltaire
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