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Useful Tropical Plants

Copaifera officinalis

L.

Fabaceae

+ Synonyms

Copaiba officinalis (L.) Kuntze

Copaiva officinalis (L.) Jacq.

Common Name: Copaiba Balsam

Copaifera officinalis
Trees growing in an open area develop a short bole and wide canopy
Photograph by: barloventomagico
Creative Commons License
Copaifera officinalis Copaifera officinalis Copaifera officinalis

General Information

Copaifera officinalis is a considerably branched tree that grows from 15 - 30 metres tall[
318
Title
Raintree Nutrition - Tropical Plant Database
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.rain-tree.com/plants.htm
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Detailed information on the medicinal uses of more than two hundred rainforest plants, mainly from S. America, with basic descriptions of the plants, their other uses etc.
].
This species is one of the more important amongst the many related species in this genus that yield the resin 'Copaiba balsam'. The balsam is a valuable commodity, with a range of medicinal and many other uses. It is commonly harvested from wild trees and is exported in quantity to many countries[
238
Title
Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses.
Publication
 
Author
Bown. D.
Publisher
Dorling Kindersley, London.
Year
1995
ISBN
0-7513-020-31
Description
A very well presented and informative book on herbs from around the globe. Plenty in it for both the casual reader and the serious student. Just one main quibble is the silly way of having two separate entries for each plant.
,
254
Title
The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants
Publication
 
Author
Chevallier. A.
Publisher
Dorling Kindersley. London
Year
1996
ISBN
9-780751-303148
Description
An excellent guide to over 500 of the more well known medicinal herbs from around the world.
]. The plant has long been used by the native peoples of S. America, especially for this resin, which can be obtained from the trunk[
254
Title
The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants
Publication
 
Author
Chevallier. A.
Publisher
Dorling Kindersley. London
Year
1996
ISBN
9-780751-303148
Description
An excellent guide to over 500 of the more well known medicinal herbs from around the world.
]. Several different species can be used interchangeably to provide the resin; Copaifera langsdorffii from the cerrados of central Brazil; C. multijuga and C. Reticulata from the Amazon region, are probably the three other most important ones[
318
Title
Raintree Nutrition - Tropical Plant Database
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.rain-tree.com/plants.htm
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Detailed information on the medicinal uses of more than two hundred rainforest plants, mainly from S. America, with basic descriptions of the plants, their other uses etc.
]. The tree has been planted in some areas, such as Cuba, where it is harvested commercially[
317
Title
Mansfeld's Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Plants
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://mansfeld.ipk-gatersleben.de/pls/htmldb_pgrc/f?p=185:3:4292127278597336
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Terse details of a huge range of useful plants.
]. Experiments into cultivating the tree for the production of balsam, which should be used directly as Diesel fuel, have been carried out in Brazil[
317
Title
Mansfeld's Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Plants
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://mansfeld.ipk-gatersleben.de/pls/htmldb_pgrc/f?p=185:3:4292127278597336
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Terse details of a huge range of useful plants.
].

Known Hazards

None known

Botanical References


Range

Northern S. America - Brazil, Venezuela and Guyana.

Habitat

A canopy tree of the rainforests, usually found in well-drained sandy loams[
362
Title
Dominica Botanic Gardens
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.da-academy.org/trees_shrubs.html
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An on-line resource, providing top quality pictures and some basic information on various plants being grown at the Botanic Gardens, often including uses and habitat.
].

Properties

Edibility Rating *  *
Medicinal Rating *  *  *  *
Other Uses Rating *  *  *
HabitTree
Height22.00 m
Cultivation StatusCultivated, Wild

Cultivation Details

Copaifera officinalis is a plant of the moister tropics, it requires a high humidity and a minimum temperature that does not fall much below 13°c[
238
Title
Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses.
Publication
 
Author
Bown. D.
Publisher
Dorling Kindersley, London.
Year
1995
ISBN
0-7513-020-31
Description
A very well presented and informative book on herbs from around the globe. Plenty in it for both the casual reader and the serious student. Just one main quibble is the silly way of having two separate entries for each plant.
].
Prefers a well-drained sandy soil and a position in shade[
238
Title
Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses.
Publication
 
Author
Bown. D.
Publisher
Dorling Kindersley, London.
Year
1995
ISBN
0-7513-020-31
Description
A very well presented and informative book on herbs from around the globe. Plenty in it for both the casual reader and the serious student. Just one main quibble is the silly way of having two separate entries for each plant.
].
A single copaiba tree can provide about 40 litres of oleoresin annually, making it a sustainable rainforest resource that can be harvested without destroying the tree or the forest in which it grows[
318
Title
Raintree Nutrition - Tropical Plant Database
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.rain-tree.com/plants.htm
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Detailed information on the medicinal uses of more than two hundred rainforest plants, mainly from S. America, with basic descriptions of the plants, their other uses etc.
].
The resin accumulates in cavities within the tree trunk and is harvested by tapping or drilling holes into the wood of the trunk and collecting the resin that drips out, much in the same manner as harvesting maple syrup[
318
Title
Raintree Nutrition - Tropical Plant Database
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.rain-tree.com/plants.htm
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Detailed information on the medicinal uses of more than two hundred rainforest plants, mainly from S. America, with basic descriptions of the plants, their other uses etc.
].
When tapped, the initial oily resin is clear, thin, and colourless; it thickens and darkens upon contact with air[
318
Title
Raintree Nutrition - Tropical Plant Database
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.rain-tree.com/plants.htm
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Detailed information on the medicinal uses of more than two hundred rainforest plants, mainly from S. America, with basic descriptions of the plants, their other uses etc.
]. Commercially sold resins are a thick, clear liquid, with a colour that varies from pale yellow to golden light brown[
318
Title
Raintree Nutrition - Tropical Plant Database
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.rain-tree.com/plants.htm
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Detailed information on the medicinal uses of more than two hundred rainforest plants, mainly from S. America, with basic descriptions of the plants, their other uses etc.
].

Edible Uses

The resin has been approved officially in the U.S. as a food additive and is used in small amounts as a flavouring agent in foods and beverages[
318
Title
Raintree Nutrition - Tropical Plant Database
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.rain-tree.com/plants.htm
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Detailed information on the medicinal uses of more than two hundred rainforest plants, mainly from S. America, with basic descriptions of the plants, their other uses etc.
].

Medicinal

Copaiba-balsam, an oily oleo-resin obtained from the trunk of the tree, has a very long history of use medicinally. It was widely used by the native peoples prior to the Europeans reaching S. America and these uses were soon taken up by the Europeans[
317
Title
Mansfeld's Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Plants
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://mansfeld.ipk-gatersleben.de/pls/htmldb_pgrc/f?p=185:3:4292127278597336
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Terse details of a huge range of useful plants.
]. The resin is especially valued for its ability to counter mucous in the chest and genito-urinary system[
254
Title
The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants
Publication
 
Author
Chevallier. A.
Publisher
Dorling Kindersley. London
Year
1996
ISBN
9-780751-303148
Description
An excellent guide to over 500 of the more well known medicinal herbs from around the world.
].
The resin is an aromatic, stimulant herb with a bitter, burning taste[
238
Title
Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses.
Publication
 
Author
Bown. D.
Publisher
Dorling Kindersley, London.
Year
1995
ISBN
0-7513-020-31
Description
A very well presented and informative book on herbs from around the globe. Plenty in it for both the casual reader and the serious student. Just one main quibble is the silly way of having two separate entries for each plant.
]. Both it and the bark are anodyne, antacid, antibacterial, antifungal, antiinflammatory, antimicrobial, astringent, cytostatic, demulcent, digestive, disinfectant, diuretic, expectorant, mildly laxative, vermifuge and vulnerary[
318
Title
Raintree Nutrition - Tropical Plant Database
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.rain-tree.com/plants.htm
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Detailed information on the medicinal uses of more than two hundred rainforest plants, mainly from S. America, with basic descriptions of the plants, their other uses etc.
].
The resin obtained from the trunk contains a number of medically active constituents including 30 - 90% essential oils and unusual condensed tannins[
238
Title
Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses.
Publication
 
Author
Bown. D.
Publisher
Dorling Kindersley, London.
Year
1995
ISBN
0-7513-020-31
Description
A very well presented and informative book on herbs from around the globe. Plenty in it for both the casual reader and the serious student. Just one main quibble is the silly way of having two separate entries for each plant.
]. The essential oil contains alpha- and beta-caryophyllene, sesquiterpenes, resins and terpenic acids[
254
Title
The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants
Publication
 
Author
Chevallier. A.
Publisher
Dorling Kindersley. London
Year
1996
ISBN
9-780751-303148
Description
An excellent guide to over 500 of the more well known medicinal herbs from around the world.
]. It improves the digestion, has diuretic and expectorant effects, and controls bacterial infections[
238
Title
Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses.
Publication
 
Author
Bown. D.
Publisher
Dorling Kindersley, London.
Year
1995
ISBN
0-7513-020-31
Description
A very well presented and informative book on herbs from around the globe. Plenty in it for both the casual reader and the serious student. Just one main quibble is the silly way of having two separate entries for each plant.
].
Much of the clinical research performed to date has verified the traditional uses of copaiba. It has, for instance, been shown to be highly effective as a topical wound healer and anti-inflammatory agent[
318
Title
Raintree Nutrition - Tropical Plant Database
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.rain-tree.com/plants.htm
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Detailed information on the medicinal uses of more than two hundred rainforest plants, mainly from S. America, with basic descriptions of the plants, their other uses etc.
]. The anti-inflammatory effect is mainly due to the sesquiterpenes, particularly caryophyllene which has also demonstrated effective pain-relieving properties, antifungal properties against nail fungus and gastroprotective properties[
318
Title
Raintree Nutrition - Tropical Plant Database
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.rain-tree.com/plants.htm
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Detailed information on the medicinal uses of more than two hundred rainforest plants, mainly from S. America, with basic descriptions of the plants, their other uses etc.
].
The resin as a whole (and, particularly, two of its diterpenes - copalic acid and kaurenic acid) has demonstrated significant antimicrobial activity against gram-positive bacteria. One of copaiba’s other chemicals, kaurenoic acid, has also demonstrated selective antibacterial activity against Gram-positive bacteria in other recent studies[318.
Other constituents of the resin have demonstrated significant antitumor activity[
318
Title
Raintree Nutrition - Tropical Plant Database
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.rain-tree.com/plants.htm
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Detailed information on the medicinal uses of more than two hundred rainforest plants, mainly from S. America, with basic descriptions of the plants, their other uses etc.
].

The resin is taken internally in the treatment of a range of respiratory problems such as tuberculosis, bronchitis and sinusitis; urinary tract and reproductive system conditions such as cystitis, kidney and bladder infections, vaginal discharge and gonorrhoea[
238
Title
Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses.
Publication
 
Author
Bown. D.
Publisher
Dorling Kindersley, London.
Year
1995
ISBN
0-7513-020-31
Description
A very well presented and informative book on herbs from around the globe. Plenty in it for both the casual reader and the serious student. Just one main quibble is the silly way of having two separate entries for each plant.
,
254
Title
The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants
Publication
 
Author
Chevallier. A.
Publisher
Dorling Kindersley. London
Year
1996
ISBN
9-780751-303148
Description
An excellent guide to over 500 of the more well known medicinal herbs from around the world.
]. Stomach ulcers, tetanus, herpes, pleurisy and haemorrhages are just some of the other conditions treated with the resin[
318
Title
Raintree Nutrition - Tropical Plant Database
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.rain-tree.com/plants.htm
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Detailed information on the medicinal uses of more than two hundred rainforest plants, mainly from S. America, with basic descriptions of the plants, their other uses etc.
].
Externally, it is used in the treatment of a range of skin problems including insect bites, eczema, chilblains, sores and psoriasis[
238
Title
Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses.
Publication
 
Author
Bown. D.
Publisher
Dorling Kindersley, London.
Year
1995
ISBN
0-7513-020-31
Description
A very well presented and informative book on herbs from around the globe. Plenty in it for both the casual reader and the serious student. Just one main quibble is the silly way of having two separate entries for each plant.
, 254. It is also used to treat wounds and stop bleeding[
318
Title
Raintree Nutrition - Tropical Plant Database
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.rain-tree.com/plants.htm
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Detailed information on the medicinal uses of more than two hundred rainforest plants, mainly from S. America, with basic descriptions of the plants, their other uses etc.
]. As an antiseptic gargle, it is used to treat sore throats and tonsillitis[
318
Title
Raintree Nutrition - Tropical Plant Database
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.rain-tree.com/plants.htm
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Detailed information on the medicinal uses of more than two hundred rainforest plants, mainly from S. America, with basic descriptions of the plants, their other uses etc.
].
The resin should be used with care, see notes above on toxicity[
238
Title
Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses.
Publication
 
Author
Bown. D.
Publisher
Dorling Kindersley, London.
Year
1995
ISBN
0-7513-020-31
Description
A very well presented and informative book on herbs from around the globe. Plenty in it for both the casual reader and the serious student. Just one main quibble is the silly way of having two separate entries for each plant.
].
The resin is tapped at intervals from the tree and the holes filled in afterwards[
238
Title
Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses.
Publication
 
Author
Bown. D.
Publisher
Dorling Kindersley, London.
Year
1995
ISBN
0-7513-020-31
Description
A very well presented and informative book on herbs from around the globe. Plenty in it for both the casual reader and the serious student. Just one main quibble is the silly way of having two separate entries for each plant.
]. It is used in infusions or distilled for its essential oil[
238
Title
Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses.
Publication
 
Author
Bown. D.
Publisher
Dorling Kindersley, London.
Year
1995
ISBN
0-7513-020-31
Description
A very well presented and informative book on herbs from around the globe. Plenty in it for both the casual reader and the serious student. Just one main quibble is the silly way of having two separate entries for each plant.
].

Other Uses

An oleoresin is obtained from the tree[
46
Title
Dictionary of Economic Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Uphof. J. C. Th.
Publisher
Weinheim
Year
1959
ISBN
-
Description
An excellent and very comprehensive guide but it only gives very short descriptions of the uses without any details of how to utilize the plants. Not for the casual reader.
]. It is an important fixative in perfumes - especially those with violet, woody or spicy notes[
238
Title
Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses.
Publication
 
Author
Bown. D.
Publisher
Dorling Kindersley, London.
Year
1995
ISBN
0-7513-020-31
Description
A very well presented and informative book on herbs from around the globe. Plenty in it for both the casual reader and the serious student. Just one main quibble is the silly way of having two separate entries for each plant.
,
318
Title
Raintree Nutrition - Tropical Plant Database
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.rain-tree.com/plants.htm
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Detailed information on the medicinal uses of more than two hundred rainforest plants, mainly from S. America, with basic descriptions of the plants, their other uses etc.
]. Today in the United States, copaiba resin is used mostly as a fragrance component in perfumes and in cosmetic preparations (including soaps, bubble baths, detergents, creams, and lotions) for its antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and emollient (soothing and softening) properties[
318
Title
Raintree Nutrition - Tropical Plant Database
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.rain-tree.com/plants.htm
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Detailed information on the medicinal uses of more than two hundred rainforest plants, mainly from S. America, with basic descriptions of the plants, their other uses etc.
].
The resin is also used in varnishes and lacquers[
238
Title
Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses.
Publication
 
Author
Bown. D.
Publisher
Dorling Kindersley, London.
Year
1995
ISBN
0-7513-020-31
Description
A very well presented and informative book on herbs from around the globe. Plenty in it for both the casual reader and the serious student. Just one main quibble is the silly way of having two separate entries for each plant.
].
The resin can be used, direct from the tree, as a substitute for diesel oil[
238
Title
Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses.
Publication
 
Author
Bown. D.
Publisher
Dorling Kindersley, London.
Year
1995
ISBN
0-7513-020-31
Description
A very well presented and informative book on herbs from around the globe. Plenty in it for both the casual reader and the serious student. Just one main quibble is the silly way of having two separate entries for each plant.
].

Tannin is obtained from the bark[
46
Title
Dictionary of Economic Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Uphof. J. C. Th.
Publisher
Weinheim
Year
1959
ISBN
-
Description
An excellent and very comprehensive guide but it only gives very short descriptions of the uses without any details of how to utilize the plants. Not for the casual reader.
].

The wood is used locally for turnery, carriages, furniture and ship building[
46
Title
Dictionary of Economic Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Uphof. J. C. Th.
Publisher
Weinheim
Year
1959
ISBN
-
Description
An excellent and very comprehensive guide but it only gives very short descriptions of the uses without any details of how to utilize the plants. Not for the casual reader.
].
We do not have any more specific information for the wood of this species, but a general description of the wood from this genus is as follows:-
The heartwood is a reddish-brown, it is somewhat variable, often with a coppery hue, and sometimes streaked; it is not very sharply demarcated from the pinkish-gray or nearly white sapwood. The texture is medium; the grain usually straight; lustre rather silky and golden; oily exudations are sometimes present, the woods of all species contain gum or oil canals. Dry material is without any distinctive odour or taste. The wood is not very durable, being susceptible to fungi, insects and drywood termites. It is easy to work and finishes very smoothly, though a small amount of material showed fuzzy grain after planing. It is used in general carpentry, construction, interior trim, furniture, turnery; it has been suggested for particleboard and excelsior cement board[
316
Title
Tropical Timbers of the World. Ag. Handbook No. 607.
Publication
 
Author
Chudnoff. Martin.
Publisher
USDA Forest Service. Wisconsin.
Year
1984
ISBN
 
Description
Terse details on the properties of the wood of almost 400 species of trees from the Tropics.
].

Propagation

Seed -
Cite as: Tropical Plants Database, Ken Fern. tropical.theferns.info. 2022-11-28. <tropical.theferns.info/viewtropical.php?id=Copaifera+officinalis>

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