Aromatherapy & Aromacology
Baume de Perou
BAUME DE PEROU/Balsam of Peru
(Myroxylon balsamum var. pereirae - Leguminosae)
Myroxylon pereirae is a large spreading tree of tropical America, closely related to the tree which yields baume de Tolu (M. Toluiferum). It grows in Guatemala, San Salvador and Honduras, but, funnily enough, not in Peru. The name stems from the fact that the tree and its resin were sent from Peru by the Spanish Conquistadors.
THE ESSENTIAL OIL
Description: This comes from the oleoresin, which is obtained by removing the bark at the foot of the tree and burning it with a flame to make the resin exude. Sometimes solvents such as ethylic ether, petroleum ether and sulphuric carbon are used for extraction. The colour of the oil I recommend for therapeutic use is browny red; it is thick and can be soluble in alcohol. It smells quite unique, flowery and sweet but not sweet at the same time, slightly medicinal like wintergreen, with notes of pine or cedar.
The principal constituents: The oil is sometimes called cinnameine as it is essentially composed of cinnamic acid, with benzoic acid, famesol, nerolidol, peruviol and vanillin.
Dangers: As it can provoke skin reactions and unpleasant side effects in some people, it should only be prescribed by a reputable practitioner, and is on the list of restricted oils prepared by IFRA
Charnel and Lemery have prescribed and recommended its usage for asthmatics and for those with weak constitutions or weak chests after illness. At one time it was dissolved in alcohol and taken internally. Baume de Perou is classifed as balsamic, a pectoral antiseptic, a skin bactericide, and as being calming and beneficial for coughs (bronchial or smoker's), flu and asthma. It is still included in many pharmacological products in France for chest and skin problems.
Its bactericidal properties make it very effective for burns, cuts, frost¬bite and many skin problems such as ulcers, abscesses and eczema.
Baume de Perou (Balsam of Peru) is used in perfumery as a fixative. In veterinary practice, many domestic animals respond well to it.