An increasing number of people are beginning to realize the many health benefits of essential oils. A quick online search returns a list of familiar names including lavender, peppermint, and oregano. But there are other oils out there that have amazing healing properties and that you’ve probably never even heard of.
A prime example is copaiba essential oil. Even some long-time users of essential oils may not know about copaiba. Interestingly, it has been used for more than four centuries in traditional Brazilian medicine. In this guide, you will learn all about copaiba essential oil. The miracle oil from the Amazon rainforest.
What Is It?
Copaiba is highly regarded for its anti-inflammatory properties. Its unique composition makes it an excellent natural remedy for pain and inflammation. It can even be safely ingested to treat health disorders, which is rare for essential oils.
Where It Comes From
As you may know, most essential oils are derived from the leaves of plants. Copaiba, however, differs in that it comes from the resin of the copaiba balsam tree. This tree grows in the Amazon rainforest in Brazil. It hails from the genus Copaifera from the legume family, Fabaceae.
The resin has long been used to make varnishes and lacquers by the ancient people of Amazon and surrounding areas.
The copaiba tree grows up to 100 feet and produces yellow flowers and red fruits. The branches only grow at the top. The tree secretes a viscous liquid called oleoresin, which is yellowish to brown in color. Through the process of steam distillation, the essential oil is extracted from the resin.
In traditional medicine, the oil has been used to treat eczema, dermatosis, and gonorrhea. It has also served as a laxative and diuretic and burned in healing ceremonies.
Copaiba oil is popular in Peru and Brazil, where it continues to be used for its anti-inflammatory properties. It is even used as a base in cosmetics.
What Is In It?
Just like reading product labels on food items, it is beneficial to learn what makes up copaiba oil to ensure that it is safe to use. Copaifera langsdorffii is the most studied variation of the oil. It consists of B-caryophyllene (a bicyclic sesquiterpene also present in Black Pepper), y-muurolene, caryophyllene oxide, 4-a-copaenol, and B-bisabolol.
It is worth noting that the variation offered by most of the popular brands of essential oil is Copaifera Officialis. This variation has unique qualities, but it provides the same health benefits. The medicinal properties of the oil are attributed to diterpenes, which are found in all varieties. Diterpenes are hydrocarbons which provide defense to the trees against disease, damage, and predators. Essential oil companies such as doTERRA have even started offering copaiba oil distilled from the resin of not just one but four different species within the genus: Copaifera reticulata, officinalis, coriacea, and langsdorffii with the idea that producing oil from a variety of species could potentially offer greater, more diverse health benefits. It also could be argued that this is a more sustainable sourcing approach.
7 Health Benefits of Using Copaiba Essential Oil
1) Reduces inflammation and pain.
For several centuries, copaiba oil is touted for its anti-inflammatory properties. In Brazil, it is also widely used as an antiseptic. Beta-caryophyllene is the main compound in the oil that’s responsible for providing this effect. A study published in The Journal of Ethnopharmacology showed that this compound also has pain-killing properties.
Many consider copaiba oil as the most powerful anti-inflammatory agent in the world. This has helped the essential oil communities across the globe to become more aware of copaiba. And thanks to more studies involving the essential oil, its healing properties have been established. For instance, one study showed that users of copaiba oil experienced a significant improvement in the inflammatory response. It has also been shown to block the detection of injurious stimuli, which means it can serve as an effective natural pain reliever.
Health experts have high hopes for copaiba essential oil, as it can reduce the dependence on prescription pain killers to manage pain and discomfort that comes with many health conditions. However, more studies are required to determine the long-term effects of copaiba and the correct dosage to prevent side effects.
2) Protects the brain.
As noted, the copaiba tree secretes oleoresins, which are mixtures of oil and resin. Oleoresins have played an important role in Brazilian folk medicine for hundreds of years. These mixtures have been used primarily as a natural healing solution. Recent studies, however, show that oleoresins can also function as a neuroprotective, which means it effectively protects the brain.
One study involved patients using copaiba oil-resin after suffering from neural disorders. The goal was to observe its anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective effects on the participants. The researchers concluded that the copaiba oil-resin treatment was able to induce neuroprotection by improving inflammatory response.
Regular use of this therapeutic oil has shown to be effective in easing the symptoms of anxiety and depression among those suffer from these often debilitating conditions.
3) Gets rid of acne and diminishes acne scars.
If you are not new to the world of essential oils, then you probably know that different oils can be used to enhance the look and feel of your skin. Copaiba oil is something you would want to add to your list. Because of its anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties, copaiba essential oil can be used to reduce the appearance of pimples, blackheads, and whiteheads. It has also been shown to help treat other skin irritations.
In one study, copaiba essential oil was given to volunteers who suffered from acne. The essential oil was extracted through steam distillation and purified through freezing to get rid of remnant water. The essential oil was then used in a gel, which the volunteers applied to their skin. The results showed a significant reduction in the appearance of acne, proving that copaiba aromatherapy oil can work well as a part of one’s daily skin care regimen. With results like this, it’s no surprise that respected experts in the field, such as Robert Tisserand are saying that copaiba oil makes your skin happy.
4) Protects the liver and supports healthy detoxification.
As noted earlier, copaiba oil works as a natural painkiller. However, researchers suggest that it can also be effective at reducing liver tissue damage caused by Tylenol and other acetaminophens. This was shown in a study involving lab rats with liver damage caused by acetaminophen. For 7 days, the researchers gave copaiba oil to the rats. The results showed that copaiba oil was able to reduce liver damage due to induction of acetaminophen or paracetamol.
For people who use acetaminophen a lot, copaiba oil provides a great alternative to prescription medication. However, it’s important to note that using the oil incorrectly can do more harm than good. In the same study, the rats who took large oral doses of the oil showed early signs of liver disease.
When using the oil, it’s best to follow safety guidelines. At the most, only use 1 to 2 drops each dose. Dilute the oil with coconut oil or add a little honey. If you can, try to take it in a gel capsule. And be sure to consult your doctor before deciding to take the oil orally.
5) Improves oral health.
Want to flash a healthier and more beautiful smile? Once again, copaiba oil can be the solution you’ve been looking for. Studies reveal the promising benefits of copaiba essential oil in oral health care. While essential oils are often used to treat various skin conditions, most are not safe for oral use. Copaiba sets itself apart as it can be safely ingested, albeit in the proper dosage. One study looked at the cytotoxic effect of the oil, and results showed that it wasn’t cytotoxic, which means it can be used internally.
Another study discovered that copaiba oil was also a bacteriostatic agent. It’s worth noting that this effect has only been proven against Streptococcus mutans, a bacteria that is responsible for most cases of tooth decay. This shows that the oil can stop the bacteria from reproducing, which means that the oil can be incorporated into oral health treatments designed to prevent cavities.
6) Combats infections (antibacterial, anti-fungal, antimicrobial).
Many studies have found the benefits of using copaiba essential oil for skin problems such as acne and oral health issues like cavities and tooth decay. Interestingly, however, plenty of research studies have also shown the uses of copaiba oil for treating different kinds of infections. These studies further solidify the effectiveness of the oil as a natural healing agent.
One study evaluated the effects of copaiba essential oil in rats with fecal peritonitis, causing severe sepsis. The rats were divided into two groups: one was injected with copaiba prior to acquiring the infection while the second group was injected after getting infected. It’s interesting to learn that the group that received copaiba treatment before infection showed a considerably higher survival rate compared to the other group.
Experts say that more studies are needed before coming up with a hard conclusion, but the results show that copaiba oil can be used as a treatment option for people who are prone to infection. These studies must also determine the safest way to use copaiba oil internally.
7) Treats autoimmune conditions.
It’s no question that autoimmune conditions can be devastating to patients. But copaiba oil shows promise in treating these conditions, although the studies about this particular benefit are still in their early stages.
A recent study involved evaluating the effects of copaiba oil in the immune system response in mice with experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis. This autoimmune disease is only found in rodents, yet it is commonly used to study multiple sclerosis. The results revealed that copaiba treatment boosted the immune response, which prevented the development of EAE.
Researchers still need to conduct further studies to establish the impact of the oil on the immune system response, especially in human patients. However, the results of the said study suggest that copaiba can be useful in treating patients with multiple sclerosis and other autoimmune conditions.
Copaiba Essential Oil Side Effects?
As mentioned earlier, copaiba essential oil can be used aromatically, topically, and internally. However, while it is generally considered a safe, gentle oil with no known toxicity, it can cause different side effects (like any substance) when consumed in large doses. The most common side effects linked to the use of the copaifera balsam oil include stomach upset and potential allergic reaction. If you notice adverse effects following the use of copaiba essential oil, discontinue its use right away and consult with your physician.
How To Use Copaiba Oil Safely?
Essential oils are generally considered safe as long as you follow safety guidelines, which to be honest are just plain commonsense.
Properly diluting essential oils with a carrier oil, such as fractionated coconut oil is one of the simplest and most effective ways to make sure you use them safely. Remember that essential oils are highly concentrated plant compounds. Without proper dilution, you can experience adverse effects. Copaiba oil is no exception.
The good news is that there is currently no evidence or reported cases of any adverse pharmaceutical drug Interactions or contraindications from using copaiba oil while taking prescription medication.
Here are some tips on how to use copaiba oil safely and effectively.
Burns and Wounds – Mix 12 drops of copaiba, 1/2 ounce aloe vera gel, and 1/2 ounce jojoba oil in a 1-ounce squeeze bottle. Shake well before using. Use a Q-tip and dab the wounded area gently with the mixture.
Acne – Add 6 drops of copaiba oil per ounce of facial cleanser, moisturizer or lotion. Apply topically as normal. If you suffer from itching, redness, or other adverse effects, stop using immediately.
Headaches and Migraine – Add 15 drops of copaiba to a diffuser or inhaler. You can also use it topically by mixing with a carrier oil. Only add 6 drops with 1% dilution for kids ages 6 and up.
Muscle Pain – Mix copaiba oil with 1-ounce carrier oil and apply topically to the affected area. When used for kids 6 years old and above, only add 6 to 10 drops of the oil. For adults, you can go as high as 30 drops depending on the intensity of the pain. The same mixture can be used to relieve pain caused by arthritis.
Copaiba Oil for Pregnancy and Babies
Yes. Copaiba is gentle enough to use throughout your pregnancy and during labor to help manage both muscle and joint pain and discomfort and also to help ease stress and anxiety. Use aromatically in a ultraonsic diffuser and also apply topically with a carrier oil at a 1% dilution or add to a pregnancy-safe moisturizing cream. Topical application will also help to reduce the appearance of stretch marks and scars and help to support overall skin health and well-being.
While it is definitely not recommended to use essential oils with newborns (as they are much too potent and newborn babies are highly sensitive), heavily diluted copaiba oil at 0.5% can be gently applied along the jawline of a teething infant / toddler to bring soothing relief and comfort.
Diffusing copaiba has also shown to help with cold, flu, and also whooping cough in babies and children.
Is Copaiba Safe to Use on Pets?
No it is not. Copaiba oil is not safe to use on pets such as cats and dogs. Obviously, this means that you should not apply it to their bodies and most definitely not give it to them internally. However, it is safe to diffuse the oil in a ventilated space, provided your pets have a clear path to exit the room if they are uncomfortable.
Summing It Up
By now, you should be excited to grab your first ever bottle of copaiba essential oil. Despite being relatively unknown compared to other essential oils, it never fails to deliver many amazing health benefits to its users.
Just be sure to dilute it appropriately (like is recommended with all oils), especially when you plan on ingesting it. Remember to consult your doctor and / or clinical aromatherapist prior to taking any oil internally.
Clinical Studies of Copaiba Oil / Resin