Peruvian balsam possesses potent antiseptic properties and fuels restoring the harmed tissues. While internal use of this herbal medication is not advised generally, it is sometimes taken internally in the form of an expectorant as well as a decongestant to cure bronchitis, emphysema and bronchial asthma. In addition, it is also used internally for treating aching throats as well as diarrhea. Topically, Peruvian balsam is applied to skin disorders as well as wounds, burn injuries, hemorrhoids and in curing eczema as well as scabies and itching. Peruvian balsam is especially effective in treating infected and sluggishly healing wounds, burn injuries, frostbite, decubitus ulcers (bedsores), leg ulcers and bruises. As mentioned earlier, Peruvian balsam is a potent antiseptic and promotes the restoration of harmed tissues. The concentrated oil extracted from Peruvian balsam possesses anti-fungal and anti-bacterial attributes and is used in the form of an expectorant (to draw out phlegm) in aromatherapy. This oil is also employed to cure infections of the respiratory tract. Peruvian balsam has a long history of being used in the form of salve to treat headaches, toothaches as well as rheumatic symptoms. It is also used to stop bleeding from uterus and umbilical veins. Peruvian balsam is also used to prepare homeopathic remedies, especially those that are used to treat persistent inflammations of the mucous membrane of the urinary organs and the respiratory tract. People in Guatemala, use Peruvian balsam to cure skin itching. However, this herbal remedy is known to aggravate irritation in sensitive skin. In addition, Guatemalans employ the dehydrated Peruvian balsam fruits in the form of a decoction following child birth. Peruvian balsam is very popular among the Mexicans who use this herb to treat catarrh, asthma as well as rheumatism. People inhabiting the island of Chira, off Costa Rica, employ the resin exuded by the bark of Peruvian balsam to cure toothaches. They apply the resin to the cheeks for this purpose. In addition, the resin is also available commercially in the form of tablets and capsules.
Peruvian balsam is indigenous to Central America and it is found growing naturally in the tropical forests. Presently, Peruvian balsam in cultivated in Central and South American nations and also in India and Sri Lanka. When the bark of this tree is bruised, it exudes a dense, reddish-brown resin or balsam that is used therapeutically.
Chemical analysis of Peruvian balsam has revealed that the tree encloses resins of which a maximum of 80 per cent is cinnamic acid, cinnamein (50 to 70 per cent in Peruvian balsam and 10 to 30 per cent in Tolu balsam) and volatile oils (50 to 65 per cent benzyl benzoate and benzyl cinnamate, in addition to some amount of nerolidol).
Although Peruvian balsam is effective in treating a number of health conditions, people using herbal preparations with this plant ought to be cautious regarding its side effects. For instance, using this herb internally may result in contact allergic reactions and a number of grave complaints. Such adverse side effects may also happen when the formulations prepared with the herb are used externally. In effect, there have been a number of complaints regarding systemic toxicity in babies owing to the use of this herb when the kids have absorbed it after applying it to the nipples of nursing mothers to cure scabies.