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Synonyms: Copaiva, Balsam Copaiba, Copaiba officinalis.
Common Names : Kupa‘y, cabismo, copaúva, diesel tree and kerosene tree.
Copaifera Langsdorffii is a medium-sized tree usually reaching 12 meters in height, with white flowers and small, oily fruits. The wood is light due to its porosity. And, it is honeycombed with capillaries filled with oil. Tapping the tree involves cutting a well into which the oil seeps and where it can be easily collected. Despite its vigorous production of oil, the tree does not grow well outside of the tropics, and does not show promise as a reliable source of biodiesel in temperate climates.
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It produces a large amount of terpene hydrocarbons in its wood and leaves. One tree can produce 30 to 53 liters of hydrocarbons per year, en masse producing 10,000 – 12,000 litres/hectare/year which is incredibly high. The oil is collected by tree tapping.
The first yield is clear, colourless and very thin, but in contact with the air its consistency soon becomes thicker and yellower. It is most largely collected from Para and Maranhao in Brazil, and is brought to this country in small casks and barrels; large quantities also come from Maracaibo in Venezuela, and it is also exported from Angostura, Cayenne, Rio Janeiro and some of the West Indian Islands. The variety that comes from Venezuela is more viscid and darker in colour.
Part Used: Oleoresin.
Chemical Constituents: Volatile oil, resin. Amorphous resin acids and resenes.
Copaiba is a clear transparent liquid of the consistency of olive oil, pale yellow with a peculiar but not unpleasant odour, taste bitterish, hot and nauseous; the substance it most closely resembles is turpentine. As it contains no benzoic acid, it cannot properly be called a resin.
Stimulant, diuretic, carminative, laxative; in large doses purgative, causing nausea, vomiting, strangury, bloody urine and fever. A good remedy for chronic catarrh and bronchitis, as it assists expectoration and is antiseptic; is given with advantage in leucorrhoea, chronic cystitis, diarrhoea and haemorrhoids. It is chiefly used in gonorrhoea (though not advocated for chronic cases), often combined with cubebs and sandal. It has also been recommended externally for chilblains. Both the volatile oil and resin are greatly altered when expelled in the urine, and when precipitated by nitric acid might be mistaken for albumen; it is considered a valuable hydragogue diuretic in obstinate dropsy.
It creates an irritant action on the whole mucous membrane, imparts a peculiar odour to the urine and breath, causes an eruption resembling measles attended with irritation and tingling; it is the resin, not the oleoresin, that is used as a diuretic.
1.The main compound in the oil is copaiba, an oleoresin which is useful in the production of oil products such as lacquers and can be used as biodiesel. The tree is also the main source of copaene, another terpene.
2.Bees utilize the tree for pollen collection.
3.The wood can be burned for firewood or used in carpentry work.
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider