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Botanical Name :Myrospermum Toluiferum
Species: M. frutescens
Synonyms: Balsamum Tolutanum. Tolutanischer Balsam. Balsamum Americanum.
Common Name: Balsam of Tolu
Habitat :Myrospermum Toluiferum is a tree which grows throughout the forests of South America, especially on the elevated parts near Carthagena, Tolu, and in the Magdalena provinces of Columbia.
Myrospermum Toluiferum is presumed to be similar to the Balsam of Peru tree, differing only in the leaflets, which in this tree are thin, membranouss, obovate, taper-pointed; the terminal ones larger than the others.
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The balsam is obtained by making incisions into the tree, and which flows into wax vessels. It is exported from Carthagena in tin, earthen, and other vessels. It has a pale, yellowish-red or brown color, solid and brittle, an agreeable vanilla-like odor, and a sweetish aromatic taste. It is soluble in alcohol, ether, and essential oils.
Constituents: About 80 per cent amorphous resin, with cinnamic acid, a volatile oil, and a little vanillin, benzyl benzoate and benzyl cinnamate. It is freely soluble in chloroform, glacial acetic acid, acetone, ether, alcohol and liquor potassa, scarcely soluble in petroleum-benzine and benzol.
To distinguish it from Balsam of Peru it can be tested with sulphuric acid and water, yielding a grey mass instead of the lovely violet colour of the genuine Peruvian Balsam.
Like Balsam of Peru, it is a stimulant, tonic, and expectorant, and cannot be equalled for its curative effects in cases sof consumption, catarrh, bronchitis, asthma, and all inflammatory, ulcerated, spasmodic, or other morbid conditions of the respiratory organs and their adjuncts. The balsam dissolved in ether, and the vapor therefrom inhaled, is reported beneficial in coughs and bronchial affections of long standing, and I have no doubt it is so, as its virtues in such complaints are very wonderful.
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