Tolu Balsam

It is the technological product resulting from a resinous secretion of the Myroxylon toluifera tree , a variant of the species from which the Peruvian Balsam is extracted .


It owes its name since the 16th century to its origin in the province of TolĂș (now a municipality) on the Caribbean coast of Colombia . From there it was marketed and made known to Europe , particularly Spain, where it became very popular for its properties and became part of the pharmacopoeia of the time.


Spontaneous trees abound in Colombia and Venezuela . The trees are grown particularly in Cuba .


The resin is extracted from the trunk of the tree through incisions in the bark of the Myroxylon and is collected when it dries.


The color of its resin is light brown to reddish. The balm is hot moldable and breaks into a pattern similar to flint glass when cold. The dry resin has a complex aroma consisting mainly of notes of cinnamon and vanilla with a soft floral character. Tolu balsam is composed of toluene or methylbenzene, benzoic acid , resin and volatile oils; it is soluble in alcohol and ether ; yields its benzoic acid to water.

Effects of Tolu balsam

The resin, both in leaves and fruits, has been traditionally used since pre-Hispanic times by the people of Colombia , Venezuela and Central America to improve cough and asthma, or treat wounds. The aborigines also used this resin for embalming .

Medicinal use: The extracted plant drug is used as an expectorant , stimulant, antiseptic and a flavor-correcting substance in cough syrups ; Helps fight chronic and pulmonary colds, laryngitis , rheumatism, bronchitis . Different authors also state its use for the treatment of venereal diseases , skin, sprains, scabies , diarrhea, cholera and tuberculosis due to its antiseptic, antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, healing, antidisenteric, parasiticidal (anthelmintic), stomachial, tonic, properties. antigonorrheic and antisiphilitic.

Alimentary use: is also used in the manufacture of chewing gum (gum), flavoring chewing gums , foods and beverages.

Cosmetic use: highly valued for its warm, honeyed and somewhat spicy essence, its main use is in the manufacture of cosmetics, lotions, perfumes, creams, ointments, soaps, detergents and deodorants.

It causes contact dermatitis , a form of skin allergy, in sensitive people.

Applications of Tolu balsam

Bronchitis chronic. Cystitis, urethritis. Pharyngitis , laryngitis (inhalations). Scabies (topical use).

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