Balsam of Tolu - Myroxylon toluifera balsamum
- from Colombia in brittle form.
All parts of this tree have an aromatic fragrance.The trunk is tall and bare, and at about 40 to 60 feet from the ground throws out its branches, producing a rounded crown of foliage. The younger the tree, the larger the foliage of obovate leaflets, as older trees suffer from the drainage of balsam. The flowers are borne in dense, auxillary racemes, 3 to 43 inches long, and the calyx tube is rather tubular. The fruit is an oblong, linear legume, narrowed at its base. The tree, which is an evergreen, rises to a height of 70 or 80 feet.
Tolu Balsam, like Benzoin, has a bitter top note which yields to reveal a warm balsamic fragrance with notes of vanilla and cinnamon. The fragrance is considered to be healing and comforting. It is useful for meditation and relaxation.
Tolu Balsam was officially listed in 1882 in European medicine and available in apothecaries as a remedy for coughs and colds as well as for headache and stomach problems. Balsam of Tolu, like that of Peru, is a stimulant, tonic, and expectorant, and may be used as a substitute for it in chronic catarrhs, and other pulmonary affections not actively inflammatory in their character. It is usually preferred on account of its more agreeable flavor, and for which it is often added to cough mixtures. The balsam, dissolved in ether, and the vapor therefrom inhaled, is reputed beneficial in coughs and bronchial affections. Two parts of Tolu, 3 of almond oil, 4 of gum Arabic, and 16 of rose water, make an excellent liniment for excoriated nipples. The dose is from 10 to 30 grains, frequently repeated, and given in tincture, syrup, or similar to balsam of Peru.
Origin: South America, primarily Columbia
Parts Used: oleo resin (balsam - brittle)
Aroma Description: warm, peppery, fruity, vanilla-like balsam with a touch of cinnamon
Emotional Attributes: creativity, meditation, sleep, relaxation, restores emotional balance
Cosmetic Uses: none known
Culinary Uses: resin is used in chewing gum, ice cream, candy, soft drinks, bakery products, etc.
Medicinal Attributes: treats lung congestion, coughs and colds. Was used to treat headaches, gout and stomach problems. Can cause allergic reactions.
Element Association: Air
Magical Associations: Prosperity
Astrological Association: Leo, Aquarius
Planetary Association: Sun
Aromatic Note: Base note
Essential Oil: Yes, solvent extracted absolutes are available
Mixes Well With: benzoin, cassia, cinnamon, clove, copal-black, cedar, juniper, labdanum, musk seed, opoponax, palo santo wood, patchouli, rose, sandalwood, sweetgrass, vanilla, orange peel, etc.
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