Thursday, 29 October 2015

True and common balsams (Review)

Volume 22, Issue 6, 2012, Pages 1372-1383

Departamento de Química, Instituto de Ciências Exatas, Universidade Federal do Amazonas, Brazil


Balsams have been used since ancient times, due to their therapeutic and healing properties; in the perfume industry, they are used as fixatives, and in the cosmetics industry and in cookery, they are used as preservatives and aromatizers. They are generally defined as vegetable material with highly aromatic properties that supposedly have the ability to heal diseases, not only of the body, but also of the soul. When viewed according to this concept, many substances can be considered balsams. A more modern concept is based on its chemical composition and origin: a secretion or exudate of plants that contain cinnamic and benzoic acids, and their derivatives, in their composition. The most common naturally-occurring balsams (i.e. true balsams) are the Benzoins, Liquid Storaque and the Balsams of Tolu and Peru. Many other aromatic exudates, such as Copaiba Oil and Canada Balsam, are wrongly called balsam. These usually belong to other classes of natural products, such as essential oils, resins and oleoresins. Despite the understanding of some plants, many plants are still called balsams. This article presents a chemical and pharmacological review of the most common balsams.

Author keywords

Balsams; Benzoic acid; Cinnamic acid

Indexed keywords

EMTREE drug terms: balsam; balsam Peru; benzoic acid; benzoin; benzyl alcohol; benzyl benzoate; cabreuva balsam; canada balsam; cinnamic acid; copaiba balsam; gurjun balsam; liquid storaque; nerolidol; tolu balsam; unclassified drug
EMTREE medical terms: bronchitis; chemical composition; Commiphora; diarrhea; human; laryngitis; leukorrhea; Myroxylon; nonhuman; review