Peru Balsam – I LOVE you!

Myroxylon balsamum - Peru or Tolu Balsam (pic sneakily borrowed Fragrantica)

Myroxylon balsamum – Peru or Tolu Balsam (pic sneakily borrowed Fragrantica)

I placed an order with one of my suppliers the other day and was upset to find they will no longer stock peru balsam essential oil. The customer service operator said there has been a lot of negative publicity lately about the oil as a skin irritant, and that it was used more in perfumery. Yeah! That’s why I want it! I want it for the scent. So I’ll be looking for this stunning oil from somewhere else and hope I can find a lovely one.

This beautiful oil, is like a combination of benzoin and vanilla. (Benzoin tincture is the red liquid used for cuts and abrasions and other skin issues that need an anti-bacterial wash. It was often in the first aid kit for wound healing, and has been used for hundreds of years. It was also called Friars Balsam and is also a resin like Peru Balsam, but comes from the Styrax family. It is also used in perfumery and comes from Indonesia and other parts of Asia).

Peru Balsam is sweet and soft and has warming stimulating properties reportedly to be a great treatment for skin conditions. I suppose over-use of the oil can lead to the opposite effect – skin irritations.  I have never seen any negative results from using this oil and actually love to use it as a perfume. It’s fantastic for vapourising to act as a soothing agent to stress, and add some sweetness and healing energy into the room. It is like a balm for the soul and when you take a deep whiff, it’s almost like you can smell a protective honeycomb, multi-dimensional energy field.

peru balsam resin

peru balsam resin

So apparently it’s not used in Aromatherapy as much as it is used in perfumery. It hails from Central and South America and although it isn’t native to Peru, it was shipped to Europe from Lima in Peru in the 1600’s for perfumery, medicine and food flavouring.

In my practice I use Peru Balsam when I feel nurturing and protection is required. It goes well with orange and in fact this blend is a favourite of one of my clients. I use this on myself as a perfume straight from the bottle and also blend it with other oils for a body oil blend.

Here are a couple of recipes;

Sweet Unicorn Dreams

25 drops in a vapuouriser to sweeten the air, de-stress and to help avoid bad dreams

Peru Balsam 12 drops

Orange          9 drops

Marjoram       4 drops

Skin of Silk

8 drops in 3 teaspoons of carrier oil for a body oil

Peru Balsam    4 drops

Lavender          3 drops

Patchouli          1 drop

Knight in Shining Armour

25 drops in a 50ml mist bottle topped up with water for use as a space cleansing and protection mist

Peru Balsam  10 drops

Lime                8 drops

Rosewood       6 drops

Vetiver             1 drop

I don’t think we need to be afraid of the potentially sensitising nature of this oil, but perhaps use caution and don’t use it with kids. The old adage “everything in moderation” works well for us here as it does in everyday life.

Remember to treat yourself first and then everyone will benefit!

Are there any Aromatherapists out there who use Peru Balsam, and also those who don’t? I’d love to hear from you in the comments section, don’t be shy.

12 thoughts on “Peru Balsam – I LOVE you!

  1. just to let people know that peru balm is brilliant to use as a topical ointment for piles and is actually in most over the counter hemmeroid creams it can also be used to combat puffy eyes quite effectively.
    and yes, i make my own perfumes and do use peru balm as a fixative in a few of them especially the ones that lean towards the smokey/ sweet and spicy end.

  2. I purchased some Peru Balsam and can hardly wait to experiment with it, but I’m having a bit of trouble. The oil is so thick it is very difficult to work with and doesn’t seem to be blending with my CO. Do you have any suggestions as to how to go about it?

    • Hi Carmella apologies for my tardy reply.Hmmmm ….. seems as though you could either have an old oil (not a bad thing unless it is dehydrated which could alter its scent and/or therapeutic qualities) or just a thick oil? I would let it sit in a glass or cup of boiled water for 10 mins (with the lid on tight) and see if it pours out then. If it’s a bit thinner it may blend better, but if it doesn’t I would return it to the manufacturer for an exchange or refund. thanks, Suzanne

  3. Hi Suzanne, hi Ben,

    Thanks for getting back to me! I have since spoken to a local perfumer lady and her answer was a combination of both of yours. 😉 She said that the resin needs to be heated up and really shaken a LOT to mix properly. Still, it’s not completely soluble in oil but is fine in alcohol. Since I’m working primarily with oil at the moment, my idea is to let the peru balsam sit in the blend for a while and later strain it to remove the little bits that didn’t mix properly.

      • Thanks! I’ve ordered a bottle of Balsam of Peru Essential Oil coming from Eden Botanicals. It’s supposed to have no blending issues at all, unlike the resin. Can’t wait to experiment with it!

    • Did you try with Cynamein instead? The cynamein is an oily substance easier to mix with oils. The problem with the peru balsam itself is the resin, really hard to deal with.

      • I’d never heard of it so I googled it and it seems that Cynamein is just one of the components in peru balsam. Is that right? Where do you get yours?

      • Well, the cynamein is the peru balsam oil itself, since the peru balsam resin has near to 50 per cent of cynamein. There are lots of stores on line where you may find the peru balsam oil. I have never purchased because I am from El Salvador and I worked for the largest wholesale exporter and at the lab they extract cynamein. At amazon.com you may find. Best regards!

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