Best Uses of Balsamic Essential Oils for Your Beauty

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Best Uses of Balsamic essential oils

Although the word balsamic is generally associated with an expensive gourmet vinegar nowadays, originally it meant “derived from balsam” – which is another word for resin.   Several essential oils include the word balsam in their names (not all of which are derived from resin). In today’s post, I will be covering the four most commonly found, Canadian balsam, copaiba balsam, Peru balsam, and Tolu balsam, and another which is sometimes called Canada balsam, Tsuga.  

Note: Friars’ balsam BP is a conventional medicine prepared from Liquidambar Orientalis and Benzoin Sumatra extracts. It is an old-fashioned treatment for the relief of cold symptoms, used in steam inhalation, readily available in chemists (possibly also in drug stores Stateside), but probably not in aromatherapy stores. As it’s not regarded as an aromatherapy product, it will not be referred to further here.

Canadian Balsamic Oil

Abies balsamea

Canadian balsam is a name used for two different essential oils.

The first is distilled from the oleoresin collected from Abies balsamea (syn. A. balsamiferaA. xphanerolepis, and Pinus balsamea). Other names for this tree include American silver fir, balm of Gilead fir*, balsam fir, balsam tree, Canada balsam, eastern fir, fir balsam, or just balsam.

Balm of Gilead, also called Balm of Mecca, is an ancient remedy extracted from Commiphora gileadensis syn. C. opobalsamum. It is mentioned in the Bible but is no longer used. Its legendary healing properties and rarity have led to the name being applied to other sources of balsam, including Abies balsamea and Populus candicans.

Safety Precautions

Oleoresin is sometimes used in perfumes and has been shown to cause dermatitis in some people. In any case, do not use Canadian balsam essential oil in large amounts – excess use may cause nausea and/or act as a purgative.


Test dilute essential oil on the joint inside the elbow, leave for 24 hours, and check results before using it more extensively.

Before use, dilute in the usual way with a suitable carrier oil if using for massage or direct application. Canadian balsam essential oil is used for asthma, bronchitisbruises, burnscatarrhchronic coughcutscystitisdepressionhemorrhoidsnervous tensionsore nipplessore throatstress, and urinary infections.

Tsuga canadensis Balsamic Essential Oil

Another oil sometimes called Canada balsam is collected from the hemlock spruce, Tsuga canadensis (syn. Abies Canadensis var. gracilisPicea Canadensis, and Pinus Canadensis), also called Canadian hemlock, eastern hemlock, eastern hemlock-spruce, or just hemlock.


Before use, dilute in the usual way with a suitable carrier oil if using for massage or direct application.

Usually labeled Tsuga or spruce essential oil, it is analgesic (pain-relieving), antimicrobialanti-rheumatic and antiseptic and is used for arthritic painexternal ulcersmuscular pain, and open wounds. Another important use, resulting from research at Brigham University in 2003, is to treat breast and cervical cancer. It is the most effective treatment for cervical cancer available to the aromatherapist and ranks number three (after myrtle and sandalwood) for breast cancer.

Copaifera Officinalis

Copaiba balsam essential oil distilled from balsam collected by drilling holes in the trunk of Copaifera officinalis trees (formerly Copaiva Officinalis). Also sometimes called copahu balsam, copaiva, Jesuit’s balsam, Maracaibo balsam, and para balsam.

Safety Precautions

Generally considered safe, but may cause sensitization. Before use, dilute in the usual way with a suitable carrier oil if using for massage or direct application.


Before use, dilute in the usual way with a suitable carrier oil if using for massage or direct application.

Copaiba essential oil is used for bronchitiscoldscoughscystitishemorrhoidsintestinal infections, and stress.

Myroxylon balsamum var. Pereira Balsamic Oil

Myroxylon balsamum var. balsamum

Peru balsam and Tolu balsam are different varieties of Myroxylon balsamum. Balsam of Tolu comes from M.b. var. balsamum (syn. Toluifera balsamum) and balsam of Peru from M.b. var. pereirae (syn. Myrospermum pereiraeMyroxylon pereirae, and Toluifera pereirae), though Peru balsam is sometimes just labeled as Myroxylon balsamum. Both types of essential oil are produced by the distillation of balsam collected from the tree.


Before use, dilute in the usual way with a suitable carrier oil if using for massage or direct application.

Peru balsam essential oil is used for asthmabronchitischapped skincoldscoughsdry skineczemalow blood pressurenervous tensionrashesrheumatismstress, and open wounds.

Tolu balsam essential oil is used for bronchitiscatarrhchapped skincoughscracked skincroupdry skineczemalaryngitisrashesscabies, and open wounds.

Frankincense Essential Oil

Frankincense, also known as olibanum, is obtained from a shrubby tree of the genus Boswellia, native to the arid regions of Africa and the Middle East. For centuries it has been an important ingredient in religious ceremonies and it can be very useful for home use too.

In aromatherapy, frankincense oil is valued for its effects on the respiratory system. It can be used in steam inhalations, baths, and massages for catarrh, bronchitis, and coughs. The oil is also recommended for sufferers of asthma but in this case, there should be medical supervision.

Female users have also reported that baths and massages with the oil can help reduce excessive menstruation associated with menopause. Baths and massages can also help reduce pain in muscles and joints so it is sometimes used as a remedy for rheumatism and arthritis. Frankincense is beneficial for oily skin and is also used on mature skin. It is also good for tiredness, grumpiness, negative moods, lack of confidence, and emotional turmoil.

Some women may find that the smell is too masculine for them and in these cases, it can be blended with other oils such as rose, neroli, or lavender. Frankincense is perfectly safe for home use as long as it is diluted before application.

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