How to Use Copaiba Essential Oil & Its Benefits

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

Once the secret of Amazon, copaiba essential oil is today widely available throughout the world. The indigenous people believe that it has miraculous properties, from healing wounds to warding off bad luck. Modern research supports its ability to reduce pain and inflammation, protect against infections, and promote healing. It is also used to improve the health of the skin and hair.

What is Copaiba Essential Oil?

Copaiba essential oil is a distilled oil from an oleoresin called copaiba. This resin is produced as a sap from a tree in South America from the Copaifera L. genus. Although the resin itself can change its color depending on the ratio of resin to essential oil, once the oil is distilled out, it should be pale yellow in color with a slightly bitter taste and an aroma that is reminiscent of the balsam of the tree. It is also often referred to as copaiba balsam essential oil.

Copaiba is considered to be a potent anti-inflammatory substance, yet much of the world only uses copaiba as a lacquer or varnish. In traditional South American medicine, this essential oil was used extensively by indigenous people. It is now gaining popularity in other parts of the world.

The active components in copaiba essential oil are quite powerful, consisting mainly of terpenes, which are hydrocarbons that have significant effects on the functioning of our body. Fortunately for us, most of the side effects of the terpenes found in copaiba essential oil are very beneficial for our health. That being said, if you consume too much of this potent oil, it can cause stomach issues on par with food poisoning. Fortunately, allergies to this essential oil are rare, and it can be used both, for topical applications, and in a diffused state in aromatherapy.

Essential oils for acne on a wooden table

Copaiba essential oil is mostly used for inflammations and healing. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

How to Use Copaiba Essential Oil?

There are three main ways of using copaiba essential oil:

  • Ingestion: Unlike most essential oils, copaiba essential is considered safe when taken orally. Traditionally, it was taken as a tea or with honey. It is approved as a flavoring agent in limited quantities by the FDA. However, we would recommend caution and doctor’s advice before taking it directly. Even though it may be likely safe, it is best to avoid ingesting essential oils.
  • Topical: It can be applied directly to the skin. However, we would recommend using a carrier oil as essential oils are very concentrated in nature. You can dilute it with carrier oils like avocado, jojoba, or coconut oil. It is also always best to do a patch test before applying regularly or over a sensitive area.
  • Inhalation: The most recommended means of using essential oils is through inhalation. You can add a few drops to an aromatherapy diffuser.

Health Benefits of Copaiba Essential oil

From the skin to respiratory health, copaiba oil is used for many body functions. Let’s take a closer look at some of these proven health benefits below.

Reduces Pain

Copaiba essential oil has analgesic properties. It was traditionally used in this capacity in Brazilian and Venezuelan folk medicine. It contains a potent anti-inflammatory compound known as β-Caryophyllene. Animal research shows that it can help in reducing arthritic inflammations. It was seen as a safer alternative to conventional drugs. However, there is insufficient evidence to support its effectiveness against arthritis.

To use: Copaiba essential oil was traditionally used topically to bring relief from pain. It is also taken as a tea with hot water and honey. However, if you want to practice caution and avoid ingestion or direct contact, you can use an aromatherapy diffuser for this purpose.

Skin Care

One of the most notable and popular health benefits of copaiba essential oil is derived from its astringent property. A study published in the Alternative Medicine Review journal revealed that a topical application of copaiba essential oil helped reduce the appearance of acne on the face. It is today added to many cosmetics, including skin lotions, soaps, creams, and moisturizers.

To use: Add a few drops of copaiba essential oil to your regular moisturizer or lotion. For a more natural formulation, add it to carrier oils like coconut or olive oil. Use this before going to bed.

Reduces Scars

Copaiba essential oil is often topically applied to scars in order to speed their healing and reduce their visibility. This includes acne scars, blisters, marks, and pimples. A 2019 research published in PLOS One showed that β-Caryophyllene promotes wound healing by reducing inflammations.

To use: The traditional method for using copaiba oil to treat wounds was a topical application. However, we would highly recommend taking a doctor’s advice prior to applying any essential oil for healing wounds.

Prevents Infection

Copaiba oil was used to treat wounds and infections in Venezuelan and Brazilian folk medicine. Multiple studies have found that it does indeed have the ability to fight against infections, thanks to its antimicrobial properties. A 2019 study, published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology, confirmed its ability in treating skin and urinary tract infections. Another study confirmed that its antibacterial properties were effective in treating dental problems.

To use: Traditionally copaiba oil was applied topically at the wound or infection site. But we would highly recommend caution before applying essential oil directly or indirectly without medical advice. Always take a doctor’s opinion before self-medicating infections.

Improves Mood

In aromatherapy, copaiba essential oil is often used to lighten the spirit and improve mood. With a pleasantly spicy and woodsy aroma, copaiba oil can bring the rainforest to you. The anti-inflammatory substances in the oil may also help those suffering from mild infections.

To use: Add a few drops to an aromatherapy diffuser or inhaler. When using an aromatherapy diffuser, make sure that you are in a well-ventilated room.

Lowers Blood Pressure

Add a few drops of copaiba to your aromatherapy or essential oil regimen for better heart health. Animal studies have shown that it could be beneficial for people with hypertension. It has anti-inflammatory and soothing properties, as per a study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology. These properties can help relieve the tension and strain in your blood vessels.

To use: Keep in mind that copaiba is not a medicine for hypertension. We recommend aromatherapy for soothing your heart health.

Oral Care

A 2016 study published in The Open Dentistry Journal revealed that copaiba essential oil gel proved to be effective against all strains of Streptococcus. Researchers suggested that it can be used as a natural, alternative dental biofilm control. Other studies suggest exploring the therapeutic potential of the essential oil for oral care due to its potent antimicrobial properties. Keep in mind that these benefits are based on lab tests that need further study.

To use: There are currently no dental gels based on copaiba oil. With the lack of any conclusive research, we will strongly advise seeking medical opinion before using the oil for dental applications.

Where to Buy Copaiba Essential oil?

As a general rule, it is best to buy essential oils from a trusted source. Always buy copaiba essential oil which is all-natural, derived from the copaiba oleoresin, and does not have any chemicals mixed in it. Read the label carefully to ensure that there are no additives. You can buy it from trusted aromatherapy stores. You can also quite easily get it online. But do check the manufacturer and label before placing your order.

Blending: It blends well with other essential oils such as jasmine, vanilla, sandalwood, frankincense, and ylang-ylang oils.

Word of Caution: As mentioned earlier, excessive use of this oil can lead to stomach problems. But generally, this essential oil is considered safe. It may be rare, but if you’re willing to put in the effort to acquire it, copaiba essential oil can be a very powerful weapon in your ongoing journey towards great health.

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About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, publisher and photographer with English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana (USA). He co-founded the literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and now serves as the Content Director for Stain’d Arts, a non-profit based in Denver, Colorado. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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