Scientific name: Myroxylon balsamum

Common names: Quina, Balsamo

Ayurvedic names:

Chinese names:

Bangladesh names:

Arabic names:    بلسم تولو (balsam tolu)

Rain Forest names:

Family: Leguminosae

Approximate number of species known:

Common parts used: Balsam, bark, twigs

Collection:  The resin is collected from the bark

Annual/Perennial: Perennial

Height: 40 m

Actions: Antiseptic, expectorant, pectoral, exanthematous, herpatic, tonic

Known Constituents: Up to 80% rein including cinnamic acid, benzoic acid, vanillin

Constituents Explained:


Often thought of as the typical U.S. Christmas tree.  

It is a sap-like substance that comes from the Balsam tree. 

Traditional Use:

Bark and the twigs are used for the urinary system. 

It is used for respiratory ailments and as a skin protectant.

Clinical Studies:

Heparin-induced thrombocytopenia syndrome is a serious, potentially life-threatening adverse reaction to the use of heparin anticoagulation therapy that can result in significant skin damage and organ morbidity. 

A case study design was used to describe the innovative use of a topical wound treatment (trypsin-balsam of Peru-castor oil ointment) on bullous lesions related to the effects of this syndrome. 

An elderly, morbidly obese woman was treated for 2 weeks with twice-daily applications of the product along with non-adherent oil emulsion dressings. Oozing decreased substantially within a few days and open blisters closed within 1 week. After 2 weeks of therapy, the bullous skin reaction was fully resolved with no recurrence. 

The results of this case study suggest that this topical product may have had a positive effect on the bullous lesions and should be considered for use in other similar significant integumentary reactions.

Skin graft donor sites are partial-thickness wounds that are commonly managed with gauze-type dressings. As such, they often cause more pain and difficulty in healing than the graft-recipient site. 

A retrospective study was conducted to ascertain the effects of using a castor oil-balsam of Peru-trypsin containing ointment on skin graft donor sites in 36 consecutive patients (16 female, 20 male). 

All donor sites were epithelialized after 11 days (range 6 to 11 days, mean 8 days) and no wound complications were observed. Given these healing results and product ease of use, this particular formulation has become the facilities’ current treatment of choice and further study is indicated and warranted.


Beitz JM. “Heparin-Induced Thrombocytopenia Syndrome Bullous Lesion Treated With Trypsin – Balsam Of Peru – Castor Oil Ointment: A Case Study.” 2005 June

Carson SN, Wiggins C, Overall K, Herbert J. “Using A Castor Oil – Balsam Of Peru – Trypsin Ointment To Assist In Healing Skin Graft Donor Sites.” 2003 June.