Updated: Jul 12, 2019
Copaiba Latin Name:
Main Areas Of Distribution:
Throughout South America but especially Brazil.
Extraction Method: Steam distillation of resin
Blends well with: Lemon, orange, lime, lavender, geranium, basil, palmarosa, pines, firs, myrrh, sandalwood and benzoin
Blending Note: Middle to Top
Aromatic Scent: Rich, smokey, honeyed and spicy
Shelf life: 6-8 years
Cautions: Not suitable for use during first 16 weeks of pregnancy.
Maximum Dilution: 3% although when tested at 8% did not cause skin sensitivity in trial participants. (Tisserand and Young 2013)
Copaiba Essential Oil Side Effects:
Nausea when taken in large amounts internally.
This is a little video I made about the background of Copaiba medicine.
Much of the information about how we use copaiba essential oil comes from indigenous South American medicine.
(Just for fun, I couldn't resist showing you the Rio Solimoes in Brazil)
Copaiba Essential Oil Benefits
So, why has the world gone mad for copaiba oil?
The resurgence of interest in this traditional South American medicine has come about after the discovery of a previously unrecognised endocrine system in the human body called the endocannabinoids system.
Named after the plant that help to uncover it, cannabis, the endocannabinoids system is made up primarily of 2 types of receptors. (There are undoubtedly more however they have not yet been fully elucidated).
Our understanding of the endocannabinoids system is still in its infancy, but we understand that the CB1 receptor is found predominantly in the brain and it modulates emotion, pain, nausea, cognition, memory, appetite and mood.
The CB2 receptor exists primarily in the periphery on blood and lymphatic tissues and are spread out on the surfaces of cells throughout the body
It has been discovered that apart from various components within the cannabis plant, there are also other natural products that will bind with both CB1 and CB2 receptors.
Copaiba essential oil is one of the highest sources of a chemical constituent called beta caryophyllene that has been identified to have a weak binding affinity with the CB2 receptor.
The functions of the CB2 receptor are:
So, what does that mean?
The endocannabinoids system works like a set of gears for other endocrine systems in the body and for neurotransmission.
In layman’s terms, that means it has the power to modulate how well our body fights infection, our pain thresholds and also has the capacity to increase or reduce levels of inflammation.
If the endocannabinoids system is unsupported, this means inflammation, in particular, can go off the scale. Since inflammation has now been proven to be influential in diseases stretching from arthritis right up to schizophrenia, diabetes, and cancer, we can see can see how this would be a catastrophe for the body if this happens. Being able to influence it via a natural medium is an incredibly powerful thing.
Does this mean we have found an answer to disease?
What if I’m honest, if we look at the science of how much beta caryophyllene we would have to use to make fundamental changes to the molecular structure of the CB 2 receptor and to be able to make massive impacts….So,
It exhibits a weak binding affinity, and the amounts needed to make significant impacts are huge. (That being said, if we’re comparing it with CBD oil, which will be one of the main questions people want to know, cannabidiol also exhibits a weak binding affinity to CB 2 receptor and myriad people will tell you that the effects that they experience from CBD on pain are indeed huge.)
Despite the binding affinity being small, Copaiba essential oil does make a difference.
It will reduce pain, it will reduce inflammation and also works on the psychological aspects of the disease, the ramifications of which should not be underestimated.
I often get asked to compare copaiba oil vs cbd, so I thought you might find this video interesting.
Much of the medicine of Copaiba comes from other aspects of the chemistry outside of this caryophyllene molecules but also its vibrational healing on our general demeanour and outlook on life. One of course, can’t overlook the impact that adding other essential oils to the blend will have too.
I'd encourage you to remember that while beta caryophyllene makes up a very large percentage of copaiba essential oil there are hundreds of other components also doing other jobs and providing stability to the medicine, so we mustn’t make the mistake of reducing this to just one significant action.
It’s capable of so much more.
Before we move on, it’s very interesting to think about the role beta caryophyllene originally plays in a plant.
After all, it’s easy to forget these secondary metabolites have been manufactured by the organism for a reason.
In some ways, they could be considered to be the language of the plant. They constitute many of their best communication and survival strategies.
If we can find ways to comprehend this better then it might help us to understand not only our place in its healing dimension but also a kind of connectedness and familiarity with the plant.
This is one of my beloved areas of research so I made you a little video that you may find interesting.
Copaiba Essential Oil Recipes
How to Use Copaiba for Pain
If I was to use Copaiba essential oil to reduce pain, I would simply blend it with analgesic oils such as:
lavender, chamomile, ginger, black pepper, rose, Clary Sage… Depending on where the particular pain may derive from.
Some examples of how this might work are:
Copaiba for relief from Teething
Now, I confess I discovered copaiba way after my children had cut all of their teeth, so I can’t really attest to this recipe with any real conviction. I’ll admit that I never found any essential oil that was as good as homeopathic chamomilla granules available from the chemist.
That being said, certainly give this one a chance because it does have incredibly powerful painkilling oils in it and also should calm baby’s disposition too.
How to use Copaiba for a Sore throat
Traditional usage would be to place a few grains of the resin into some warm water and gargle it. When using essential oil, there are several methods of application
Blend into a massage oil with other antibacterial essential oils such as tea tree, manuka or kanuka, then perhaps add your own painkilling oils such as lavender or chamomile.
Since essential oils absorbed through the skin into the bloodstream, doesn’t really matter where you rub it, however I like to rub it on my wrist on the inside where i can see lots of blue
blood supply, and also over my throat area for speedy access offending microbes.
You might also like to emulate the traditional usage by adding 3 drops of Copaiba essential oil into a pint of lukewarm water and then gargle and spit.
Because I am a wuss, and struggle to cope with any level of pain, I cheat by adding an aspirin to the blend and gargle it every 20 minutes.
How To Use Copaiba Essential Oil To Treat Inflammation
After the explanation of the CB 2 receptor, this should be fairly self-explanatory but let’s do a couple of examples.
How about oedema, or edema to my US compatriots….swelling.
(Tomato, to Mato, potato, pot-ar-toe… Let’s call the whole thing off!)
Whilst I have not added it into the recipes, I would undoubtedly almost always add High CBD Hemp oil which of course, is explained at length in my cannabis book.
Copaiba Boosts Immunity
Boring now…again CB2 receptor, amongst other mechanisms.
Mega Boost Copaiba Immunity Massage Oil For Times Of Illness
How To Use Copaiba Essential Oil For
Using Copaiba Essential Oil For Genitourinary Problems
Using Copaiba Essential Oil For Skin Care
Rather than being a cosmetic essential oil, Copaiba is best used for skin healing. So, we can think of it for adding to treatments for eczema, dermatitis, psoriasis and general cuts and abrasions.
However, if you did want to use it as a toner a treatment for greasy skin, it has a lovely astringent, cleansing and tightening action. Since it has a styptic action (stops bleeding)
I would also add it to blends for broken capillaries.
Copaiba Essential Oil and The Subtle Bodies
Emotionally and spiritually, I would use Copaiba essential oil for:
Dispelling negative thoughts and kind of mothering you into a better place.
Keeping you fixed on your correct spiritual path.
In both these situations I tend to use copaiba for meditation or add a drop or 2 onto the palm of my hand and inhale.
Contrary to what everybody thinks, I don’t sit in meditation all the time, I’m not a calm person who can concentrate for very long and I certainly don’t easily tie myself to the desk!
In fact, when I come home from school in the morning after dropping off Dex, all I want to do is sit in the garden and look at the flowers. I suffer from the worst possible monkey brain. It jumps from one project to another and can find a million reasons why I should not doubt sit down and type.
Copaiba is very good at centring me and reminding me what I am here to do. It calms and motivates and is very clever at dispelling procrastination.
Energetically, it works on the first 3’s chakras, (the root, the sacral and the solar plexus chakras) and while you don’t feel your roots going down into the earth quite as strongly as vetiver drags you down, Copaiba has a very good way of filling your self-esteem and reminding you that this is your job and frankly, you’re good at it. It has a way of saying..
“Why would you not?”
So, unlike sweet basil who will properly and rudely kick your ass….
Copaiba reminds you this is your pathway and it’s silly to let things get in the way.
She’s gentle, thoughtful and considerate. She somehow speaks from within you rather than to you, which I find comforting and unusual.
She’s very good at identifying which psychological triggers are getting in your way.
Prior to discovering Copaiba, I used to use Sage oil to deal with people who were self sabotaging. But I found, that Copaifera is better at dissipating these hurdles. It’s gentler than Sage and seems to approach the inner child, compassionately acknowledging triggers they keep flagging up about insecurities, about survival, about not enough money, in fact anything preventing you from going after what you want…
They seem to have the light shined upon them and you can see them for the dusty destroyers they are.
Yes, but things are different now. I understand your wound. I understand you’re bleeding and suppurated, but that monster belongs to the past, and you’re allowing it to try to infect now.
Naturally, there is a lot about the CB2 receptor in my Cannabis book, and I find it interesting that there is a very clear connection between an upregulated CB2 receptor and autism.
(We can’t say it is causal, but it is always there)
And strangely when I think of the personality of Sweet Basil and people whom I know well who are on the spectrum, I can see the kind of bossy medicine she dishes out would be likely to always cause a melt down.
But the gentle demeanour, quiet and level whisperings of copaiba might more up their street. It’s careful, measured considerate and sensible so it works very well with sensitive people or those who walk the edge.
Where Sweet Basil motivates you with the fear of a sergeant major, Copaiba is much more a friendly cuddly nurse.
She’ll let you have a cry because she knows and understands you feel like shit, but then she’ll give you a squeeze and friendly nudge.
It’s time to move on, I know you can do it, and so do you.
I had originally tried to write a book about Copaiba because do think it’s fascinating, and I think is a lot of questions to be answered.
But from my point of view, I always want to find clear proof of ancient ritual uses and frankly, I gave up trying to disseminate and prove them with Copaiba!
There’s plenty of evidence to say that it formed part of the Mayan/ Aztec/Inca Copal incenses, but “part” is the appropriate word. There were so many different incenses and resins mixed into the smokes that rose from South American pyramids that we cannot possibly even try to discern what their function or language was.
However, I’ve never quite been able to get past the fascination that when the incense was burning in the rituals, there was blood sacrifice.
Captives from battles and wars would be sacrificed to the gods, if there hadn’t been any wars then the priests would order a “Battle of Flowers” where there would be games and the unsuccessful participants were then sacrificed to appease the gods.
Later, the priest took on the role of sacrifice by proxy and would cut himself on behalf of the people.
Always, blood sacrifice.
And, whenever I use Copaiba oil I have this real sense of it understanding wounds. That it heals them, but also that she understands the value of what it took and what it now represents in your life.
So perhaps, that’s why it deals so well with procrastination and getting you back on the path. Perhaps, it may have something to do with the fact that I couldn’t sit here and do what I do, or you couldn’t sit there and do what you do with the perfection you do, without the life experiences we’ve accrued upon the way.
And it’s interesting, because when I wrote the Helichrysum book I talked about the Wound That Does Not Heal, and how Helichrysum sees the investment of awful things that happened in your life, and the way that you can take those suppurating wounds forward and help to heal others who are quite frankly living in hell – whether that be PTSD, traumatic grief, even bankruptsy….
Now, helichrysum has nowhere near degree of beta caryophyllene in it as copaiba, but it does have relatively high amounts. So, I have to wonder, might that theme come from one solitary chemical constituent?
I’m sure we’ll never know and in some ways I actually don’t want to. It’d rather just experience the magic crackling in my hand.
Ruling Planet of Copaiba
As ever, I feel the need to be controversial here!
Many webpages list copaiba as being under Jupiter which would be reasonable, given that all Balsams are placed under the rulership of Jove.
However, Copaiba balsam isn't a balsam.
That’s a misnomer.
It’s an oleoresin.
So when you look at the rulership of Jupiter and you ask yourself….
Right, does it have connections about authority on a spiritual level?
Does it have connections with the liver on a physical level? Is it involved with metabolism, expansion and greed?
Then you would have to say: no.
There is nothing in the physical medicine that relates to Jupiter. It’s a pity really question, because then it would be a beautiful beneficent story about expansion and truth. But all of the usual clues about Jupiter rulership are missing.
I would be more inclined to place under the rulership of Venus.
Physical medicine of Venus is, of course, the heart and breasts, however it is also rules, hormones in general, the throat, kidneys and urinary disease.
If you want to know more about the medicine of Venus, there is tons to be found in my book about rose.
One last thing before I go, I thought you might like to see some of the "Side Effects" plates I spoke about in the video.
Presumably these came about after large doses of Copaiba resin for gonorrhoea or similar.
Overall, Copaiba is a very safe and easy oil to use. It has a multitude of uses and is an important oil in any aromatherapists' toolbox.
Comment below about how you use Copaiba.