Oleum Balsami Copaivae. - Copaivabalsamol. - Essence de Baume de Copahu.

Origin. Copaiba balsam, known in Europe since the beginning of the 16. century, is yielded by a number of species of Copaifera (family Leguminosae) which are indigenous to the territory of the Amazon and its tributaries as far north as Guayana, Venezuela and Columbia. The principal balsam trees are Copaifera officinalis, L, C. guyanensis, Desf., C. coriacea, Mart., C. Langsdorffii, Desf., C confertiflora, Benth., C oblongi-folia, Mart., and C rigida, Benth. The Bolivian balsam is derived from Copaiba paupera, Herzog1). In order to obtain the balsam a cavity is cut into the trunk with the aid of an axe, or holes are drilled to the center of the trunk with a two inch bit and the balsam collected with the aid of tin tubes1). Occasionally the trees are so rich in balsam that the resin ducts burst of their own accord and then the balsam exudes from the longitudinal cleavages. As much as 30 1. or more of balsam are at times obtained from a single tree2).

Commercially, copaiba balsam is differentiated according to the ports of export. Of these the Maracaibo balsam (derived principally from Copaifera officinalis) and the Para balsam are the most important. The latter is rather limpid and since it yields the largest amount of oil, up to about 85 p. c, is preferred for the distillation of the oil. Maracaibo balsam has a thicker consistence and yields from 35 to 58 p.c. of oil. The following yields1) have been obtained from other commercial varieties; Angostura (Brazil) 52 to 55 p.c, Bahia (Brazil) 44 to 62 p. c, Maranham or Maranhao (Brazil) 21 to 56 p. c, Maturin (Venezuela) 41 to 55 p.c, Cartagena (Columbia) 40 to 64 p.c, Bolivia 23 p. c, Surinam 41 to 12 p. c.

1) Schweiz. Wochenschr. f. Chem. u. Pharm. 47 (1909), 373. 2) Th. Peckolt, Untersuchung der Copaifera Langsdorffii, Desf., Pharm. Rundsch. (New York) 10 (1892), 234.

Properties. Oil of copaiva balsam is a colorless, yellowish or blueish liquid with the characteristic pepper-like odor of the balsam and a bitter, grating and persistent taste. It is mostly soluble in an equal volume of absolute alcohol.

The properties of the oils of the several commercial varieties of balsam vary considerably. This is particularly true of the optical rotation. The data recorded in the following compilation are limit values. However, the observations are not numerous, hence the limits may have to be changed as a wider range of materials is included.

Oil from Para Balsam. d15o 0,886 to 0,910; aD - 7 to - 33°; nD20o1,493 to 1,502; A. V. 0 to 1,9; E. V. 0 to 4 (in one instance 13); soluble in 5 to 6 vol. of 95 p.c alcohol.

Oil from Maracaibo Balsam. 15o0,900 to 0,905; aD - 2°30' to - 12°; nD20o about 1,498; A. V. 0,9 to 1,0; E. V. 1 to 1,6; soluble in 5 to 6 vol. of 95 p.c. alcohol.

Oil from Bahia Balsam. d15o0,888 to 0,909; aD - 8 to - 28°; nD20o1,494 to 1,497; A. V. 0,5 to 7,9; E. V. to 4 (in one instance 14,9); soluble in 5 to 10 vol. of 95 p.c alcohol.

1) Partly observations by Schimmel & Co. and by Evans Sons Lescher & Webb Ltd. Comp. Report of Schimmel & Co. April 1906, 24; April 1908, 36; April 1909, 41; April 1910, 147; April 1911, 13.6. See also E. Prael, Arch. der Pharm. 223 (1885), 740.

Oil from Maranham Balsam. d15o96 to 0,905; aD - 1°30' to - 22°.

Oil from Cartagena Balsam. d15o894 to 0,910; aD - 2°30' to - 23°.

Oil from Maturin Balsam. (4 investigations.) d15o899 to 0,904; aD - 7° 30' to -10° 10'; nD20o,497 to 1,500; A.V. 0 to 0,6; E. V. 0,9 to 3,6; soluble in 5 to 6 vol. of 95 p.c. alcohol.

Oil from Angostura Balsam. (1 investigation.) d16o,9161; aD - 2°20'; nD20o,50169; A.V. 10,9; E. V. 0; soluble in 5,5 vol. .of 95 p.c. alcohol.

Oil of Balsam from British Guayana. (1 investigation.)1) d 0,924; aD - 9°. Oil content of the balsam determined by evaporation at 100°, 52,1 p.c.

Oil of Balsam from Dutch Guayana. (Surinam, from Copaifera guayanensis.)2) d15o903 to 0,906; aD - 7°30' to - 10°30'; A.V. 0; E.V.6,7; acetyl value 28,4 s).

Oil from Bolivian Balsam. (1 investigation.)*) d15o0,916; aD + 18°; nD20o1,5048; A.V. 1,07; S. V. (cold) 1,6; soluble in 9 vol. of 95 p.c. alcohol.

Composition. R. Blanchet5), also E. Soubeiran and H. Capi-taine6) obtained a solid chlorhydrate upon passing hydrogen chloride into the oil. In one instance its melting point was found at 77°, in another at 54°. The analyses agreed with the formula (C10H162HCl)X Later investigators failed to obtain a solid chlorhydrate from either Para or Maracaibo oil7). When oxidizing both oils with nitric acid, neither L. Posselt1) nor E. G. Strauss2) obtained results worth mentioning. S. Levy and P. Englander3) were more successful when they oxidized the Para balsam oil with potassium dichromate and sulphuric acid. They obtained a crystalline acid that melted at 140°, which further investigation revealed to be identical with asymmetric dimethyl succinic acid C6H10O4. Inasmuch as only the small yield of 11/2 p. c. of the oil used was obtained, it appears doubtful whether the acid owes its formation to the principal constituent of the oil or to some minor constituent.

1)E. W. Bell, Pharmaceutical Journ. 65 (1900), 98.

2) J. F. Pool, Jahresb d. Pharm. 1897, 74.

3) L. van Itallie and C. H. Nieuwland, Arch, der Pharm. 242 (1904), 539; 244 (1906), 161.

4) C. Hartwich, Schweiz. Wochenschr. f. Chem. u. Pharm. 47 (1909), 373.

5) Liebig's Annalen 7 (1833), 156. 6)Ibidem 34 (1840), 321.

7) Brix, Monatsh. f. Chem. 2 (1882), 507. - J. C. Umney, Pharmaceutical .Journ. III. 24 (1893), 215.

Upon oxidation of Maracaibo balsam, Brix obtained small amounts of terephthalic acid. When distilling absolutely dry Maracaibo oil over sodium he obtained a blue distillate the composition of which corresponded with the formula C20H32 + H20.