Oleum Balsami peruviani. - Perubalsamol. - Essence de Baume de Perou.

Origin. Peru balsam, which is used extensively in pharmacy and perfumery, is obtained from artificial wounds of a tree which, according to the recent investigations of H. Harms4), is My-roxylon Balsamum var. B. Pereirae (Royle), Baill.

The balsam is obtained in the following manner5). The gray bark, full of ridges, is loosened near the ground. After several days some balsam will have secreted which is absorbed by rags laid on the wound. By means of the flame of a torch the wound is scorched, with the result that in the course of the next eight days considerable balsam will be secreted. This is collected by means of fresh rags. Later the burnt surface is irritated by means of incisions and scratches. When the secretion has again diminished, the surface is again scorched by means of a torch. After the exudation has ceased altogether, the bark is removed and comminuted. Like the rags it is boiled with water to remove any adhering balsam.

1) Deville, Annal. de Chim. et Phys. III. 3 (1841), 151; Liebig's Annalen 44 (1842), 304. - Kopp, Journ. de Pharm. et Chim. HI. 11 (1847), 425. - E. A. Scharling, Liebig's Annalen 97 (1856), 71.

2) Bed. Berichte 9 (1876), 830.

3) Chem. Ztg. 34 (1910), 857.

4) Notizbl. bot. Gart. Berlin-Dahlem 5 (1908), 95.

5) P. Preufi, Berichte d. deutsch. pharm. Ges. 10 (1900), 306.

Production and Properties. Inasmuch as the Peru balsam oil, also known as cinnamein, is very difficultly volatile with water vapor, it is separated by shaking out the balsam with carbon disulphide, ether, petroleum ether or similar solvents. It is a reddish-brown, somewhat viscid liquid: d16o1,102 to 1,121; slightly dextrogyrate, up to + 2°30'; nD20o1,573 to 1,579; A. V. 25 to 45; E. V. 200 to 250; soluble in 0,3 to 4 vol. or more of 90 p. c. alcohol. The diluted solution is frequently opalescent either immediately or after standing.

Composition. The bulk of Peru balsam oil consists of a mixture of the benzyl esters of cinnamic and benzoic acids. An oil examined by Tschirch and Trog1) consisted principally of benzyl benzoate, whereas in several oils examined by H. Thorns2) the cinnamic ester predominated. In one instance the mixture of acids, obtained upon cold saponification of the cinnamein with alcoholic potassium hydroxide, consisted of cinnamic and benzoic acids in the ratio of 40: 60. The acid mixture* also contained an acid melting at 79 to 80°, presumably a dihydrobenzoic acid. Combined with these acids, Thorns discovered an alcohol C13H220, which he named peruviol, the odor of which reminded of honey and narcissus. It had the following properties: b. p. 139 to 140° (7 mm.); d17,5o 0,886; aD + 13°.

By acting on peruviol with cinnamyl chloride, only a small amount of a crystalline ester with the odor of hyacinth resulted. When oxidized with alkaline permanganate in the cold, a mixture of lower fatty acids resulted.

E. Schmidt') demonstrated the presence of small amounts of vanillin. According to F. Elze4) farnesol is also present. Cinnamic alcohol, the presence of which was claimed by M. Delafontaine1), apparently does not occur in Peru balsam oil any more than does stilbene which J. Kachler2) claimed to have found8).

1) Arch, der Pharm. 232 (1894), 70.

2) Ober Cinnamein oder Perubalsam6l. Arch, der Pharm. 237 (1899), 271.

3) Tagebl. d. Naturforscher-Vers. StraBburg 1885, 377. 4) Chem. Ztg. 34 (1910), 857.