This section of the book is from "The Complete Herbalist" by Dr. O. Phelps Brown. Also available from Amazon: The Complete Herbalist: The People Their Own Physicians By The Use Of Nature's Remedies.
MEDICINAL PART. The balsamic exudation.
Description. -- A full botanical description of this tree has not yet been given, but it is supposed that it is similar to the Balsam of Peru tree, differing only in the leaflets, which in this tree are thin, membranouss, obovate, taper-pointed; the terminal ones larger than the others.
History. -- It is a tree which grows throughout the forests of South America, especially on the elevated parts near Carthagena, Tolu, and in the Magdalena provinces of Columbia. The balsam is obtained by making incisions into the tree, and which flows into wax vessels. It is exported from Carthagena in tin, earthen, and other vessels. It has a pale, yellowish-red or brown color, solid and brittle, an agreeable vanilla-like odor, and a sweetish aromatic taste. It is soluble in alcohol, ether, and essential oils.
Properties and Uses. -- It is, like Balsam of Peru, a stimulant, tonic, and expectorant, and cannot be equalled for its curative effects in cases sof consumption, catarrh, bronchitis, asthma, and all inflammatory, ulcerated, spasmodic, or other morbid conditions of the respiratory organs and their adjuncts. The balsam dissolved in ether, and the vapor therefrom inhaled, is reported beneficial in coughs and bronchial affections of long standing, and I have no doubt it is so, as its virtues in such complaints are very wonderful.