Toluifera Balsamum, Linne'. A balsam.

Habitat. S. America (Venezuela, Colombia, Peru); high rolling countries.

Syn. Balsamum Tolutanum, Balsam of Tolu, U.S.P. 1910, Tolu Balsam; Fr. Baume -- du Tole -- de Carthagene; Ger. Tolubalsam.

To-lu-if'e-ra. L. tolu + fero, ferre, to bear, producing tolu or an allied balsam -- i.e., it was brought first from Tolu, now Santiago de Tolu in U. S. Columbia.

Bal'sa-mum. L. fr. Gr...., for balsam, name of balsam tree -- i.e., from its characteristic secretion.


Evergreen tree 24 M. (80 degrees) high, often branchless for 15 M. (50 degrees) above ground, roundish spreading head; bark smooth, yellowish-brown, with numerous white lenticels; leaves having 4-7 leaflets; flowers upon smooth pedicels, dense racemes, 10-12.5 Cm. (4-5') long; calyx broadly tubular upon hispid pedicel, mouth 3-4-lobed; anthers versatile; fruit 10-12.5 Gm. (4-5') long. BALSAM (Tolu) is a yellowish-brown plastic solid, brittle when old, dried, or exposed to cold, transparent in thin layers; odor pleasant, aromatic vanilla-like; taste mild, aromatic; soluble in alcohol, chloroform, ether, solutions of fixed alkalies, usually leaving insoluble residue; nearly insoluble in water, petroleum benzin; alcoholic solution (1 in 20)-- acid. Tests: 1. Shake 1 Gm. with carbon disulphide (25), let stand 30 minutes, filter, evaporate 15 cc. to dryness, dissolve residue in glacial acetic acid, + few drops of sulphuric acid--not green; shake remainder of filtrate with equal volume of aqueous solution of copper acetate (1 in 1000) -- not green (abs.of rosin, copaiba). Dose, gr. 5-30 (.3-2 Gm.).


Turpentine -- blackish instead of cherry-red with sulphuric acid, soluble in carbon disulphide; sweet gum -- yields styracin to hot benzin, crystallizing when cold; storax, rosin, copaiba, saponifiable substances, various other resins. A factitious balsam has been found containing storax 63 p.c.

Commercial. -- Plant resembles Toluifera Pereirae in flowers and fruit but differs from it in having shorter leaves, smaller and fewer leaflets, recurved with non-puckered margin, non-hairy rachis and petiole, and less prominent glands. Balsam -- a physiological product in very young tissues, thereafter becoming pathological, possibly an antiseptic protective against depleting local injury -- is collected by making V-shaped incisions through the bark and hollowing out the wood below each to support a small calabash cup for catching the flow, there often occurring 20-30 of these from the ground upward (2.5-3 M. (8-10 degrees), the higher being cut from ladders or scaffolds. Bleeding continues, July-April, at the rate of filling the cups "each moon," they being emptied as occasion demands into rawhide flask-shaped bags (carried by donkeys) which when filled are sent to ports along the Magdalena and Orinoco Rivers where the balsam is transferred to cylindrical tins (10-25 pounds; 4.5-11.5 Kg.), formerly calabashes or baked earthen jars, and as such enters commerce via Carthagena.


Resin 75-80 p.c., Cinnamic and Benzoic acids 18-20 p.c., Volatile oil 1 p.c., Vanillin .05 p.c., benzyl cinnamate and benzyl benzoate--last two form an acid, aromatic oily liquid 7.5 p.c.

Resin, CHO. -- Chief constituent, consisting of tolu-resinotannol combined with cinnamic acid and small amount (1.5 p.c.) of benzoic acid; it is amorphous, black, brittle, similar to that of T. Pereirae, having a portion soluble in carbon disulphide, which upon evaporation yields a crystalline, nearly colorless residue about 25 p.c. of the balsam; a portion of resin sparingly, another readily soluble in alcohol.

Volatile Oil. -- Obtained by distilling with water; contains benzyl benzoate, benzyl cinnamate, phellandrene, farnesol, hardens by exposure, odor pleasant, sp. gr. 0.858.

Acids. -- Obtained by distillation -- benzoic, cinnamic, with benzylic ethers of both, the benzyl cinnamate predominating.  Trommsdorf found resin 88 p.c., volatile oil .2 p.c., cinnamic acid 12 p.c., this latter coming over as a heavy oil condensing into white crystalline mass.  Dry distillation gives the above acids and ethers, also styrol, phenol, toluol--this latter being found in coal tar, wood tar, organic compounds, balsams (Peru, etc.) and resins; it is a colorless, oily liquid, readily convertible into benzoic acid.


1. Tinctura Tolu.  Tincture of Tolu.  (Syn., Tr. Tolu, Tinctura Tolutana, Tolu Tincture; Fr. Teinture de Baume de Tolu; Ger. Tolubalsamtinktur.)


20 p.c.  Similar to Tinctura Cardamomi Composita, page 137; menstruum: alcohol.  Dose, mx-30 (.6-2 cc.).

Prep.: 1. Syrupus Tolu.  Syrup of Tolu.  (Syn., Syr. Tolu, Syrupus Tolutanus; Fr. Sirop (balsamique) -- de Baume de Tolu; Ger. Tolubalsamsirup.)


1 p.c.  Rub tincture of Tolu 5 cc. + magnesium carbonate 1 Gm. + sucrose 6, gradually add with trituration, water 43 cc., filter; dissolve in clear     filtrate, gently heating, sucrose 76 Gm., strain syrup (hot), add through strainer, water q.s. 100 cc.  Dose, 3j-4 (4-15 cc.).

Preps.: 1. Trochisci Ammonii Chlorii, q.s.  2. Emulsum Olei Morrhuae cum Vitello, N.F., 10 p.c.  3. Mistura Pectoralis, N F., q.s.

1.  Pilulae Phosphori, q.s.  2. Tinctura Benzoini Composita, 4 p.c.  3. Pilulae Ferri Iodidi, N.F., q.s.

Unoff. Preps.: Emulsion.  Inhalations (steam--acute laryngitis with aphonia).



Stimulant, expectorant, disinfectant, vulnerary, stomachic.


Much less decided than balsam of Peru, but similar; bronchitis, diphtheritic deposits, catarrh, coughs, flavoring, perfumery.


Water and aqueous preparations with the tincture.


Balsams, aromatic drugs, volatile oils, stimulant expectorants.

Allied Plants

1.  Myrox'ylon puncta'tum. -- The Quino-quino tree, and M. peruif'erum, both of Peru; yield balsams resembling official Peru and Tolu.