This section is from the book "An Experimental History Of The Materia Medica", by William Lewis.
Balsamum Tolutanum Pharm. Lond. & Edinb. Balsam of Tolu: a resinous juice; flowing from incisions made in the trunk of a tree said to resemble the pine, (Teluifera Balsa-mum Lin.) growing in the province of Tolu in the Spanish West Indies(b), from whence the balsam is brought to us in little gourd shells. It is of a yellowish brown colour inclining to red, in consistence usually thick and tenacious: by age it grows hard and brittle, without suffering any great loss of its odoriferous parts.
This balsam has an extremely fragrant smell, somewhat resembling that of lemons; and an agreeable, warm, sweetish taste, very slightly pungent, and not accompanied, like that of most of the other balsams, with any nauseous relish. It possesses the same general virtues with those of Peru and copaiba, differing only in being milder, less hot or irritating, and more grateful to the stomach as well as the palate.
(a) Bartholin, Diss. de theriaca, ii. 26.
(by Monardes, apud Clusium, exoticorum, lib. x.
Boiled in water for two or three hours, in a circulatory vessel, or in a matrass with a very long neck, or having a long tube inserted into its mouth, so as to prevent evaporation, it communicates to the liquor great part of its fragrance: eight ounces of the balsam give a strong impregnation to three pints of water: the decoction strained off from the undissolved resin, forms, with a proper quantity of sugar, an elegant balsamic syrup. The balsam dissolves totally in rectified spirit of wine, and in this form may be mixed in substance with syrups, so as to impregnate a much larger quantity of them with its fine flavour: forty-five grains of the balsam, dissolved in an ounce of pure spirit, are sufficient for two pounds of a simple flavourless syrup made from sugar and water: the solution is to be stirred gradually into the syrup just warm from the fire, and the mixture kept in the gentle heat of a water bath till the spirit has exhaled. This balsam may likewise be dissolved in water, into a milky liquor, by trituration with gums or mucilages. It unites readily with distilled oils, more difficultly, with expressed oils and with fats.
In distillation with water, it impregnates the liquor strongly with its fragrance; and this, perhaps, is the most advantageous method of obtaining its simple odoriferous matter in the form of a watery solution: if the quantity of balsam, sub-mitted to the distillation, be large, a small proportion of a very fragrant essential oil may be collected. Distilled in a retort, without addition, it yields a pale and a dark coloured em-pyreumatic oil, and sometimes a small quantity of a kind of saline matter, of the same nature with flowers of benzoine.
Syrup. tolu-tanus Ph. Lond.
Tinct. bal-sam. tolut. Ph. Lond.
Tinct. tolu-tana Ph. Ed.
Syrup. balsamic. Ph. Ed.