This section is from the book "Materia Medica Pharmacy, Pharmacology And Therapeutics", by W. Hale White. Also available from Amazon: Materia Medica Pharmacy, Pharmacology And Therapeutics..
A balsam obtained from Toluifera Pereirae (Royle) Baillon (nat. ord. Leguminosae). It is obtained from the bark after it has been beaten, scorched and removed.
Central America. Balsam of Peru is named from its place of export.
A liquid having a syrupy consistence, free from stringiness or stickiness, of a brownish-black color in bulk, reddish-brown and transparent in thin layers, of an agreeable vanilla-like, somewhat smoky odor, and a bitter taste, leaving a persistent after-taste. On exposure to air it does not become hard. Sp. gr., 1.135 to 1.150.
The chief constituents are - (1) A volatile oil. This is present in large quantities; it consists of Cinnamein (Benzylic Cinnamate), C9H7(C7H7)O2, about 60 per cent. (2) Cinnamic Acid, C9H8O2. (3) Resin, about 32 per cent., which on dry distillation yields Benzoic Acid, Hc7h5o2. Small quantities of (4) Benzylic Benzoate, C7H5(C7H7)O2, (5) Benzyl Alcohol, C7H8O, (6) Stilbene, C14H12, (7) Styrol, C8H8, and (8) Styracin or Cinnamyl Cinnamate, C9H7(C9H9)O2.
Fixed oils, resins, oleoresins and alcohol.
Dose, 10 to 30 m.; .60 to 2.00 c.c.
Like most substances containing a volatile oil, balsam of Peru is a disinfectant, and also a stimulant when rubbed into the skin or applied to raw surfaces. Formerly it was much used for these purposes, chiefly as an application to indolent sores and chronic eczema. As a stimulating dressing for sluggish granulations a 5 to 10 per cent. solution in castor oil is frequently employed. A mixture of balsam of Peru, 1; lard, 7; is very useful for sore nipples and cracked lips. It is not often employed at present except externally as antiparasitic for pediculi, scabies and ringworm. An ointment consisting of balsam of Peru, 20; olive oil, 50; petrolatum, 100; may be used. For scabies it should be applied in the way already described for sulphur ointment see p. 259; it is a more agreeable preparation.
Like most volatile oils balsam of Peru is carminative and stomachic, and after absorption is excreted by, and stimulates and disinfects the mucous membranes. For this reason it is used as an expectorant in chronic bronchitis. It is also excreted by the skin and the kidneys.