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..
Copaiba. - Synonyms. - Copaiva. Balsam of Copaiba. (This is not a true balsam because it does not contain cinnamic or benzoic acid). The oleo-resin of Copaiba Langsdorffii (Desfontaines) O. Kuntze, and of other species of Copaiba (nat. ord. Leguminosae).
Brazil, Venezuela and New Granada.
A transparent or translucent, more or less viscid liquid, of a pale yellow to brownish-yellow color, having a peculiar, aromatic odor, and a bitter acrid taste. Sp. gr., 0.940 to 0.990.
The chief constituents are - (1) The volatile oil, 48 to 85 per cent. (see below). (2) The Resin, 15 to 52 per cent. (see below), which exists dissolved in the oil. It consists of two Resins: (a) Copaivic Acid, C20H30O22, the chief constituent, a crystalline Resin, with a faint odor, a bitter taste, insoluble in water, easily soluble in absolute Alcohol and Ammonia; (b) a non-crystallizable, viscid Resin, 1 1/2 per cent.
Turpentine, detected by the smell on heating. Fixed oils; these leave a greasy ring round the resinous stain when heated on paper. Gurjun Balsam, which coagulates at 2700 F.; 132o C.; Copaiba does not.
Dose, 1/4 to 1 fl. dr.; 1. to 4. c.c.
Synonym. - Solidified Copaiba. Copaiba, 94; Magnesia, 6. By trituration with water, and heating.
Dose, 1/4 to 1 dr.; 1. to 4. gm.
A volatile oil distilled from Copaiba.
A colorless or pale yellowish liquid, having the characteristic odor of Copaiba, and an aromatic, bitterish and pungent taste. It is isomeric with Turpentine, C10H16. Sp. gr., 0.890 to 0.910.
In about 10 times its volume of Alcohol.
It consists chiefly of the hydrocarbon, Caryophyllene (see
Dose, 5 to 15 m.; .30 to 1.00 c.c. suspended in Mucilage of Acacia (1 1/2 fl. oz. 45. c.c. for every fl. oz. 30. c.c. of Oil of Copaiba) or yolk of egg. Cinnamon or Peppermint Water, with Tincture of Orange or Ginger, covers the taste. It may be dissolved in water with the aid of Liquor Potassae, with which it forms a soap, or it may be given in capsules.
The residue left after distilling off the volatile oil from Copaiba.
A yellowish or brownish-yellow, brittle resin, having a slight odor and taste of Copaiba.
In Alcohol, Ether, Chloroform, Carbon Disulphide, Benzol, or Amylic Alcohol.
Dose, 5 to 15 gr.; .30 to 1.00 gm.
Copaiba is a stimulant to the skin.
Gastro-intestinal tract. - It acts like other volatile oils. Small doses produce a feeling of warmth in the epigastrium; but with large doses its irritant effect leads to vomiting and diarrhoea. Its taste is unpleasant, and the eructations it may cause are very disagreeable.
Mucous membrane. - Here also it acts like other volatile oils. It is quickly absorbed, and then is excreted by all the mucous membranes, which it stimulates in its passage through them, increasing their vascularity and the amount of their secretion, which, if foul, is disinfected. Because of these actions it is a disinfectant expectorant, and a stimulating disinfectant to the whole of the genito-urinary tract. It imparts a powerful odor to the breath and mucous secretions. It is also excreted by the skin, and its irritant effect here is seen in the erythematous rash it often produces. Some, too, passes out by the milk.
Kidneys. - Copaiba has a more marked action on the kidneys than most substances containing volatile oils, and this is in great part due to the resin, which is particularly stimulating to the renal organs, and copaiba is therefore a useful diuretic. Large doses of it greatly irritate the kidney, as is shown by pain in the loins and blood and albumin in the urine. The oil and the resin are excreted in the urine, and the resin can be precipitated from it by nitric acid; but this precipitate is known not to be albumin by the fact that it is evenly distributed through the fluid and is dissolved by heat. It also leads to confusion when Trommer's test is employed to detect glucose. If the renal congestion is severe, the urine may be very scanty.