Copaiba, or Balsam of Copaiba, a liquid resinous juice, issuing from incisions made in the trunk of the Copaifera balsamum, L. a tree growing in the Spanish West Indies, of which there is only one species.
The juice is clear and transparent, of a whitish or pale yellowish colour, an agreeable smell, and a bitterish pungent taste. It is usually about the consistence of oil; when long kept, though retaining its transparency, it becomes nearly, as thick as honey ; and, unlike other resinous juices, does not acquire a solid state.
Genuine balsam of copaiba dissolves entirely in rectified spirits, especially if a little alkali be previously added to the liquor: the solution has a very fragrant smell. When distilled with water, it yields a large quantity of a limpid essen-tial oil: and in a strong heat, without addition, an oil of a blue cor lour.
With respe6t to the medicinal properties of this balsam, it is said to be both corroborant and detergent. It strengthens the nervous, system, tends to open the bowels, in large doses proves purgative, and promotes the secretion of urine. It has also been recommended in dysenteries, and in diseases of the breast and lungs. Fuller observes, that he lias known very dangerous coughs, cured by the use of this balsam alone; and though, being hot. and bitter, it produces good effects, even in hectic cases. We advise, however, great circumspection in its Use ; as it can be of sen ice only in particular circumstances. The dose of this medicine, should not exceed from 20 to 30 drops. It may be conveniently taken' when mixed with a thin syrup, or in the form of an emulsion, into winch it may be reduced, by triturating it with a thick mucilage of gum arabic, till both ingredients are well incorporated, and then gra-dually adding a proper quantity of water.