We have before us a plant that concentrates all its resources on its trunk. We talk about Amyris balsamifera, a plant used to obtain varnishes and with medicinal properties, which we can find in countries as far away as Cuba, Jamaica or India.
Common names used
Only from the scientific point of view is mentioned Amyris balsamifera, but it is interesting because then we do not fall into the identification error.
Many times, it is called different plants, even from different families. Therefore, it must always be accompanied by the scientific name.
- Jamaican Rosewood
- Cuaba de monte
- Oak stick
- White cuaba
Agronomic characteristics of Amyris balsamifera
Amyris balsamifera belongs to the plant family Rutaceae which includes 1600 species spread over 160 genera.
It forms a very odorous shrub that rarely exceeds 2 meters in height, although there have been cases.
In flowering, it has small white and grouped flowers. It is not very striking from the ornamental point of view but for its active components as a medicinal plant.
In fact, its potential is not found in the leaves but in the trunk, where a resinous oil rich in phytochemicals can be extracted.
Its aroma is very similar to that emitted by the plant sandalwood (Santalum album) and are often confused. But as you can see, they have no relationship at all, even from families. This distinction was made in 1886, by Kirkby and Holmes, who discovered the small differences between the two plants.
- Triterpenes (α- and β-amyrin)
Looking at the chemistry of the oil, we see that it contains up to 70% alcohols and about 20% sesquiterpenes. The high content of alcohol and sesquiterpene would certainly contribute to the sedative, soothing, softening and anti-inflammatory properties of the oil.
- Skin rashes
- Muscle cramps
- Digestive cramps
- Rejuvenating effect
- Tonic and emollient
Amyris balsamifera it is also considered to have a positive action on the immune system, although it has not been scientifically proven.
Practically, all the medicinal uses they have are for external use, and normally we can find it based on oils, which can go alone or mixed.
You can even find some perfumes that contain the active ingredients of Amyris.
The aroma that the plant gives off, together with a moisturizing massage, has a relaxing effect on the limbic system (emotional center of the brain).
Likewise, the essential oils contained in this plant are a well-known sleep aid for people struggling with insomnia and restless sleep.
Effective insect repellent
Like other aromatic plants, such as lavender, rosemary, citronella, etc., they are used to repel insects, Amyris balsamifera it also possesses this potential.
Mosquitoes, and biting flies find the aroma extremely unpleasant, so when this oil is included in candles, potpourri, diffusers or homemade insect repellents, it can protect you from more than one bite, as well as from the potential diseases that those mosquitoes can transmit (depending on which countries)
Improves breathing capacity
The anti-inflammatory nature of this oil can also help soothe the airways and eliminate sore throats, while also reducing congestion, phlegm, and mucus.
Essential oils valerianol and the three types of eudesmol of Amyris balsamifera help reduce oxidative stress in the body, which can cause mutations in healthy cells and promote the onset of chronic diseases.
The antioxidants are also great for skin health, as they can not only prevent inflammation and irritation, but also wrinkles and signs of premature aging.
This can add elasticity to your skin, reducing the appearance of wrinkles and maintaining hydrated and shiny skin.
Ingredients to obtain a good balsamic oil
Amyris balsamifera it can be mixed with other medicinal plants to make balsamic oils. Those that we apply in the form of massage on the skin to improve the dermis or relax muscles and joints.
A perfect blend of these oils would consist in joining the properties of Amyris balsamifera to 40% along with lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) 40% and bergamot (Citrus × bergamia) to 20%.
Depending on the aromatic result, you can play to introduce more of one or the other or replace it with other extracts, such as rosemary oil.
Not known serious contraindications, but care must be taken as with all oils.
Amiris essential oil may cause skin irritation, especially in people with sensitive skin. Apply a small amount to a patch of skin and wait 2-3 hours for any reactions before using it on a larger scale.