Peru balsam

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A dark brown oleoresin obtained from Myroxylon pereirae trees that are native to the coastlines of Central America. Peru balsam contains high amounts of cinnamic acid, benzoic acid and vanillin. It is used for perfumes and flavorings. Peru balsam has also been used as a dark brown glaze for paintings. Peru balsam is very similar to Tolu balsam.


Myroxylon balsamum, Balsam of Tolu, Kew 58028.TIF

Synonyms and Related Terms

Myroxylon pereirae; bálsamo de Perú (Esp.); baume du Pérou (Fr.); balsamo del Perù (It); Peruvian balsam; Indian balsam; Chinal oil; Black balsam; Honduras balsam; Surinam balsam


Skin contact may cause some allergies.

Physical and Chemical Properties

Soluble in ethanol, chloroform, ether, glacial acetic acid. Insoluble in water.

Density 1.150-1.170 g/ml
Refractive Index 1.593

Resources and Citations

  • R.White "Brown and Black Organic Glazes, Pigments and Paints" National Gallery Technical Bulletin, 10:58-71, 1986.
  • Richard S. Lewis, Hawley's Condensed Chemical Dictionary, Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York, 10th ed., 1993
  • The Merck Index, Martha Windholz (ed.), Merck Research Labs, Rahway NJ, 10th edition, 1983 Comment: entry 977
  • CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics, Robert Weast (ed.), CRC Press, Boca Raton, Florida, v. 61, 1980 Comment: ref. index=1.593

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