Balsam of Peru

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Related to Balsam of Peru: balsam of tolu, Peruvian balsam

balsam of Peru

[′bȯl·səm əv pə′rü]

Balsam of Peru


a resin obtained from the bark of tropical American balsam trees of the genus Myroxylon. Balsam of Peru is a dark brown, thick, oily liquid with the aroma of vanilla. It acts as an acid in chemical reactions. It is insoluble in water but soluble in chloroform, acetic acid, and an alcohol-ether mixture. Its density varies between 1.14 and 1.16 g/cm3.

Balsam of Peru is composed mainly of esters of benzoic and cinnamic acid, resinols, and an admixture of vanillin. It is used in perfumery and pharmacy (as antiparasitic, antiseptic, and deodorant). A mixture containing synthetic esters of benzoic and cinnamic acid is often used instead of balsam of Peru.

References in periodicals archive ?
Allergens that may peak early include thiuram mix, carba mix, and balsam of Peru.
The results of patch testing were read at 48 and 96 hours; testing elicited positive reactions to balsam of Peru and to one of its components, cinnamic aldehyde (figure 2).
At follow-up, she was further counseled on the need to avoid fragrances because of their potential cross-reactivity with balsam of Peru.
For example, a pattern of perioral dermatitis may suggest an allergy to fragrances or balsam of Peru, whereas earlobe dermatitis in a young girl with pierced ears suggests a metal allergy.
Women who react to lactic acid are usually hypersensitive to other substances, he added, listing cause-and-effect relationships between capsaicin and pain, histamine and itching, harsh soaps or cleansers and tightness, and balsam of Peru and burning.