Day 3: Balsam Peru

While writing yesterday’s post on ginger root, I found myself mentioning phenols. If you haven’t read that post yet, no worries because I’m about to go into a little bit further regarding balsam peru. In the meantime, have you watched the video on this oil?

Why phenols? Because quite a few essential oils contain phenolic compounds with balsam peru being one of them. What’s more, this oil typically contains around 80% cinnamic acid which is a phenylpropane derivative making it exceptionally antiseptic, anti-infectious and immune tonifying. At the same time, this constituent is quite interesting as it’s synthesized in plants from phenylalanine. And then there’s the fact that cinnamic acid is the precursor for producing the sweetener aspartame which essentially reverses the enzymatic process re-establish phenylalanine … which makes me wonder…

If we can do this in a lab, imagine the potential for the human body? Entertain the idea for a moment. The enzyme used is found primarily in plants as well as some bacteria, fungi and yeast. Given the fact that we are host to scores of yeast, fungi and bacteria as well as consume plants in one way or another, the potential for producing traces phenylamine while using oils containing cinnamic acid is possible. That said, the studies on this particular constituent are only getting started. In fact, it was only recognized as a flavoring back in 1995. It wasn’t until the early 2000’s that science chose to explore further possibilities.

Since then, cinnamic acid has been identified for effects on the hormonal system. Well, that’s how I ‘call’ it. That said, research has noted changes with pre-diabetic and diabetic patients as well as an interruption of melanoma cell development which leads me to remark about its influence on both the endocrine and immune systems.

Additional components include:

  1. benzyl benzoate - commonly sold individually for the treatment of scabies; offers vasodilating and spasmolytic benefits and also used in some testosterone-replacement meds (sounds like hormonal support to me since hormones regulate the contraction and relaxation of blood vessels and then there’s the testosterone replacement ….)

  2. benzyl cinnamate - currently recognized as a flavor and fragrance; however, it is also a phenylpropane derivative which means there are antiseptic and immune influences as well with this one

  3. nerolidol ~ a phenol | cannabinoid making it antimicrobial, antifungal (basically the same thing), as well as an antioxidant being used as a flavor and fragrance in both personal care as well as household cleaners. At the same time, it is being recognized for its ability to increase skin permeability for use with transdermal meds.

Now that I’ve shared all of this, let’s get real ….

Balsam peru, for all its amazing qualities, is NOT recommended for everyone.

  1. it’s essentially 100% phenol or a derivative making it highly acidic and irritating to the skin when applied directly

  2. it’s an immune stimulant .. allow me to clarify .. if, or should I say when, you look this oil up, you will see plenty of information out there asserting that balsam peru is an ‘allergen’. My professional experience says otherwise. This isn’t to say there aren't sensitivity issues .. there are! In fact, every individual constituent comes with a MSDS warning; however, that doesn’t make it an allergen. There are no proteins in it to stimulate the production of antibodies. That said, it is an immune stimulant which makes this an unwise choice for anyone living with an autoimmune disorder. I realize there are studies around diabetes and cancer; yet, these were done with a single constituent … cinnamic acid. The combination of components makes this mighty powerful and only to be used …. once in a blue moon at best; as in acute cases of lice, scabies or difficult to heal wounds.

  3. due to the high content of benzyl and cinnamic acid which are hydrolyzed into benzoic acid which conflicts quite a few medications, making balsam peru contraindicated for a number of people

  4. not recommended for anyone taking medications for asthma or testosterone replacement … this is called ‘duplicating the mechanism of action’ which leads to further instability in the body

On the other hand, if you’re not taking medications and not diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder .. you still want to use caution given the state of our environment.

We are surrounded by phenols and other chemicals that act like estrogen in the body which lead to issues with nitric oxide synthase as well as immune instability. Using essential oils high in phenols furthers the instability; hence, limiting this one to an ‘as needed’ basis.

I promise you, I did not cover balsam peru like this in the YouTube video .. but that doesn’t mean you won’t glean some insight when you check it out. Not to mention, when you sign up for my email list, you receive a free dilution chart PLUS an hour long video on medications and essential oils.