Wildly grows from Central America to Peru, mainly in the Republic of San Salvador (“Balsam Coast” – a narrow coastal strip of the Pacific Ocean). Cultivated in the West Indian Islands, also in India, on about. Java and Sri Lanka.
Tropical evergreen tree up to 20 m tall with pinnate leaves; flowers irregular, whitish, in racemes; the fruit is a bean.
Obtaining balsam begins with trees of 10-20 years of age. Normally, there are no secretory passages, the balsam is produced as a pathological product as a result of damage to trees. First, the selected place on the tree is beaten with a wooden mallet so that the bark is soaked and begins to partially lag behind. Damaged areas are tied with pieces of cloth. After 8 days, the pieces of fabric with the balm soaked into them are removed and the damaged areas are burned with a torch, after which the balm flows out more abundantly; pieces of cloth are tied again and, as soon as they are saturated with balm, they are changed. The upper layer of the bark traditionally falls off, and pieces of tissue continue to be changed in the affected area. The fabric with the balm enclosed in it is boiled in water, and the balm, being heavier than water (relative density 1.145-1.158), sinks to the bottom. Pieces of fallen bark are also placed in the cauldron, from which balm is also boiled. The balm collected after settling is poured into vessels.
Balm – Vakatit – is a thick dark brown, transparent liquid in thin layers with a strong, pleasant smell reminiscent of vanilla; in air does not change and does not dry out. The balm is insoluble in water, but gives it an acidic reaction. Slightly soluble in ether, gasoline, fatty and essential oils, well – in absolute alcohol, chloroform and acetic acid.
The most valuable is the colorless liquid part of the resin – cinnamein (56-64%), consisting of a mixture of benzyl ester of benzoic acid, benzyl ester of cinnamic acid and styracine – cinnamic ester of cinnamic acid. In addition, it contains free cinnamic acid (5-10%), vanillin, farnesol, peruviol (neroli dol) and indifferent dark dense resin (no more than 28%).
The resin consists of esters of cinnamic acid and peruresitannol.
The quality of the balm is determined by the content of cinnamein in it. The balm is applied externally as an antiseptic for non-healing wounds, ulcers, burns, skin diseases, coughs and bronchitis, and as an effective anti-scabies agent.
The plant contains balsams (oil-resins).
PLANTS CONTAINING RESINS AND BALMS
Like essential oils, resins are complex mixtures of various organic compounds. In plants, they are often present simultaneously with essential oils, but may be accompanied by substances from other groups of natural compounds – gums, tannins, sterols, sometimes rubber.
According to the primary composition, there are three main groups of natural resins:
– resins (actually) – Rsina;
– oil-resin, or balms, – Olea-resina, or Balsama. These are liquid resins, which are natural solutions of resins in their own essential oil;
– gum resins – Gummi-resina. These are liquid (in living plants) mixtures of gums and resins dissolved in essential oil (more precisely, Cummi-olea-resina).
The resins themselves, freed from accompanying substances, like the components of essential oils, are also terpenoids, but more complex, belonging mainly to the class of diterpenes (C 20 H 32 ).
Resin hydrocarbons (for example, pimaradiene), their oxygen derivatives, resinol or resin acids (for example, abietic and pimaric acids) and resinol or resin alcohols (for example, cafestol) are distinguished among resin diterpenes.
Among the resinols, rezitannols or tannols, which have the properties of tannins, are distinguished into a special group. Resinols can form esters.
The constituent substances of resins can be triterpene acids and alcohols – derivatives of a- and b-amirin (for example, mastic tree), lignans (for example, guaiac resin), etc.