Copaiba essential oil comes from resin or sap produced by the 100-foot tall copaiba trees of Brazil. Mayans used this resin as medicine in the 16th century, but its use likely extends back even further. According to Brazilian history, copaiba was a folk remedy for treating sore throats, respiratory infections, bladder infections, sexually-transmitted diseases, inflammatory disorders, pain and wounds. Modern research on the effects of copaiba essential oil has revealed it has anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, anti-cancer, neuroprotective and analgesic properties.
There are so many ways to use copaiba oil as a natural remedy. Here are 8 amazing ways copaiba essential oil comes in handy:
1. Fights Pain and Inflammation
Studies show copaiba essential oil acts as a natural painkiller. It can reduce pain caused by wounds, eczema, bug bites and rashes, and it also works on arthritis pain. In a study on arthritic rats, copaiba oil reduced inflammation better than ibuprofen, which is commonly used to treat arthritis. It also protected against oxidative stress (a contributor to arthritis). Because it has no adverse effects, it’s a better alternative to ibuprofen, aspirin and other drugs for long-term use .
2. Beautifies Your Skin
One of the ways copaiba essential oil helps treat wounds is by increasing the production of collagen—the structural protein in skin that prevents sagging. Combining copaiba oil with a carrier oil like coconut oil at a 1:12 ratio will give you the anti-aging benefits of this oil. It will also give you softer skin and promote an even skin tone.
The astringent and antimicrobial properties in copaiba make it great for preventing and treating acne, shrinking pores and tightening your skin . Add 20 to 30 drops of copaiba oil to a near-full 4-oz bottle of witch hazel to create an all-natural homemade toner, and apply it daily after washing your face.
By encouraging the regeneration of new skin, copaiba oil diminishes the appearance of scars and stretch marks. It can even shrink moles and normalize their color.
3. Heals Wounds
With its bactericidal properties and ability to boost collagen synthesis and reduce swelling, copaiba essential oil helps treat wounds. Researchers have been looking for a way to kill an antibiotic-resistant bacterium called Staphylococcus aureus, or golden staph. A test tube study found that even at low concentrations, copaiba oil stopped the growth of golden staph .
4. Treats Eczema and Psoriasis
As pharmaceutical researchers struggle to find a cure for psoriasis and eczema, the solution may have existed all along. New research suggests that golden staph, the drug-resistant bacteria strain copaiba oil is shown to kill, may be responsible for eczema. In addition to relieving the pain and inflammation that comes with eczema, copaiba oil could even stop the bacteria causing it. Additionally, preliminary research shows copaiba resin improves all symptoms of psoriasis, including erythema, scaliness and skin thickness, and significantly reduces inflammation on the skin .
5. Improves Respiratory Illnesses
One of the traditional uses of copaiba was to treat bronchitis and other respiratory illnesses. Its expectorant and decongestant properties can help you expel phlegm and recover quicker. It also has antispasmodic effects that help relax the bronchial pathways and reduce unproductive coughing. To get these benefits, inhale copaiba using an essential oil diffuser or add a few drops to steaming hot water and inhale the vapor.
6. Protects Brain and Nerve Health
Copaiba essential oil has a sweet aroma with a spicy undertone. According to research, its aromatic molecules cross the blood-brain barrier when inhaled. Simply by smelling the scent of copaiba oil, you can deliver neuroprotective benefits to your brain. By providing antioxidant and anti-inflammatory support, copaiba oil helps protect against neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia, as well as the effects of stroke and brain or spinal cord trauma. In an interesting study on animals with motor cortex damage, just one dose of copaiba oil decreased the damage by 39 percent .
7. Combats Cancer
Microbes aren’t the only harmful substances copaiba can kill. It’s been shown to kill MCF-7 breast cancer cells better than the chemotherapy drug doxorubicin. It also improves the anticancer effects of the common chemotherapy drug paclitaxel as much as ten-fold . One study on prostate cancer cells isolated 3 different compounds in copaiba responsible for killing the prostate cancer cells. The exact mechanism of how copaiba oil’s active compounds kill cancer cells is still being studied by researchers .
Oxidative stress and inflammation are linked to a higher risk of cancer. By giving your cells antioxidant and anti-inflammatory support, copaiba oil may help with cancer prevention.
8. Boosts Oral Health
Copaiba oil has germicidal effects against Streptococcus mutans, which is a major bacterium known for causing cavities and tooth decay . Along with its analgesic anti-inflammatory benefits, this makes it helpful against toothaches. However, you want to be careful with the amount of copaiba oil you ingest. For tooth pain relief, it’s best to use copaiba oil as a mouthwash by mixing a few drops into water, swishing it around and spitting it out. This remedy also fights bad breath, soothes inflamed gums and helps prevent dental problems.
Copaiba Oil Tips and Safety Precautions
Copaiba oil is toxic when ingested, so be sure to only use it topically and as an aromatherapy oil. Amazingly, you can get all the benefits described in this article without the need to ingest it. The molecular compounds are highly concentrated and volatile, so you’re receiving them by smelling the aroma of copaiba oil. It can irritate skin, so mix it with a carrier oil like almond oil or jojoba oil before applying it.
Only use copaiba oil that comes from a high-quality source labeled as and therapeutic-grade. Some companies dilute the oils to lower the cost, so be sure your oil is 100 percent pure, with no added chemicals. This way, you can be sure you’re getting only the benefits of copaiba resin when you’re using it for a beauty boost or home remedy.
1. β-Caryophyllene, the major constituent of copaiba oil, reduces systemic inflammation and oxidative stress in arthritic rats. Journal of Cellular Biochemistry. 2018
2. Application of the Essential Oil from Copaiba (Copaifera langsdorffii Desf.) for Acne Vulgaris: a Double-Blind, Placebo Controlled Clinical Trial. Alternative Medicine Review. 2012
3. Antimicrobial Activity of Copaiba (Copaifera officinalis) and Pracaxi (Pentaclethra macroloba) Oils against Staphylococcus Aureus: Importance in Compounding for Wound Care. International Journal of Pharmaceutical Compounding. 2016
4. GC-MS profiling of the phytochemical constituents of the oleoresin from Copaifera langsdorffii Desf. and a preliminary in vivo evaluation of its antipsoriatic effect. International Journal of Pharmaceutics. 2013
5. Copaiba Oil-Resin Treatment Is Neuroprotective and Reduces Neutrophil Recruitment and Microglia Activation after Motor Cortex Excitotoxic Injury. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2012
6. Copaifera of the Neotropics: A Review of the Phytochemistry and Pharmacology. International Journal of Molecular Sciences. 2018
7. Anti-chaperone Activity and Cytotoxicity of Chemical Components in Copaiba Oil. Undergraduate Research Posters. 2013
8. Bacteriostatic effect of copaiba oil (Copaifera officinalis) against Streptococcus mutans. Brazilian Dental Journal. 2012