RESIN of BREU BRANCO - (Protium heptaphyllum, Burseraceae)
The properties of the oil-resin of breu-branco are similar to the oil-resin produced by species of Boswellia found in India and Africa. The oil-resin consists of a large number of monoterpenes, such as α-pyrene (10.5%), limonene (16.9%), α-phellandrene (16.7%) and terpinolene (28.5%). Due to its aromatic property, the oil-resin is widely used in perfumes and toiletries as well as in soap manufacturing. The limonene, present in the oil-resin of breu-branco, is a common component in fragrances and essences.
The oil-resin of breu-branco is used in popular medicine as an anti-inflammatory, analgesic, wound healing and stimulating agent, and to treat bronchitis, coughs and headaches. It is also used as incense in churches or as material for sealing boats.
This species is a tree that occurs in dry forests and is native to most of Brazil. The tree gives off an aromatic fragrance, has a dark red bark, and grows to 10 to 20 meters in height and can be 50 to 60 centimeters in diameter at the base. When a cut is made in the trunk the oil-resin exudes, which has a white-green color and a very pleasant, fragrant aroma. When the oil-resin comes in contact with air, it hardens. The oil-resin is collected from the trunk and the ground manually, all year round, but especially in the summer. After it is collected it must be dried in the shade and then stored in sacks made of fibers, such as jute.
Cuts on a tree to extract the oil-resin can be first made when the tree is 8 to 10 years old. To harvest the oil-resin of this species sustainably, it is recommended that each tree receives only 2 to 3 cuts per year. Yields vary according to the process of extraction. The process of hydrodistillation yields 11% resin whereas steam distillation yields approximately 2.5% resin.
BANDEIRA, P.N.; MACHADO, M.I.L.; CAVALCANTI, F.S. & LEMOS,T.L.G. (2001): Essential oil composition of leaves, fruits and resin of Protium heptaphylum (Aubl.) March. Journal of essential oil research. v.13, n.1, p.33-34.
LORENZI, H. e MATOS, F. J. (2002): Plantas medicinais no Brasil: nativas e exóticas. Nova Odessa: Plantarum. p. 512.
REVILLA, J. (2001): Plantas da Amazônia: oportunidades econômicas e sustentáveis. Manaus: SEBRAE/AM; INPA, p. 405.
REVILLA, J. (2002): Apontamentos para a cosmética amazônica. Manaus: SEBRAE-AM/INPA, p. 532.