Breu Branco (Protium heptaphyllum)
PHYSICAL-CHEMICAL DATA AND APPLICATIONS
The properties of the resin of breu-branco are similar to the resin produced by species of Boswellia found in India and Africa. The 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 resin is widely used in perfumes and toiletries as well as in soap manufacturing. The limonene, present in the resin of breu-branco, is a common component in fragrances and essences.
Has an expressive antioxidant activity, which sequesters free radicals on the skin. It has a proven repellent effectiveness against bloodsucking mosquito, validating its use as a repellent. Due to its aromatic property breu branco resin is widely used in the cosmetic industry as a fragrance fixative and exfoliator. With anti-septic and exfoliant properties; for the dry and oily skin.
The 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 resin exudes, which has a white-green color and a very pleasant, fragrant aroma. When the resin comes in contact with air, it hardens. The 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 resin can be first made when the tree is 8 to 10 years old. To harvest the 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. .
MAIA, R. M. et al (200): Triterpenes from the resin of Protium heptaphyllum March (Burseraceae): characterization in binary mixtures; Quím. Nova [online]. 2000, vol.23, n.5, pp.623-626. http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?pid=S0100-40422000000500010&script=sci_abstract .