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Copaifera coriacea - Mart.

Common Name Sapucaia tree
Family Fabaceae
USDA hardiness 10-12
Known Hazards None known
Habitats River banks in the rainforest[ 46 ].
Range S. America - Brazil.
Edibility Rating    (2 of 5)
Other Uses    (2 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (4 of 5)
Care (info)
Tender Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Copaifera coriacea Sapucaia tree


https://edibleplants.org/
Copaifera coriacea Sapucaia tree
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Summary

Copaifera coriacea is an evergreen tree of about 20 m in height and found near riverbanks in the rainforests in South America. The trunk of the tree produces copaiba-balsam, an oily oleo-resin which is used medicinally to counter mucous in the chest and genito-urinary system. It also improves digestion, controls bacterial infections, and has diuretic and expectorant effects. Furthermore, it has healing, anti-inflammatory, pain-relieving, and antifungal properties. It can be taken internally against various respiratory, urinary tract and reproductive systems ailments. Externally, it can be used against skin conditions such as insect bites, eczema, sores, psoriasis, chilblains, wounds, and bleeding. It can also cure sore throats and tonsillitis if gargled. Aside from the abovementioned medicinal uses, the resin can also be used as a flavouring agent in food and beverages, or in varnishes and lacquers, for photographic paper, or as substitute for diesel oil.


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of cone
Copaifera coriacea is an evergreen Tree growing to 20 m (65ft) by 20 m (65ft) at a slow rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 10.
It can fix Nitrogen.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil and can tolerate drought.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map

Synonyms

Copaiba coriacea (Mart.) Kuntze Copaifera cordifolia Hayne

Habitats

Edible Uses

Edible Parts:
Edible Uses: Condiment

The resin has been approved officially in the U.S. as a food additive and is used in small amounts as a flavouring agent in foods and beverages[ 318 ].

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.
Anodyne  Antacid  Antibacterial  Antifungal  Antiinflammatory  Antiseptic  Antitumor  Aromatic  
Astringent  Cytostatic  Demulcent  Digestive  Disinfectant  Diuretic  Eczema  
Expectorant  Kidney  Laxative  Skin  Stimulant  Urinary  Vermifuge


Copaiba-balsam, an oily oleo-resin obtained from the trunk of the tree, has a very long history of use medicinally. It was widely used by the native peoples prior to the Europeans reaching S. America and these uses were soon taken up by the Europeans[ 317 ]. The resin is especially valued for its ability to counter mucous in the chest and genito-urinary system[ 254 ]. The resin is an aromatic, stimulant herb with a bitter, burning taste[ 238 ]. Both it and the bark are anodyne, antacid, antibacterial, antifungal, antiinflammatory, antimicrobial, astringent, cytostatic, demulcent, digestive, disinfectant, diuretic, expectorant, mildly laxative, vermifuge and vulnerary[ 318 ]. The resin obtained from the trunk contains a number of medically active constituents including 30 - 90% essential oils and unusual condensed tannins[ 238 ]. The essential oil contains alpha- and beta-caryophyllene, sesquiterpenes, resins and terpenic acids[ 254 ]. It improves the digestion, has diuretic and expectorant effects, and controls bacterial infections[ 238 ]. Much of the clinical research performed to date has verified the traditional uses of copaiba. It has, for instance, been shown to be highly effective as a topical wound healer and anti-inflammatory agent[ 318 ]. The anti-inflammatory effect is mainly due to the sesquiterpenes, particularly caryophyllene which has also demonstrated effective pain-relieving properties, antifungal properties against nail fungus and gastroprotective properties[ 318 ]. The resin as a whole (and, particularly, two of its diterpenes - copalic acid and kaurenic acid) has demonstrated significant antimicrobial activity against gram-positive bacteria. One of copaiba?s other chemicals, kaurenoic acid, has also demonstrated selective antibacterial activity against Gram-positive bacteria in other recent studies[318. Other constituents of the resin have demonstrated significant antitumor activity[ 318 ]. The resin is taken internally in the treatment of a range of respiratory problems such as tuberculosis, bronchitis and sinusitis; urinary tract and reproductive system conditions such as cystitis, kidney and bladder infections, vaginal discharge and gonorrhoea[ 238 , 254 ]. Stomach ulcers, tetanus, herpes, pleurisy and haemorrhages are just some of the other conditions treated with the resin[ 318 ]. Externally, it is used in the treatment of a range of skin problems including insect bites, eczema, chilblains, sores and psoriasis[ 238 , 254. It is also used to treat wounds and stop bleeding[ 318 ]. As an antiseptic gargle, it is used to treat sore throats and tonsillitis[ 318 ]. The resin should be used with care, see notes above on toxicity[ 238 ]. The resin is tapped at intervals from the tree and the holes filled in afterwards[ 238 ]. It is used in infusions or distilled for its essential oil[ 238 ].

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses

Disinfectant  Essential  Fuel  Lacquer  Resin  Tannin  Varnish  Wood

Other Uses: An oleoresin is obtained from the tree[ 46 ]. It is used in varnishes and lacquers; for photographic paper; removing varnish from old oil paintings etc[ 46 ]. The resin can be used, direct from the tree, as a substitute for diesel oil[ 238 ].

Special Uses

Nitrogen Fixer

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

A tropical tree. Copaifera is a genus of flowering plants in the legume family. Producing economically important resins and essential oils. Also important for production of biodiesel and wood. The scientific name means 'copal-bearer'.

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

Temperature Converter

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Propagation

Seed

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Copaifera coriacea or Sapucaia tree

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Found In: South America - Brazil.

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

None Known

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status : This taxon has not yet been assessed

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Copaifera guyanensisHoepel, Guyanense CopaibaTree30.0 10-12 SLMHSNM243
Copaifera langsdorffiiCopaiba, Langsdorf's copaiferaTree18.0 10-12 SLMHFSM143
Copaifera multijugaHayne oil, Copaiba,Tree20.0 10-12 SLMFSDM143
Copaifera officinalisCopaiba Balsam, Medicinal CopaibaTree22.0 10-12 SLMFSDM243
Copaifera reticulataCopaiba, Reticulated Copaiba, Copaiba BalsamTree30.0 10-12 SLMFSDM043

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.

 

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Botanical References

Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here
A special thanks to Ken Fern for some of the information used on this page.

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