Investing in your health is important, but let’s face it, a love of essential oils can quickly add up. This is especially true if you have expensive taste. Have you wanted to treat yourself to the heavenly notes of Vanilla essential oil, but after seeing the price realized it’s just not in your budget? Well, fret not my friends. Balsam of Peru essential oil (Myroxylon balsamum) offers a warm, exotic fragrance reminiscent of Vanilla without the huge hit to your pocketbook. And sense Vanilla is almost impossible to get now due to 30% of the crops being destroyed by a cyclone in Madagascar last year, it’s great to know that there is a substitute for this warm, inviting scent.
Balsam of Peru – which oddly enough is a bit of a misnomer as the oil comes from El Salvador – is a base note with a wide range of healing properties. In addition to the Vanilla-like aroma, Balsam of Peru also has a woody undertone with a hint of cinnamon. It has traditionally been used for wound care and other minor skin ailments like cuts and dry skin. Additionally, it has been used in dentistry for dry sockets and dental impression materials. Despite its historical use for skin issues, Balsam of Peru can potentially be a skin sensitizer and should be used with great care.
How to Use Balsam of Peru Essential Oil
Physical Properties: Antiseptic, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, balsamic, expectorant, parasiticide, stimulant, wounds, indolent ulcers, scabies, hemorrhoids, bed sores, dry chapped skin, eczema, rashes, asthma, bronchitis, sedative, cell regenerating
Emotional Properties: Clarity, energizing, expansive, purifying, uplifting, nervous tension, stress, anti-depressant
Cautions: Moderate risk of skin sensitization in the case of hypersensitive, diseased or damaged skin, and children under 2 years of age. Do a patch test on the skin before using the oil topically and always dilute properly in carrier oil.
Blends well with: Black Pepper, Ginger, Jasmine, Lavender, Patchouli, Petitgrain, Rose, Sandalwood, Cedarwood, Ylang Ylang, Frankincense, Copaiba, Myrrh, Cinnamon, Vanilla, Clove, Roman Chamomile, Red Mandarin, and Sweet Orange
Note: The oil is very thick, similar to the consistency of Vetiver, so getting it to come out of the bottle can be an exercise in patience. Let it warm up a bit (especially if you are storing your oils in the refrigerator to help preserve their shelf life) before using. Balsam of Peru has a lengthy shelf life of approximately five to 10 years, giving it an even bigger bang for the buck.
Recipes Using Balsam of Peru Essential Oil
Relaxing Balsam of Peru Essential Oil Diffuser Recipe
Yield: 80 drops or the equivalent of a 5 ml bottle
- 60 drops Lavender
- 15 drops Balsam of Peru
- 5 drops Chamomile
Place the appropriate number of drops in your diffuser and enjoy the relaxing aroma of “Vanilla” on a budget.
DIY Balsam of Peru Perfume Roller Bottle Recipe
One of the common uses for Vanilla is in perfumes. The crude balsam is a known allergen but the essential oil should not have any of the allergens present. However, taking extra precautions is always a smart idea. According to Aromatics International, Balsam of Peru should be used “in small amounts and for short periods of time on a small area of the body.” So perhaps not an everyday perfume but something better suited for a special occasion.
- 15 drops Lavender
- 7 drop Balsam of Peru
- 3 drop Jasmine
- Jojoba oil
Mix and store essential oils in a 5ml bottle. To make your perfume, add 6 drops of the blend to a 10ml roller bottle. Add jojoba oil to fill the bottle. Roll on to pulse points for special occasion perfume.
Balsam of Peru can be found in Rocky Mountain Oils Blossoms blend, a citrus-y blend that is uplifting and energizing.
Pro Tip: For optimum synergy, let the oils meld (whether perfume or diffuser blend) for several days to a week before use.