Copaiba essential oil comes from the resin of the copaiba tree, which is native to South America. Oils from the tropical tree have been used in traditional medicine practices since at least the 16th century by Brazilian natives. Copaiba is similar to black pepper essential oil in many ways. In this blog, we will explore copaiba uses and benefits when used properly including how to use copaiba oil for pain.
Copaiba Uses and Benefits
May Reduce Inflammation
Researchers now believe that low levels of chronic inflammation may contribute to major diseases and illnesses. Copaiba can act as a natural anti-inflammatory.
A study from 2014 analyzed the effects of copaiba oil on mice with multiple sclerosis. They found that treatment with copaiba oil-resin:
- Reduced oxygen radicals that can cause cell damage
- Reduced production of molecules associated with inflammation
Another study from 2017 looked at the effects of copaiba oil in rats. Researchers found that the tongue tissue of rats treated with the oil had a lower amount of inflammation-related immune cells.
A 2018 study in rats with colitis found that the oil reduced oxygen radicals and inflammation. However, it did not prevent any damage to the colon.
May Help with Pain Relief
The anti-inflammatory effects of copaiba oil may help provide some pain relief. One study from 2018 compared the effects of copaiba oil and massage for pain in people with arthritis. Compared to a simple massage with coconut oil, the copaiba oil helped decrease pain scores while improving finger dexterity and strength.
How to Use Copaiba Oil for Pain
For pain, copaiba oil can be used topically if diluted with a carrier oil. The mixture can be applied directly to the skin in the affected area. Start with just a few drops of the oil (less than 10) to gauge your reaction and the effects of the oil before moving on to a larger dose. There are also preblended creams and oils available.
May Have Antimicrobial Effects
Copaiba oil has been shown to have antimicrobial effects. A 2016 study looked at the antimicrobial effects of copaiba oil against a type of bacteria that causes wound and skin infections. That study found that even a low concentration of the oil slowed bacterial growth.
Another study from 2016 looked at the effects of copaiba oil-resin gel on bacteria found on teeth. That study also found that the gel had antimicrobial effects on all of the species tested.
May Help with Anxiety
More than 40 million adults in the U.S. alone suffer from anxiety. However, only a small percentage of these individuals seek treatment. Many turn to natural remedies to soothe their anxiety, like copaiba, which has calming properties.
Copaiba’s anti-anxiety effects are thanks, in part, to terpenes like caryophyllene. When used in aromatherapy, copaiba oil can have a soothing, calming effect.
Copaiba oil also has a pleasantly sweet and woody scent that can further induce relaxation. Some people add a few drops of the oil to their baths to make it more relaxing.
May Prevent Liver Damage
The liver plays an important role in your overall health. It aids in nutrient absorption and metabolizes drugs to make them easier for the body to absorb. Damage to the liver can hinder its function, making it harder for it to do its job properly.
Liver damage can be caused by many things (including genetics), but lifestyle plays a big role. Drinking alcohol can contribute to liver damage as well as obesity and viruses.
Research suggests that copaiba oil may help prevent liver damage.
A study published in 2013 found that copaiba oil helped reduce tissue damage caused by conventional painkillers like acetaminophen. During the study, which lasted seven days, the oil was administered to animals before or after they were administered acetaminophen.
The results found that copaiba oil helped reduce liver damage when given before the acetaminophen. When given after the acetaminophen, the oil actually had a negative effect on the liver.
The study indicates that copaiba oil may be effective as a preventative form of treatment for liver damage.
May Help with Acne
Copaiba’s antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties can help treat acne and other skin conditions. In a placebo-controlled, double-blind trial, volunteers with acne used copaiba essential oil to help treat their skin. Those that used the oil saw a significant decrease in acne in treated areas.
Copaiba oil can also be used to treat rashes and irritation while tightening the skin, and reducing the appearance of scars and stretch marks.
To help treat skin issues, copaiba oil can be applied topically when diluted with a carrier oil. The diluted mix can also be combined with a moisturizer for easier application.
Copaiba Side Effects and Precautions
Some people ingest copaiba oil-resin for medicinal purposes, and this can cause mild side effects in some people, including:
- Digestive upset
It’s important to note that essential oils should never be ingested. Oil-resin is different from essential oils.
When applied topically, copaiba essential oil can cause skin reactions if it is not properly diluted. Apply a small, diluted amount of this essential oil to your skin to help gauge your reaction.
If used in a diffuser, make sure that the oil is properly diluted and consider other people or pets in the room. Some essential oils are unsafe for pets to inhale.
Copaiba oil should not be used by children or pregnant women.
How to Use Copaiba Essential Oil Topically
Copaiba oil can be used topically when diluted with a carrier oil, such as:
- Jojoba oil
- Avocado oil
- Almond oil
- Grapeseed oil
Dilutions can vary, depending on your tolerance and the condition you are trying to treat. The most common recommendation for dilution is 3-5 drops of essential oil for every ounce of carrier oil.
Along with the simple topical application, you can also use this oil in compresses, massage oils, or in creams or lotions.
Copaiba oil has been used in traditional medicine for centuries. While best known for its anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties, copaiba can also help with skin conditions and to prevent liver damage. When used properly, it can be effective with minimal or no side effects.