Copaiba Oil

Copaifera officinalis

This product is no longer sold by Raintree Nutrition, Inc. See the main product page for more information why. Try doing a google search for products available from other suppliers or see the rainforest products page to find other companies selling rainforest herbal supplements or rainforest plants if you want to make this rainforest formula yourself.

Copaiba oil contains a significant amount of kaurenoic acid, a diterpene plant chemical that has shown in laboratory studies to exert anti-inflammatory, hypotensive, and diuretic effects in vivo and antimicrobial, smooth muscle relaxant and cytotoxic actions in vitro.* Copaiba is also the highest known plant source of another chemical named caryophyllene. Caryophyllene is a well known plant chemical which has been documented in laboratory studies with anti-inflammatory effects (among other actions).* Many of copaiba's traditional uses and tested biological actions are attributed to these two chemicals. Also, recently published research indicates copaiba to be an excellent natural remedy for acne.

To learn more about this wonderful rainforest plant, go to the Tropical Plant Database file on Copaiba. More information can also be found in the new Antimicrobial Guide. To see pictures of the copaiba tree, click here. Check out the new Discussion Forums to see if anyone is talking about how they are using this natural rainforest remedy.

Traditional Uses:* as a topical analgesic (pain-reliever) and anti-inflammatory for wounds, rashes, dermatitis, bug bites, boils, and psoriasis; as an antiseptic, disinfectant, and antimicrobial agent for internal and external bacterial infections; for nail and skin fungi; for skin cancer; for stomach ulcers and stomach cancer

Suggested Use: Internal use: Take 30-60 drops (1-2 ml) twice daily. External Use: Apply directly to skin as desired.

Contraindications: Not to be used internally during pregnancy or while breast-feeding.

Drug Interactions: None reported.

Other Practitioner Observations:
  • Avoid contact with mucous membranes, as the resin can act as an irritant.
  • Those sensitive to the resin may experience a measles-like rash accompanied by irritation, itching and/or tingling when using topically or taking internally. Discontinue use if these effects occur or cut with another oil.
  • Do not take internally in large dosages (more than 5 ml). Large dosages have been reported to cause nausea, vomiting, fever, and rashes. Discontinue or reduce dosage if these effects occur.

Third-Party Published Research*

All available third-party research on copaiba can be found at PubMed. A partial listing of the published research on copaiba is shown below:

Anti-inflammatory & Pain-relieving Actions:
Gomes, N., et al. "Characterization of the antinociceptive and anti-inflammatory activities of fractions obtained from Copaifera multijuga Hayne." J. Ethnopharmacol. 2010 Jan 12.
Leandro, L., et al. "Chemistry and biological activities of terpenoids from copaiba (Copaifera spp.) oleoresins." Molecules. 2012 Mar 30;17(4):3866-89.
Kobayashi, C., et al. "Pharmacological evaluation of Copaifera multijuga oil in rats." Pharm Biol. 2011 Mar;49(3):306-13.
Chavan, M., et al. "Analgesic and anti-inflammatory activity of Caryophyllene oxide from Annona squamosa L. bark." Phytomedicine. 2010 Feb; 17(2): 149-151.
Rogerio, A., et al. "Preventive and therapeutic anti-inflammatory properties of the sesquiterpene alpha-humulene in experimental airways allergic inflammation." Br. J. Pharmacol. 2009 Oct; 158(4): 1074-87.
de Lima Silva, J., et al. "Effects of Copaifera langsdorffii Desf. on ischemia-reperfusion of randomized skin flaps in rats." Aesthetic Plast. Surg. 2009 Jan; 33(1): 104-9.
Fernandes, E., et al. "Anti-inflammatory effects of compounds alpha-humulene and (-)-trans-caryophyllene isolated from the essential oil of Cordia verbenacea." Eur. J. Pharmacol. 2007 Aug; 569(3): 228-36.
Veiga Jr., V., et al. "Chemical composition and anti-inflammatory activity of copaiba oils from Copaifera cearensis Huber ex Ducke, Copaifera reticulata Ducke and Copaifera multijuga Hayne--a comparative study." J. Ethnopharmacol. 2007 Jun; 112(2): 248-54.
Gomes, N., "Antinociceptive activity of Amazonian Copaiba oils." J. Ethnopharmacol. 2007 Feb; 109(3): 486-92.
Veiga Junior, V., et al. "The inhibition of paw oedema formation caused by the oil of Copaifera multijuga Hayne and its fractions." J. Pharm. Pharmacol. 2006; 58(10): 1405-10.
Paiva, L., et al. “Anti-inflammatory effect of kaurenoic acid, a diterpene from Copaifera langsdorffi on acetic acid-induced colitis in rats.” Vascul. Pharmacol. 2002 Dec; 39(6):303-7.
Veiga, V., et al. “Phytochemical and antioedematogenic studies of commercial copaiba oils available in Brazil.” Phytother. Res. 2001; 15(6): 476–80.
Ghelardini, C., et al. “Local anaesthetic activity of beta-caryophyllene.” Farmaco. 2001; 56(5-7): 387-9.
Cascon, V., et al. “Characterization of the chemical composition of oleoresins of Copaifera guianensis Desf., Copaifera duckei Dwyer and Copaifera multijuna Hayne.” Phytochemistry. 2000; 55(7): 773–78.
Basile, A. C., et al. “Anti-inflammatory activity of oleoresin from Brazilian Copaifera.” J. Ethnopharmacol. 1988; 22: 101–9.
Fernandes, R. M., Contribuicao para o conhecimento do efito antiiinflamatorio e analgesico do balsamo de copaiba e alguns de seus constituintes quimicos. Thesis, 1986. Federal University of Rio de Janeiro.

Anti-Psoriasis Actions:
Gelmini, F., et al. "GC-MS profiling of the phytochemical constituents of the oleoresin from Copaifera langsdorffii Desf. and a preliminary in vivo evaluation of its antipsoriatic effect." Int J Pharm. 2012 Aug 20.

Cytotoxic & Anticancerous Actions:
Copaiba contains kolavenol, methlyl copalate, and kaurenoic acid which have been documented with anticarcinomic, antimelanomic, and antitumorous actions in various in vitro and in vivo studies.
dos Santos Júnior, H., et al. "Evaluation of native and exotic Brazilian plants for anticancer activity." J Nat Med. 2010 Apr;64(2):231-8.
Tundis, R., et al. "In vitro cytotoxic effects of Senecio stabianus Lacaita (Asteraceae) on human cancer cell lines." Nat. Prod. Res. 2009; 23(18): 1707-18.
Gomes, M., et al. "Antineoplasic activity of Copaifera multijuga oil and fractions against ascitic and solid Ehrlich tumor." J. Ethnopharmacol. 2008 Sep; 119(1): 179-84.
Legault, J., et al. "Potentiating effect of beta-caryophyllene on anticancer activity of alpha-humulene, isocaryophyllene and paclitaxel." J. Pharm. Pharmacol. 2007 Dec; 59(12): 1643-7.
Cavalcanti, B. C., et al. “Genotoxicity evaluation of kaurenoic acid, a bioactive diterpenoid present in Copaiba oil.” Food Chem. Toxicol. 2006; 44(3): 388-92.
Krauchenco, S., et al. “Three-dimensional structure of an unusual Kunitz (STI) type trypsin inhibitor from Copaifera langsdorffii.” Biochimie. 2004; 86(3): 167-72.
Legault, J., et al. "Potentiating effect of beta-caryophyllene on anticancer activity of alpha-humulene, isocaryophyllene and paclitaxel." J. Pharm. Pharmacol. 2007 Dec; 59(12): 1643-7.
Lima, S. R., et al. “In vivo and in vitro studies on the anticancer activity of Copaifera multijuga Hayne and its fractions.” Phytother. Res. 2003 Nov; 17(9): 1048-53.
Costa-Lotufo, L. V., et al. “The cytotoxic and embryotoxic effects of kaurenoic acid, a diterpene isolated from Copaifera langsdorffi.Toxicon. 2002; 40(8): 1231–34.
de Almeida Alves, T. M., et al. “Biological screening of Brazilian medicinal plants.”Mem. Inst. Oswaldo Cruz 2000; 95(3): 367–73.
Ohsaki, A., et al. “The isolation and in vivo potent antitumor activity of clerodane diterpenoids from the oleoresin of Brazilian medicinal plant Copaifera langsdorfii Desfon.” Bioorg. Med. Chem. Lett. 1994; 4: 2889–92.

Actions Against Acne:
da Silva, A., et al. "Application of the essential oil from copaiba (Copaifera langsdori Desf.) for acne vulgaris: a double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial." Altern Med Rev. 2012 Mar;17(1):69-75.

Actions Against Endometriosis
Nogueira, N., et al. "Changes in the volume and histology of endometriosis foci in rats treated with copaiba oil (Copaifera langsdorffii)." Acta Cir Bras. 2011;26

Antimicrobial Actions:
Copaiba resin is the highest known natural source of caryophyllene, comprising up to 480,000 parts per million. Caryophyllene is a well known plant chemical which has been documented with strong anti-inflammatory effects, antibacterial actions against Staphylococcus & Streptococci and antifungal actions against Candida and nail fungus. Copaiba's antibacterial properties were first documented in the 1960s and 1970s. Researchers again confirmed that the resin as a whole (and, particularly, two of its diterpenes—copalic acid and kaurenic acid) demonstrated significant in vitro antimicrobial activity against Gram-positive bacteria. One of copaiba's other chemicals, kaurenoic acid, has also demonstrated selective antibacterial activity against Gram-positive bacteria and viruses in other recent studies.
Pieri, F. et al. "Bacteriostatic effect of copaiba oil (Copaifera officinalis) against Streptococcus mutans." Braz Dent J. 2012;23(1):36-8.
Santos, R., et al. "Antimicrobial activity of Amazonian oils against Paenibacillus species." J Invertebr Pathol. 2012 Mar;109(3):265-8.
Souza, A., et al. "Antimicrobial evaluation of diterpenes from Copaifera langsdorffii oleoresin against periodontal anaerobic bacteria." Molecules. 2011 Nov 18;16(11):9611-9.
Souz, a., ET AL. "Antimicrobial activity of terpenoids from Copaifera langsdorffii Desf. against cariogenic bacteria." Phytother Res. 2011 Feb;25(2):215-20.
Astani, A., et al. "Screening for antiviral activities of isolated compounds from essential oils." Evid. Based Complement. Alternat. Med. 2010.
Correia, A.., et al. "Amazonian plant crude extract screening for activity against multidrug-resistant bacteria." Eur. Rev. Med. Pharmacol. Sci. 2008 Nov-Dec; 12(6): 369-80.
Santos, A., et al. "Antimicrobial activity of Brazilian copaiba oils obtained from different species of the Copaifera genus." Mem .Inst. Oswaldo Cruz. 2008 May; 103(3):277-81.
Kuete, V., et al. "Antimicrobial activity of the methanolic extract, fractions and compounds from the stem bark of Irvingia gabonensis (Ixonanthaceae)." J. Ethnopharmacol. 2007 Oct; 114(1): 54-60.
Cotoras, M., et al. “Characterization of the antifungal activity on Botrytis cinerea of the natural diterpenoids kaurenoic acid and 3beta-hydroxy-kaurenoic acid.” J. Agric. Food Chem. 2004 May; 52(10): 2821-6.
Sartori, M. R., et al. “Antifungal activity of fractions and two pure compounds of flowers from Wedelia paludosa (Acmela brasiliensis) (Asteraceae).” Pharmazie. 2003; 58(8): 567-9.
Tincusi, B. M., et al. “Antimicrobial terpenoids from the oleoresin of the Peruvian medicinal plant Copaifera paupera." Planta Med. 2002; 68(9): 808–12.
Wilkins, M., et al. “Characterization of the bactericidal activity of the natural diterpene kaurenoic acid.” Planta Med. 2002 68(5): 452–54.
Yang, D., et al. “Use of caryophyllene oxide as an antifungal agent in an in vitro experimental model of onychomycosis.” Mycopathologia. 1999; 148(2): 79–82.
Davino, S. C., et al. “Antimicrobial activity of kaurenoic acid derivatives substituted on carbon-15.” Braz. J. Med. Biol. Res. 1989; 22(9): 1127–29.
Maruzzella, J. C., et al. “Antibacterial activity of essential oil vapors.” J. Am. Pharm. Assoc. 1960; 49: 692–94.

Anti-spasmodic & Muscle-Relaxant Actions:
Leonhardt, V., et al. "Antispasmodic effects of essential oil of Pterodon polygalaeflorus and its main constituent beta-caryophyllene on rat isolated ileum." Fundam. Clin. Pharmacol. 2009 Dec 11
Tirapelli, C. R., et al. “Pharmacological comparison of the vasorelaxant action displayed by kaurenoic acid andpimaradienoic acid.” J. Pharm. Pharmacol. 2005; 57(8): 997-1004.
Ambrosio, S. R., et al. “Role of the carboxylic group in the antispasmodic and vasorelaxant action displayed by kaurenoic acid.” J. Pharm. Pharmacol. 2004; 56(11): 1407-13.
Tirapelli, C. R., et al. “Analysis of the mechanisms underlying the vasorelaxant action of kaurenoic acid in the isolated rat aorta.” Eur. J. Pharmacol. 2004 May; 492(2-3): 233-41.
de Alencar, et al. “Smooth muscle relaxant effect of kaurenoic acid, a diterpene from Copaifera langsdorffii on rat uterus in vitro.” Phytother. Res. 2003; 17(4): 320-4.

Cellular Protective, Anti-ulcer & Wound Healing Actions:
Alves, J., et al. "In vivo protective effect of Copaifera langsdorffii hydroalcoholic extract on micronuclei induction by doxorubicin." J Appl Toxicol. 2012 May 19.
Guimarães-Santos, A., et al. "Copaiba oil-resin treatment is neuroprotective and reduces neutrophil recruitment and microglia activation after motor cortex excitotoxic injury." Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2012;2012:918174.
Comelli, E., et al. "Rupture point analysis of intestinal anastomotic healing in rats under the action of pure Copaíba (Copaifera langsdorfii) oil." Acta Cir Bras. 2010 Aug;25(4):362-7.
Pereira, S., et al. "Limited benefit of copaifera oil on gingivitis progression in humans." J. Contemp. Dent. Pract. 2010 Jan 1; 11(1): E057-64.
de Lima Silva, J., et al. "Effects of Copaifera langsdorffii Desf. on ischemia-reperfusion of randomized skin flaps in rats." Aesthetic Plast. Surg. 2009 Jan; 33(1): 104-9.
Cho, J. Y., et al. "Amelioration of dextran sulfate sodium-induced colitis in mice by oral administration of beta-caryophyllene, a sesquiterpene." Life Sci. 2006 Nov 29;
Chang, H. J., et al. "Quantitative structure-activity relationship (QSAR) for neuroprotective activity of terpenoids." Life Sci. 2006 Nov 10;
de Araujo, F. A., et al. ”Copaiba oil effect on aminotransferases of rats with hepatic ischemia and reperfusion with and without ischemic preconditioning.” Acta Cir. Bras. 2005 Jan-Feb; 20(1): 93-9.
Brito, M. V., et al. “Copaiba oil effect on urea and creatinine serum levels in rats submitted to kidney ischemia and reperfusion syndrome” Acta Cir. Bras. 2005 May-Jun; 20(3): 243-6
Paiva, L. A., et al. “Attenuation of ischemia/reperfusion-induced intestinal injury by oleo-resin from Copaifera langsdorffii in rats.” Life Sci. 2004 Sep 3; 75(16): 1979-87.
Paiva, L. A., et al. “Protective effect of Copaifera langsdorffii oleo-resin against acetic acid-induced colitis in rats.” J. Ethnopharmacol. 2004 Jul; 93(1): 51-6.
Paiva, L. A., et al. “Investigation on the wound healing activity of oleo-resin from Copaifera langsdorfii in rats.” Phytother. Res. 2002; 16(8): 737–39.
Paiva, L. A., et al. “Gastroprotective effect of Copifera langsdorffii oleo-resin on experimental gastric ulcer models in rats.” J. Ethnopharmacol. 1998; 62(1): 73–8.
Tambe, Y., et al. “Gastric cytoprotection of the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory sesquiterpene, beta-caryophyllene.” Planta Med. 1996; 62(5): 469–70.

Immunomodulatory Actions:
do Rosário, M., et al. "Storage xyloglucans: potent macrophages activators." Chem Biol Interact. 2011 Jan 15;189(1-2):127-33.
Rosario, M., et al. "Effect of storage xyloglucans on peritoneal macrophages." Phytochemistry. 2008 Jan; 69(2): 464-72.
Takei, M., et al. "T-cadinol and calamenene induce dendritic cells from human monocytes and drive Th1 polarization." Eur. J. Pharmacol. 2006 May; 537(1-3): 190-9.

Anti-anxiety Actions:
Curio, M., et al. "Acute effect of Copaifera reticulata Ducke copaiba oil in rats tested in the elevated plus-maze: an ethological analysis." J. Pharm. Pharmacol. 2009 Aug; 61(8): 1105-10.

Anti-parasitic & Insecticidal Actions:
Cunha, N., et al. "In vitro schistosomicidal activity of some brazilian cerrado species and their isolated compounds." Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2012;2012:173614.
Rondon, F., et al. "In vitro efficacy of Coriandrum sativum, Lippia sidoides and Copaifera reticulata against Leishmania chagasi." Rev Bras Parasitol Vet. 2012 Sep;21(3):185-91.
dos Santos, A., et al. "Copaiba Oil: An Alternative to Development of New Drugs against Leishmaniasis." Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2012;2012:898419.
Valotto, C., et al. "[Ultrastructural alterations in larvae of Aedes aegypti subject to labdane diterpene isolated from Copaifera reticulata (Leguminosae) and a fraction enriched with tannins of Magonia pubescens (Sapindaceae)]." Rev Soc Bras Med Trop. 2011 Mar-Apr;44(2):194-200
dos Santos, A., et al. "Leishmania amazonensis: effects of oral treatment with copaiba oil in mice." Exp Parasitol. 2011 Oct;129(2):145-51.
dos Santos, A., et al. "Effect of Brazilian copaiba oils on Leishmania amazonensis." J. Ethnopharmacol. 2008 Nov; 120(2): 204-8.
Geris, R., et al. "Diterpenoids from Copaifera reticulata Ducke with larvicidal activity against Aedes aegypti (L.) (Diptera, Culicidae)." Rev. Inst. Med. Trop. 2008 Jan-Feb; 50(1): 25-8.
da Silva, H., et al. "Larvicidal activity of oil-resin fractions from the Brazilian medicinal plant Copaifera reticulata Ducke (Leguminosae-Caesalpinoideae) against Aedes aegypti (Diptera, Culicidae)." Rev. Soc. Bras. Med. Trop. 2007 May-Jun; 40(3): 264-7
de Freitas Fernandes, F., et al. "Acaricidal activity of an oleoresinous extract from Copaifera reticulata (Leguminosae: Caesalpinioideae) against larvae of the southern cattle tick, Rhipicephalus (Boophilus) microplus (Acari: Ixodidae)." Vet. Parasitol. 2007 Jun; 147(1-2): 150-4.
de Mendonca, F. A., et al. "Activities of some Brazilian plants against larvae of the mosquito Aedes aegypti." Fitoterapia. 2005 Dec; 76(7-8): 629-36.

Non-Toxic Action:
Almeida, M., et al. "Genotoxicity assessment of Copaiba oil and its fractions in Swiss mice." Genet Mol Biol. 2012 Jul;35(3):664-72.
Sachetti, C., et al. "Developmental toxicity of copaiba tree (Copaifera reticulata Ducke, Fabaceae) oleoresin in rat." Food Chem Toxicol. 2011 May;49(5):1080-5.
Lima, C., et al. "Pre-clinical validation of a vaginal cream containing copaiba oil (reproductive toxicology study)." Phytomedicine. 2011 Sep 15;18(12):1013-23.

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Last updated 12-31-2012