PHYSICAL-CHEMICAL DATA AND APPLICATIONS
The properties of the breu-branco resin (Protium heptaphyllum) 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 breu-branco resin, is a common component in fragrances and essences.
Has an expressive antioxidant activity, which sequesters free radicals on the skin. It has proven repellent effectiveness against blood-sucking 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 breu-branco resin 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.
Each time the breu branco tree’s bark is cut or pierced by an animal or insect, it releases a resin to prevent the insect’s penetration. The breu branco resin is the tree’s response to the aggressions it suffers. In a tree bark wound, the resin slowly oozes out, hardening through exposure to air. It is a transparent and sticky viscous liquid, whitish-yellow in color, with a characteristic aromatic odor.
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.
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