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Oleum Copaibae. Br. Oil of Copaiba.

Botanical name:

Related entry: Copaiba

Oil of Copaiva; Oleum Balsami Copaivae; Essence de Copahu, Fr.; Copaivaol, G.

Oil of copaiba was not admitted to the U.S.P. IX. The oil constitutes from one-third to one-half or more of the copaiba. From one specimen of recent copaiba as much as 80 per cent. has been obtained. (A. J. P., xxii, 289.) It is prepared largely by the application of steam heat. As it first comes over it is colorless, but the later product is of a fine greenish hue. By redistillation it may be rendered wholly colorless. It has the odor and taste of copaiba, a neutral reaction, boils at 252° to 256° C. (485.6°-492.80 P.), solidifies, partly crystalline, at -26.1° C. (-15° F.) (Gmelin), is soluble in ether and in an equal weight of absolute alcohol. The oil consists chiefly of caryophyllene, a sesquiterpene, C15H24. It was officially described as "a colorless or pale yellow liquid, having the characteristic odor of copaiba, and an aromatic, slightly bitter, and pungent taste. Specific gravity: 0.895 to 0.905 at 25° C. (77° F.), increasing with age. It is laevogyrate." U.S. VIII.

"Colorless or pale yellow. Odor and taste those of Copaiba. Specific gravity 0.896 to 0.910; optical rotation -7° to -35°; refractive index at 25° C. (77° F.) 1.494 to 1.500. Distils between 250° and 275° C. (482° and 527° F.). A solution of 1 millilitre of the Oil in 5 millilitres of glacial acetic acid does not develop more than a faint violet coloration on the addition of 4 drops of nitric acid (absence of gurjun oil). When distilled in a vacuum the first 10 per cent. of the distillate has an optical rotation lower than that of the original Oil (absence of oil of African copaiba,)." Br.

From its want of oxygen, it answers even better than naphtha for preserving potassium, a fact first observed by Durand, of Philadelphia. It dissolves sulphur and phosphorus.

Its effects on the system are those of copaiba. From the experiments of C. Mitscherlich, it is one of the least injurious of the volatile oils to the animal system, six drachms of it having been introduced into the stomach of a rabbit without causing death. Externally it produces much less irritation than does oil of turpentine. It may be used for the same purposes as copaiba.

Dose, five to fifteen minims (0.3-0.9 mil).


The Dispensatory of the United States of America, 1918, was edited by Joseph P. Remington, Horatio C. Wood and others.



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