Balsam Of Peru Allergy

By | August 13, 2015

Balsam of Peru allergy

In this article we will review about balsam of peru

What is Balsam of Peru and where is it found?

Balsam was a sticky aromatic liquid which comes from cutting the bark of the tree known as Myroxolon balsamum, which is a tree that is native to the El Salvador. A ‘Peru’ part of the Balsam of the Peru originates from when it was first named the El Salvador then being part of the Peruvian colony. The balsam of the Peru smells of the vanilla and the cinnamon because it contains nearly 60 to 70 percent cinnamein which is a combination of the cinnamic acid, the cinnamyl cinnamate, the benzyl benzoate, the benzoic acid and the vanillin. The other 30 to 40 percent contains resins of the unknown composition. It contains essential oils too similar to the one in citrus fruit peel. They are all the potential allergens.

Balsam of Peru is not only used for the aromatic and fixative of it that is delays evaporation properties, but also for its mild antiseptic, and  antifungal and the antiparasitic attributes. It has three main uses. First off its fragrance in the perfumes and in the toiletries, secondly in the  flavoring of the  food and in the drinks, the healing properties in the medicinal products. The table below shows lists of some of the products that can contain Balsam of Peru and chemically related substances.

Fragrance Flavouring Medicinal
  • Perfumes.
  • Deodorants.
  • After shave lotions.
  • Cosmetics products.
  • Medicinal creams & ointments
  • Baby powders.
  • Sunscreens
  • Suntan lotions
  • Shampoo and conditioners
  • Perfumed tea, coffee and tobacco
  • Citrus fruit peel.
  • Artificially baked goods & confectionary.
  • Cola & other soft drinks
  • Aperitifs, Like vermouth & bitters.
  • Spices. For example cinnamon, cloves, vanilla, nutmeg, paprika & curry.
  • Haemorrhoidal suppositories &ointment like  Anusol™
  • Tincture of the benzoin
  • Wound sprays.
  • Calamine lotion.
  • Dental cement.
  • Cough medicine, lozenges.
  • Lip preparations.
  • Insect repellents.
  • Surgical dressings.
  • Toothpaste and mouthwash

What are the reactions to the Balsam of Peru allergy?

The typical allergic contact dermatitis reactions might occur in the individuals allergic to the Balsam of Peru or any other chemical related substances. The flare up of the hand eczema is common in some sensitive individuals, if they use or they consume products that contain the Balsam of Peru or some related allergens. The oral exposure may cause the sore mouth (tongue) and the  rash of the lips or the angles of the mouth.

Balsam of Peru allergy

How to check if you are allergic to Balsam of Peru?

Sensitivity to the perfume or the cream is usually the first indicator of the allergy to the Balsam of Peru. The patch testing using 10 percent Balsam of Peru in the petrolatum is used to confirm it. The positive result of the Balsam of Peru is seen in 50 percent of the fragrance allergy cases. The positive patch test also indicates the individual might have the problems with the flavourings , both the artificial and the natural, some medications and some other perfumed products.

Most of the people tested for the fragrance allergy will be patch tested with the Balsam of Peru and the Fragrance Mix which is the mixture of 8 commonly used individual fragrances). This detects approximately 75 percent of the fragrance allergy cases.

Self testing the product for the Balsam of Peru is possible but it should be done only after the first appointment with the doctor. It should be done only with the products that are designed to stay on the skin like cosmetics and the lotions. Apply a small amount that is 50 cent sized area of product to the small tender area of the skin such as the bend of the arm or the neck for 5 days in the row. Examine that area each day & if no reaction occurs by doing so, then you are unlikely to be allergic to it. But, it may still cause the irritant reaction, so you should be cautious. The products such as the shampoos, the conditioners, the soaps and the cleansers should not be tested in such a way since they frequently cause the irritant dermatitis.

Treatment of the Balsam of Peru dermatitis

When the dermatitis appears on the skin, the treatment is as for any acute dermatitis or eczema, that is topical corticosteroids, the emollients, treatment of the secondary bacterial infection like Staphylococcus aureus etc.

What to do to avoid Balsam of Peru allergy?

If you have the allergy to the Balsam of Peru, then try to identify the possible sources of the contact and avoid them as much as you can. Use only the ingredient labelled products that do not list the Balsam of Peru or any of the related other names on the label.However, If you are unsure then ask the pharmacist for the advice and the suitable alternative.

Alert the doctor or the dentist to the fact that you have the allergy to the Balsam of Peru. If you’are highly sensitive, then your doctor may also recommend the special diet which eliminates the foods to which the allergen or the related allergen is added as the flavoring.

Allergy to the  Balsam of Peru might make you sensitive to the chemically related substances. Many of them are spices and flavorings that are used in the daily cooking. As the precaution you should avoid the use of these products since it is likely that you will be the allergic to them as well.

Related substances to the Balsam of Peru which might also cause the allergic reaction
  • Eugenol & isoeugenol
    • The component of the essential oils obtained from the spices include the cloves and the cinnamon leaf. It smells and tastes like the cloves. It is found in the pimento, nutmeg, camphor, roses, carnations, hyacinths and in the violets as well.
  • The benzoin, benzoic acid and the benzyl alcohol.
  • Rosin like colophony.
  • Citrus fruit peel.
  • Tiger balm like the Chinese proprietary ointment.
  • Vanilla.
  • Balsam of the Tolu.

Balsam of Peru allergy

Your dermatologist may have further specific advice, particularly if you are highly sensitive to Balsam of Peru.

Alternative names for Balsam of Peru

  • Balsamum peruvianim.
  • Black balsam.
  • China oil.
  • Honduras balsam.
  • Indian balsam.
  • Peruvian balsam.
  • Surinam balsam.
  • Balsams & Peru.
  • Balsam Peru oil.
  • Oil balsam peru.
  • Peru balsam.
  • Peru balsam oil.
  • Myroxylon pereirae klotzsch resin.
  • Myroxylon pereirae klotzsch oil.
  • Myrosperum pereira balsam.
  • Toluifera Pereira balsam.

Cross reactions:

  • Balsam of the Tolu.
  • Beeswax.
  • Benzaldehyde.
  • Benzoates.
  • Benzoin.
  • Benzylsalicylate.
  • Coniferyl alcohol.
  • Coumarin.
  • Diethylstilbestrol.
  • Eugenol.
  • Farnesol.
  • Isoeugenol.
  • Propanidid.
  • Propolis.
  • Styrax.
  • Tiger balm.

Appearance of the balsam of peru:

It is sticky and transparent liquid.


  • The benzyl acetate.
  • benzoyl alcohol.
  • cinnamic acid.
  • cinnamic alcohol.
  • cinnamic aldehyde.
  • Eugenol.
  • Isoeugenol.

Patch Test:

10 percent of Balsam of Peru in the petrolatum



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