Copaiba: A Look into One of the Beauty Industry's Best Kept Secrets
by Joanne Thomas
For many consumers, copaiba is a new and exciting discovery in the beauty and wellness world. But in its native South America locals have used this amazing oil for centuries. The many traditional uses for copaiba oil span the spheres of skincare, digestive health, pain relief and more, while contemporary scientific studies confirm its anti-inflammatory properties. As an all-natural, sustainable product that can help you look and feel better, copaiba oil has a lot in common with CBD oil. Understanding the overlapping benefits of these somewhat similar oils will help you decide whether one or both are worth bringing into your own routine.
What is Copaiba Oil?
Copaiba oil comes from the trunks of Copaifera trees, which are native to the Amazon rain forest and grow up to 100 feet tall. A sustainable source, they yield large volumes of copaiba oil without damage to the tree or surrounding forest. According to The Tropical Plant Database, use of the oil as herbal medicine in South America was first recorded by Europeans in 1625. Jesuits brought copaiba oil back to Europe, extending knowledge of its efficacy as an anti-inflammatory, diuretic, expectorant and emollient to the West.
Scientific research has since backed up anecdotal evidence of copaiba oil’s beneficial properties, notably its effectiveness in treating arthritis and acne, with few to no adverse side effects. The beauty industry uses copaiba oil as an ingredient in cosmetics and perfumes, and it’s an ingredient in cough syrups and diuretics. Further, the FDA has approved copaiba oil as a food additive (it’s used as a flavoring agent).
Copaiba Oil for Skincare
Copaiba oil has great benefits for skincare, and some of the more comprehensive scientific studies of the product support its use in treating acne and psoriasis as well as fighting off staph infections. These results are due to the oil’s ability to fight bacteria and harmful microorganisms on the skin, while its anti-inflammatory properties relieve redness and its emollient properties make the skin softer. Traditional uses of copaiba oil in South America include treating wounds, rashes and insect bites, which is a testament to its known antibacterial, antiseptic and antifungal powers.
Copaiba Oil for Wellness
Copaiba oil is a rich natural source of caryophyllene, a powerful anti-inflammatory. Studies have shown that it also suppresses the perception of pain, making copaiba oil a promising natural remedy for arthritis. In a study published by Florida Atlantic University, users reported significant relief of the pain and inflammation caused by arthritis, with no notable side effects. Copaiba oil also acts as a mild laxative, and advocates claim it treats digestive problems including stomach ulcers and ulcerative colitis. Other conditions traditionally treated with copaiba oil in South America include sore throats (by gargling with oil diluted in water), UTIs, hemorrhoids, nail fungus, and tooth decay.
How to Use Copaiba Oil
To use copaiba oil topically, dilute it in a carrier oil such as coconut, jojoba or avocado oil in a ratio of one part copaiba oil to four parts of carrier oil. Don’t apply undiluted copaiba oil directly to the skin; doing so can cause permanent darkening in the application area. One exception is using copaiba oil to treat nail fungus: you can use it neat on the affected area.
Take copaiba oil internally only in small doses–most manufacturers suggest five to 15 drops two to three times per day. You can drop the oil onto the tongue or dilute it in water or juice before drinking. WebMD cautions that larger doses of copaiba oil can cause stomach pain, rash, redness, vomiting or diarrhea. New users should start with smaller doses and increase as necessary.
Copaiba Oil Vs. CBD Oil
Copaiba oil and CBD oil have a lot in common: both can help you look and feel better in a variety of ways, and both can be a short-term treatment or part of your regular routine. In areas where both oils are recommended treatments, including treating acne and arthritis, the choice of copaiba oil vs. CBD oil comes down to personal preference, best determined by trying out both.
In some areas of wellness, anecdotal evidence leans toward CBD oil as an effective treatment rather than copaiba oil. These include anxiety, depression, insomnia, and certain neurological disorders. Alternatively, copaiba oil is used as a laxative, fungicide and cough suppressant, whereas CBD oil is not.
The Benefits of Both
As with most natural wellness products, the benefits of copaiba oil vs. CBD oil can be highly individualized, so we encourage you to try out both for yourself. You might just find there’s room for both these powerful, beneficial oils in your cache of natural wellness and beauty products.
Joanne Thomas has worked as a writer and editor for print and online publications since 2004. Her writing specialties include wellness, travel, entertainment, and food, and she has written for such names as Disney, Hyundai, Michelob, and USA Today among others. She resides in California and holds a bachelor’s degree in politics from the University of Bristol, U.K.