Copaiba essential oil – uses and benefits

Copaiba essential oil is creating some excitement in the doTERRA essential oil community. Historically it has had many uses, from an additive in glazing for pottery, to use in cosmetics and in folk medicine to aid respiratory, digestive, urinary, cardiovascular health, and immune systems. The indigenous American Indians used to apply it on both their newborns and their warriors when they came home from battle.

You may have heard that it has similar chemistry to cannabis and are wondering about the difference between copaiba essential oil and cannabis or CBD oil. In a nutshell, copaiba is very powerful cannibinoil with over 50% Beta CaryoPhyllene (BCP). Since Tetrahydrocannibidiol (THC) is not found in copaiba, there is no concern about psychoactive effects.

Copaiba is one of doTERRA's new oils and has been available in the USA and Australia since 2017, and will be available in Europe in 2018. We are super excited about this! I have personally experienced huge benefits from the use of copaiba and the testimonials I am hearing amaze me, especially for mood support and the nervous system.  I apply two drops of copaiba under my tongue in the morning to stimulate my body’s endocannabinoid system and keep me calm throughout the day! If you'd like to learn more about cannabinoids and the benefits of copaiba then read on!

What is Copaiba?

Copaiba essential oil comes from the oleoresin of the copaiba tree in Central and South America.  The resin is steam distilled to produce the spicy, woody essential oil. In this short video, doTERRAs chief medical officer Dr Hill explains about copaiba and its many uses:

There seems to be a lot of confusion these days about medical marijuana, CBD oil and products that contain THC, and how they work in the body so here are some more details.

What is the Endocannabinoid System?

The endocannabinoid (EC) system helps our bodies manage emotional tension, inflammation, and other physiological responses to different forms of stresses. For instance, when you engage in physical activities such as exercise, your body begins to produce specific compounds called endocannabinoids (ECs). These compounds are then detected by cannabinoid receptors (CRs), which then trigger the activation of the EC system.  The term cannabinoid refers to any compound—whether it is produced internally or introduced externally—that engages the EC system by alerting CRs). Endocannabinoids are molecules that, like the plant cannabinoid THC, bind to and activate cannabinoid receptors. However, unlike THC, endocannabinoids are produced naturally by cells in the human body.

The “runner’s high” illustrates the powerful influence of the EC system. Since running is a physically strenuous activity, the human body begins to produce anandamide (an endocannabinoid) in order to alert CRs to activate the EC system. This then leads to two things: (1) a slight feeling of euphoria, and (2) a soothing feeling that eases discomfort in the muscles and joints. This is the EC system at work.

What are Cannabinoids?

Cannabinoids are any chemical compound that affects one or both cannabinoid receptors in the human body, CB1 or CB2. Some cannabinoids are legal (CBD and those found in essential oils) and some, like THC from cannabis/marijuana, are not. There are three types of cannabinoids:

CBD: CBD, or CannaBiDiol, is a naturally occurring component of the cannabis and hemp plants. CBD made from hemp has a low concentration around 2-4%. If derived from cannabis/marijuana CBD has a higher concentration around 5-30%. Some CBD extractions contain some THC (the part of the plant that makes you feel high) though some are low enough to be legal.   Benefits include pain relief, reduces anxiety, effective against cancer, treats seizures and other neurological issues, prevention of diabetes through lower insulin levels and promotes cardiovascular health. This is the power of cannabinoids!

THC: THC, or TetraHydroCannabinol, is also a naturally occurring compound in the cannabis plant. This is the party of the plant that makes people feel high when they smoke marijuana or use products that contain THC. Supplements that contain THC are legal in some countries. THC resembles the endocannabinoid naturally produced in our brains, anandamide, which regulates our mood, sleep, memory, and appetite.  Hence the reason THC makes you relaxed … and hungry.

BCP: BCP, or Beta-CaryoPhyllene, is the dietary cannabinoid found in doTERRA’s Copaiba oil. Not only is it in Copaiba essential oil it's in doTERRA’s in very high amounts – 60%!!! While this is a different type of cannabinoid than CBD it directly affects the same CB2 receptors in amazing ways and is present in a much higher amount. It’s also found in lower levels in other essential oils, in lower amounts, like Black Pepper and Melissa.

What are Cannabinoid Receptors?

We all have cannabinoid receptors in our bodies and they are super important. They are found all over the body, in the brain, organs, tissues, glands and immune cells. In each tissue, the cannabinoid system performs different tasks, but the goal is always the same: homeostasis. We have two different types of receptors – CB1 and CB2.

CB1, predominantly present in the nervous system, connective tissues, gonads, glands, and organs; and CB2, predominantly found in the immune system and its associated structures. Many tissues contain both CB1 and CB2 receptors, each linked to a different action. The CB1 receptors are the ones that THC interacts with and causes psychotropic effects. The CB2 receptors are the ones that do not make you “high” when affected. These are the target when using CBD oil and copaiba essential oil. CBD actually indirectly interacts with CB2 receptors while the main constituent of Copaiba interacts directlyCB2 receptors are found mostly in the immune system, and they seem to reduce inflammation and certain kinds of pain.

What are the main differences between CBD and Copaiba oil?

  • Copaiba is typically much less expensive than CBD
  • There is 100% drug free with zero risk of copaiba containing THC and is therefore 100% legal
  • Copaiba is not from the cannabis plant so has 0% chance of affecting a drug test
  • doTERRA carries out extensive testing so you know their oils are free of pesticides, heavy metals and contaminants.

How does doTERRA source the oil?

doTERRA's copaiba essential oil is sourced in Brazil from four species of copaiba. By harnessing the benefits of the most potent copaiba species, a maximum potency essential oil is obtained.  And doTERRA partners with a large network of copaiba harvesters that sustainably collect their oleoresin to ensure that the Amazon rainforest trees will be around for years to come.

The harvesting process is very similar to tapping maple trees.  The harvester selects a healthy tree with a large diameter trunk before drilling a small hole, approximately three feet from the ground.  The sawdust is cleaned off and the oleoresin collector is put in place.  Usually, some oleoresin can be collected immediately so after the initial tap, a plug is inserted into the hole and the harvester will return to the tree every few weeks to collect additional oleoresin.

The Amazon rainforest is very dense and nearly impossible to travel through with conventional vehicles. As such, most travel for both personal and commercial purposes is done by boat.  doTERRA utilises a large network of harvesters to transport their copaiba oleoresin by boat from their different villages to Manaus. Once the oleoresin has been inspected, paid for, and collected in Manaus, they steam distil the oleoresin and prepare it for final shipment to the USA. If you’d like to know more about the sustainability story behind doTERRA’s copaiba oil, you can take a look at this behind the scenes sourcing video below:

How do I use Copaiba oil?

Copaiba’s main chemical component BCB possesses strong antioxidant properties, promotes healthy cellular function, protects nerve cells and has benefits for the cardiovascular and immune systems too. It supports overall circulatory health and may help support the health of the gastrointestinal tract and colon.

If that’s not enough, more recent research has found copaiba may help keep the mouth, teeth, and gums clean and healthy looking. And when applied topically, copaiba may also help keep the skin clean and clear while helping to reduce the appearance of blemishes.  Lastly, another interesting experimental research study found that copaiba taken internally may help to support uterine health and ease menstruation aches. Copaiba is an incredibly versatile oil that can be used in so many different ways. Here are a few suggestions as to how you could experience its benefits:

On your skin. Copaiba oil is widely used in cosmetics and can help keep your skin clear and clean while reducing the appearance of blemishes. Try adding a few drops of copaiba to your toner and apply to your face in upward circular motions. Or, apply a few drops directly your skin before applying your moisturiser.

As a personal fragrance. Oils that blend well with copaiba include Roman chamomile, cedarwood, sandalwood, frankincense, or ylang ylang.  Using any of these oils that appeal to you, you could create your own personal fragrance in a roller bottle, and then fill the rest of the bottle with fractionated coconut oil.

For whole-body wellness. Most of the body can benefit from copaiba; it may help support the cardiovascular, immune, digestive, nervous, and immune system. The indigenous South Americans traditionally used copaiba resin to maintain the overall body health. To take advantage of these benefits, you could add one to two drops of essential oil to water, juice, or make your own tea using warm water and honey.

As a way to protect and support your cells. Take one to two drops in a veggie capsule to take advantage of the antioxidants.

To calm occasional anxious feelings. When you’re facing a stressful day ahead or feeling worried, diffusing copaiba’s soothing woody scent may help to calm and relax you.
To unwind. Diffusing or inhaling Copaiba is deeply relaxing and soothing: try adding a few drops to a diffuser for emotional support. Or relax in a calming bath by adding two to three drops to your body wash before mixing it in the water.

As with all essential oils, if you suffer from itching, redness, or other adverse effects, stop using immediately.  Always use a carrier oil, such as fractionated coconut oil, to dilute when applying topically. 

First aid; Mix 12 drops of copaiba, 15ml aloe vera gel, and 15ml jojoba oil in a 30ml squeeze bottle. Shake well before using. Use a Q-tip and dab the affected area gently with the mixture.

Occasional aches and pains – Mix 1 to 5 drops Copaiba oil in a 10ml roller bottle topped up with a carrier oil and apply topically to the affected area.

Here is how Copaiba has helped my mother:

Where can I buy Copaiba oil?

doTERRA’s Copaiba is currently available in Australia, the USA and now the UK.  Contact me on 07557337363 or to find out more, or you can also order directly here:

As a natural substance that can support the health of a number of body systems, copaiba makes a wonderful addition to the doTERRA collection of essential oils.  It’s certainly one that I wouldn’t be without now. In the meantime, if you'd like to try some free essential oils samples, then simply complete the form below and we can send you some directly!

References and useful sites

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