What is Copaiba Oil? A Complete Guide to This Powerful Essential Oil


Copaiba oil is a versatile essential oil derived from the resin of trees in the Copaifera genus. These trees, found primarily in South and Central America, are a rich source of this beneficial oil. Indigenous tribes from these regions have historically harnessed Copaiba oil for its numerous health advantages, a tradition supported by modern research. This article explores the extraction method, traditional uses, and extensive health benefits of Copaiba oil.

Copaiba essential oil is derived from the resin of trees in the Copaifera genus
Copaiba essential oil is derived from the resin of trees in the Copaifera genus

Where Does Copaiba Oil Come From?

The Nukini using sustainable extraction methods to collecion their Copaiba oil from the forest
The Nukini using sustainable extraction methods to collecion their Copaiba oil from the forest

The resin that forms Copaiba oil is harvested from various Copaifera species, including C. officinalis, C. reticulata, C. coriacea, and C. langsdorffii. These species thrive in tropical regions, such as Brazil, Venezuela, Colombia, and Costa Rica. To collect the resin, holes are drilled into the tree trunks, allowing the resin to flow out and be gathered.

For commercial use, this resin is typically steam-distilled to concentrate the essential oil. Notably, Indigenous tribes of the Amazon, including the Nukini, have developed sustainable extraction methods, preserving the trees while procuring high-quality Copaiba oil.

How do the Tribes use Copaiba Oil?

Indigenous tribes in the Amazon rainforest have a long-standing tradition of using Copaiba oil for a variety of medicinal and practical purposes.

  • Medicinal Uses: Thanks to its anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, and analgesic properties, Copaiba oil serves as a remedy for a range of health conditions. It is topically applied for skin issues such as psoriasis, eczema, and fungal infections, and used internally for digestive and respiratory ailments.
  • Dental Health: Indigenous tribes have exploited the antibacterial properties of Copaiba oil in oral health, using it to treat conditions like gingivitis and oral ulcers.
  • Insect Repellent: Due to its strong scent, Copaiba oil is often used as a natural insect repellent, which proves especially useful in the insect-rich Amazon rainforest.
  • Pain Relief: The oil is commonly used as a pain reliever for muscle and joint discomfort. It's incorporated into traditional massage practices to alleviate aches and pains.
  • Spiritual and Ritualistic Uses: Some tribes have used Copaiba oil during spiritual rituals for its calming and grounding effects.

These traditional uses, passed down through generations, attest to the diverse applications of Copaiba oil.

Copaiba resin oozing from the tree
Copaiba resin oozing from the tree

What Are the Scientific Benefits of Copaiba Essential Oil?

Copaiba essential oil, long cherished for its myriad traditional uses, is now gaining recognition in the scientific community for its therapeutic properties. Modern research is corroborating the wisdom of indigenous tribes, demonstrating that Copaiba essential oil possesses potent anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antioxidant, and antibacterial properties. These attributes contribute to a wealth of health benefits that are being investigated and confirmed by numerous scientific studies. Here are some of the top scientifically-proven benefits of Copaiba essential oil:

Natural Anti-Inflammatory

Multiple studies demonstrate Copaiba oil has remarkable anti-inflammatory properties. It reduces swelling and helps soothe pain when used internally or topically. Theses effects can help arthritic joints, injuries, hemorrhoids, sore throats, and many inflammatory conditions.

Neuroprotective Effects

A study showed that Copaiba oil exhibited neuroprotective effects when administered after injuries to the central nervous system. The oil decreased brain tissue damage by nearly 40%. This nerve-protecting quality may help stroke victims and those with head trauma or spinal cord injuries.

Liver Damage Protection

Research on rats showed that Copaiba oil could reduce liver tissue damage caused by the pain-reliever acetaminophen when it was administered before taking the medication. The oil had protective effects on the liver when used preventatively.

Dental/Oral Health

Copaiba oil has natural antibacterial properties. A study showed it could stop the growth of bacteria that leads to dental caries and cavities, like Streptococcus mutans. Using Copaiba oil in dental care products like mouthwash may protect oral health.

Skin Healing

Applying copaiba oil directly to the skin aids healing of cuts, wounds, bites, blemishes and infections thanks to its antiseptic qualities. It also helps tighten, smooth and brighten the skin’s appearance. A study showed it significantly decreased pimples and acne.

Calming Effects

Copaiba oil aromatherapy provides a soothing, uplifting effect on emotions. Inhaling the woodsy scent stimulates limbic system activity in the brain, helping to reduce anxiety, relieve stress, and elevate mood. Diffusing copaiba in your home promotes a calm environment.

Reduces Fungal Growth

Research indicates Copaiba oil has antifungal properties against a range of fungal species and infections. Applying it topically and taking it internally may help treat fungal growth on the skin, nails, and even in the digestive tract.

Respiratory Aid

Copaiba oil helps open up the airways, thin mucus in the lungs, fight lung inflammation and treat respiratory infections. Using it aromatically and applying it to the chest provides relief for issues like bronchitis, congestion, colds, cough and asthma.

Pain Relief

Studies demonstrate Copaiba oil exhibits significant pain-relieving effects when used internally and topically. It may provide relief for chronic ongoing pain conditions when used regularly. Massaging diluted Copaiba oil on sore muscles and joints eases aches.

Copaiba tree in seed
Copaiba tree in seed

How can I use Copaiba Essential Oil?

Copaiba essential oil boasts a remarkable versatility. Whether applied topically, orally, or diffused to fill your surroundings with its calming, earthy aroma, it offers a myriad of benefits. With its unique blend of properties, Copaiba oil can become an integral part of your daily wellness routine. Let's delve into the varied ways you can incorporate this potent essential oil into your life.

Copaiba for health and wellness:

For issues such as arthritis, injuries, hemorrhoids, and various skin conditions, a topical application of the oil can help reduce inflammation, relieve pain, and promote wound healing.

If you're feeling tense or experiencing body aches, adding a few drops of Copaiba oil to your bath can create a soothing soak that eases discomfort and leaves you feeling relaxed and rejuvenated.

Incorportate Copaiba into your beauty and skincare routines:

Adding Copaiba oil into your skincare routine can transform your skin health. Its antiseptic properties can help heal skin issues you might be facing, such as cuts, wounds, blemishes, and even fungal infections on the skin and nails. The oil's astringent qualities can tighten your skin, minimize the appearance of wrinkles, and impart a youthful glow. If acne is a concern, Copaiba oil, with its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, is proven to help decrease breakouts. Additionally, it provides an extra layer of protection against harmful UV rays, further enhancing your skin's health and resilience.

Embrace Copaiba oil for improved respiratory health and relaxation:

Diffuse or inhale the oil through steam to help open up your airways, combat any respiratory infections you might be facing, and ease personal feelings of anxiety.

For a calming effect, massage diluted oil onto your temples, the back of your neck, and the bottoms of your feet. This can help soothe your nervous system and promote a restful night's sleep, personalizing your wellness journey.

Ease menstrual discomfort with Copaiba oil:

If you're struggling with menstrual cramps, Copaiba oil can offer relief. Simply dilute a few drops of the oil with a carrier oil and gently massage it onto your abdomen. The oil's natural anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties can help alleviate the pain and discomfort often associated with menstrual cramps, providing you with a natural, personal solution for this common issue.

These versatile uses of Copaiba oil, backed by traditional wisdom and increasingly validated by modern science, make it a valuable addition to your wellness toolkit.

Is Copaiba Essential Oil Safe to Use?

When 100% pure therapeutic grade Copaiba essential oil is used, it's generally safe for aromatic, topical, and internal applications. For topical use, always dilute it with a carrier oil like avocado, jojoba, almond, or grapeseed to prevent potential skin irritation. A common dilution guideline is three to five drops of essential oil per ounce of carrier oil or lotion. Before applying, perform a skin patch test to ensure no adverse reactions. Once properly prepared, massage the blend into the skin for best results.

Avoid direct contact with eyes and mucous membranes. Those with sensitive skin should use with caution. Do not use copaiba oil if pregnant or nursing.

Potential side effects when using Copaiba essential oil internally may include stomach upset, diarrhea, headache, or sleep problems if too much is consumed. Interactions with medications like lithium and warfarin are also possible.

Always consult your doctor before using Copaiba essential oil if you have any ongoing medical conditions or take any medications. It is crucial to purchase copaiba oil from a reputable source to ensure purity and safety.

How to Store my Essential Oils Safety

Proper storage and handling of essential oils are critical to maintaining their potency, extending their shelf life, and ensuring their safe use.

Essential oils, including Copaiba oil, should be stored in a dark, cool place, away from direct sunlight and extreme temperatures. Exposure to heat and light can degrade the oil's chemical composition, reducing its effectiveness and therapeutic benefits.

Additionally, essential oils should always be kept out of reach of children and pets. Despite their natural origins, essential oils are highly concentrated and can be harmful if swallowed or used improperly. Children and pets may not understand these risks, making it crucial to store the oils in a secure location.

For added safety, consider storing your essential oils in a locked cabinet or box. This prevents accidental access by children or pets, further reducing the risk of misuse.

Lastly, never leave essential oils near open flames as they are flammable. Avoid using them near candles, gas stoves, or fireplaces to prevent accidental ignition.

By following these safety tips, you can ensure the longevity of your essential oils and their safe use in your household.


Copaiba essential oil is an extremely versatile oil that offers an abundance of health benefits, from reducing inflammation and pain to protecting the skin, lungs, immune system, liver and mind. This sacred oil has been treasured in South America for thousands of years and continues to be a highly valued natural healing remedy today. With its rich history, safety when used properly, and laundry list of evidenced-based therapeutic uses, copaiba is an essential oil definitely worth having in your collection.

Research Findings on Copaiba Oil

1/ Veiga Junior, V. F. et al. (2010). Chemical composition and anti-inflammatory activity of Copaifera spp. oleoresins. Phytotherapy Research, 24(4), 509-514.

2/ Veiga Junior, V. F. et al. (2007). Chemical composition and anti-inflammatory activity of copaiba oils from Copaifera cearensis Huber ex Ducke, Copaifera reticulata Ducke and Copaifera multijuga Hayne–a comparative study. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 112(2), 248-254.

3/ Sousa, J. P. et al. (2017). Antibacterial and antifungal activities of copaiba oil: A systematic review. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 17(1), 1-14.

4/ Costa, E. V. et al. (2015). Antimicrobial activity of Copaiba oil against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus isolated from a tertiary hospital in Brazil. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2015, 1-7.

5/ Gomes, N. M. et al. (2011). Antifungal activity of the essential oil of Copaiba (Copaifera sp.) against Candida albicans. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 125(3), 588-592.

6/ Andrade, L. N. et al. (2018). Anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects of Copaifera spp. oleoresins. Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, 17(1), 20-26.

7/ Da Silva, A. C. A. et al. (2020). Antimicrobial activity of copaiba oil: A review and a call for further research. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 21(13), 4643.

8/ Gomes, N. M. et al. (2018). Copaiba oil: An alternative to improve skin elasticity. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2018, 1-9.

9/ Gonzaga, M. L. C. et al. (2016). Copaiba oil: Chemical composition and antioxidant activity. International Journal of Cosmetic Science, 38(3), 289-297.

10/ Pires, A. F. et al. (2015). Photoprotective potential of Copaifera spp. oleoresins against UVB radiation-induced oxidative stress and DNA damage in vitro. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 63(44), 9799-9808.

11/ Andrade, L. N. et al. (2019). The efficacy of Copaiba oil on skin hydration and emolliency. Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, 18(5), 1489-1493.

12/ Vieira, A. et al. (2011). Copaiba oil: An alternative to traditional therapies for wound healing. Journal of Wound Care, 20(1), 5-10.

13/ Andrade, L. N. et al. (2012). Antifungal activity of copaiba oil (Copaifera officinalis) against dermatophytes. Brazilian Journal of Microbiology, 43(4), 1302-1308.

14/ Freires, I. A. et al. (2016). Antifungal activity of essential oils on dermatophytes. Journal of Applied Microbiology, 121(6), 1461-1472.

15/ Costa, G. M. et al. (2019). Copaiba oil inhibits the growth of Candida albicans by affecting the cell membrane. Journal of Applied Oral Science, 27, e20180435.

16/ Sousa, J. P. et al. (2017). Anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects of copaiba oil (Copaifera spp.) in a rat model of injury-induced neuropathic pain. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 199, 158-167.

17/ Ferreira, L. G. et al. (2019). Copaiba oil as an alternative therapeutic agent for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. International Journal of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, 14, 2385-2398.

18/ Marçal, P. H. et al. (2018). Antitussive and bronchodilator activities of copaiba oil and kaurenoic acid from Copaifera spp. Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology, 70(2), 289-297.

19/ Gomes, L. E. et al. (2020). Copaiba oil ameliorates urinary incontinence in rats by modulating oxidative stress and inflammation. Frontiers in Pharmacology, 11, 1-10.

20/ Leite, L. H. et al. (2019). Anti-hypertensive effect of Copaifera paupera Huber ex Ducke oleoresin in hypertensive rats. Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology, 71(2), 216-225.

21/Boiani, M. et al. (2017). Anti-inflammatory and cardiovascular effects of copaiba oil. Journal of Medicinal Food, 20(8), 755-761.