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

J Ethnopharmacol. 2007 Jun 13;112(2):248-54. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2007.03.005. Epub 2007 Mar 7.


Copaiba oil is an oleoresin obtained from the Copaifera L. genus (Leguminoseae) commonly featured in anti-inflammatory recipe prescribed by Amazonian traditional medical practitioners and featured in Europe and North America pharmacopeias of the past. Chemical and anti-inflammatory activity investigations from the copaiba oils obtained from Copaifera multijuga Hayne, Copaifera cearensis Huber ex Ducke and Copaifera reticulata Ducke species have proved that, although similar, these oleoresins possess varied composition and anti-inflammatory activity. Chromatographic studies showed that the main compound among sesquiterpenes was beta-caryophyllene (57.5, 19.7 and 40.9%, respectively), followed by alpha-humulene, alpha-copaene, alpha-bergamotene, delta-cadinene, with different amounts in each oleoresin. Among the diterpenes, copalic acid was the main component from Copaifera multijuga Hayne (6.2%) and was found in all the oleoresins studied. In Copaifera cearensis Huber ex Ducke, clorechinic (11.3%) and hardwickiic acids (6.2%) were the major diterpenes while kaurenoic (3.9%) and kolavenic acids (3.4%) predominated in Copaifera reticulata Ducke. The pharmacologic effects of the three oleoresins were evaluated in vitro by measuring the NO production by murine macrophages and in vivo using the zymosan induced pleurisy model in mice. The Copaiba Oil from Copaifera multijuga Hayne (100 mg/kg) was the most potent, inhibiting both NO production and the pleurisy induced by zymosan. The oleoresins from Copaifera cearensis Huber ex Ducke and Copaifera reticulata Ducke were also able to inhibit NO production and the pleurisy but with less intensity.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents*
  • Balsams / chemistry*
  • Balsams / pharmacology*
  • Balsams / therapeutic use
  • Brazil
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Chromatography, Gas
  • Fabaceae / chemistry*
  • Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry
  • Macrophages, Peritoneal / drug effects
  • Macrophages, Peritoneal / metabolism
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Nitric Oxide / metabolism
  • Pleurisy / drug therapy
  • Pleurisy / microbiology
  • Sesquiterpenes / chemistry
  • Sesquiterpenes / pharmacology
  • Sesquiterpenes / therapeutic use
  • Species Specificity


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Balsams
  • Sesquiterpenes
  • copaiba balsam
  • Nitric Oxide