Quina leaves come from the Myroxylon (called Tolu in Columbia and Quina quina in Argentina) tree native to Central and South America. The tree trunk is tall and straight and renowned for its beautiful wood reminiscent of mahogany.
Quina has a sweet scent said to bring vanilla, green olives and cinnamon to mind. Peru Balsam, an oily substance that can be drawn from the tree, is used to soothe skin aberrations (specifically topical ulcers, acute eczema, and scabies) and is recommended to individuals suffering from a chronic cough. It is soothing because of the chemical nature of its oils. Cinnamaldehyde, one of the components of its oil, is said to slow the multiplication of certain cells that cause skin inflammation.
Peru Basalm draws its namesake from its place of exportation to Europe in the 17th century, Lima, Peru. El Salvador is now the main exporter.
This leaf can be found in the Pão de Acucar Market hanging on a wall with other herbs, beans, and spices that the owner says customers use to treat a variety of ailments.
To make a topical herbal remedy: 10 – 30 drops of Peru Balsam “best given in syrup with the yolk of an egg”
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