Breu Claro Copal is the resin of the Bursera Heptaphyllum tree. It is part of the Frankincense and Myrrh family of trees. Some refer to this resin as Brazilian Frankincense.
Also called Breu Branco locally, this Copal is sustainably collected from the trunks of the trees where it exudes naturally. The trees are not tapped, cut, scraped or harmed in any way to bring us this resin.
It has a lovely woody, soft green fragrance when burned on hot coal or an electric burner.
Breu Claro resin is a traditional incense in ceremonies/rituals and the home. It is also used in traditional medicine, dissolved in oil for skin-related problems. Like most tree resins, Protium heptaphyllum has a deep affinity with the skin, respiratory system, muscles and joints.
This resin can be infused in a warm carrier oil in a water bath if used in skincare, cosmetics or therapeutic products. Once it has given itself to the oil, the infusion can be sedimented and filtered to provide a healing aromatic base for cremes, salves, lotions, ointments and medicated oils. This oil infusion can also be used in the creation of solid perfumes. I usually prepare these oleo extracts at a ratio of 1:3 and filter them through a metal mesh coffee filter.
As an incense, Protium heptaphyllum resin burns with a pleasant green fragrance with light floral notes.
If you burn Breu Claro on an electric incense burner at a low temperature, don’t be surprised if you notice an accumulation of fine white needles inside the lid. This is not mould, but the natural resin acids rising with the heat and reforming themselves in their natural crystalline pattern upon cooling.
Breu Claro dissolves in alcohol and can be used to impregnate incense papers. The paper is first dipped in a solution of Salpeter and water, left to dry completely, then impregnated with a solution of resin and alcohol. When dry, the paper will burn evenly through due to the Salpeter, releasing the scent of Copal Negro as it burns. Recipes for incense papers can be found online. Many different resins and aromatic materials can be incorporated into incense papers.