The gum has a vanilla-like smell and taste and is used as in the fragrance and health industries, as food additive and flavoring in cough syrups, soft drinks, confectioneries, and chewing gums. In Britain, balsam is used topically for scabies, prurigo (chronic inflammation of the skin), pruritus, and acute eczema, as well as taken internally for asthma and bronchitis and to generally lessen mucous secretions.
It is used extensively in topical preparations for the treatment of wounds, ulcers, and scabies. It can be found in diaper rash ointments, hair tonics, antidandruff preparations, and feminine hygiene sprays and as a natural fragrance in soaps, detergents, creams, lotions, and perfumes. Additionally, it is a cough suppressant and respiratory aid used in cough lozenges and syrups, for sore throats, and as a vapor inhalant for respiratory ailments.
Balsam of Peru have been documented to have antiseptic, antiparasitic, and antibacterial properties as well as to promote the growth of epithelial (tissue) cells. The plants have been reported to inhibit Mycobacterium tuberculosis as well as the common ulcer-causing bacteria, H. pylori in test-tube studies.
Balsam of Peru is widely available now in the U.S. natural products market. The resinous gum or the essential oil distilled from the gum is used topically, in aromatherapy, and taken internally in small amounts. Generally its topical use is recommended for skin rashes, eczema, and skin parasites. In aromatherapy, it is considered warming, opening, and comforting and is used in various nervous tension and stress formulas.