This papery-barked tree grows to 100 feet tall and has curved branches resembling an elephant trunk, giving copal its common name, elephant tree. It has large leathery leaves, and has been used medicinally and ceremoniously by Mesoamerican people since pre-Columbian times.
WHERE IT CAN BE FOUND:
Mexico, Central America, Baja California, southwestern Arizona
PROPERTIES AND USE:
Antifungal, antiparasitic, febrifuge. Treats upper respiratory tract infections, and skin conditions such as scabies, funguses, dermatitis, impetigo. Also used to treat rheumatism, arthritis, insect bites, rashes, sore muscles, wounds, sores, dysentery, and dental cavities. Also used to ward off evil eye, black magic, and malicious spirits.
For toothache, stick a piece of the resin in the affected tooth. For skin conditions, scrape and powder the bark, and apply to the affected area For all conditions, boil a 1-inch by 3-inch piece of bark. Boil in 1 cup water for 10 minutes. Drink before eating a meal. For diarrhea, add a 1-inch by 1-inch piece of copal to 1 cup water. Allow to sit overnight before drinking. For fever, make a cold infusion by mashing 3 leaves in 1 quart water, and soaking it overnight. Sip throughout the day.