Balsam of Peru Allergy
Balsam of Peru is one of the top five most common allergens that come back positive when people undergo skin prick testing for allergies.
Balsam of Peru is a resin collected from the trunk of the Myroxylon pereirae, a tree native to El Salvador. It got its name because during colonial days, it was shipped to Europe out of Peru.
The resin has a sweet scent similar to cinnamon and vanilla. Because of this, it’s used in fragrances and sometimes in food. Because it comes in many names or is sometimes not mentioned at all, it’s tricky to identify products that contain it. Some names to look for include China oil, balsam and myroxylon.
Balsam of Peru contains at least twenty compounds, any of which may be responsible for an allergy to it. Complicating things further for allergic people is that these compounds are also found in many common foods like cinnamon, citrus and vanilla. Depending on whether a person’s unsafe compound is present in other foods, that person may need to avoid those other foods too. Some people diagnosed by skin prick testing have to use elimination strategies to narrow down the true culprits, assuming they can be easily identified.