Copal is a generic term rooted in the indigenous Nahuatl language of Aztecs, which uses "copalli" to describe scented smoke. The most common source tree is Protium copal, a member of the Bursera family named for its resin that includes close relative Bursera microphylla, a native of Baja California.
By the 18th century, Europeans found it to be a valuable ingredient in making a suitable wood varnish. It became widely used in the manufacture of furniture and carriages. Copal has been the sacrificial blood of trees, food for the gods, smoke signals to the heavens the spiritual and physical medicine.
- Origin: East Africa
- Growth: Copal is a medium to large tree with a thick bole; it can grow up to 30 metres, more commonly to 20 metres.
- Plant family: Burseraceae
- Scent: Sweet, crisp, piney, and citrusy
- Colour: Pale yellow to orange
- Harvesting: Cut into the resin canals. And let that resin exude onto the trunk of the tree. It hardens in a couple of days. And, so then we go back and refresh the cut.
- Endangered: Not endangered... The same can't be said for the Indian Copal Tree (Vateria indica); while not related, it produces a similar resin and is critically endangered.
Copal is traditionally burned for spiritual cleansing. It is an ancient practice to help an individual, healer, or practitioner clear negative energy, purify, and provide spiritual protection. It's used to create sacred spaces, to invite creativity, abundance, and positive, loving energy.
Use copal when you are channelling powerful energies and beings. It is ideal to use when you begin your trance or meditative state. Copal is an excellent offering to the higher vibrations such as deities and gods.
Copal holds an abundance of love which is a great tool to use when entering ceremonies or rituals as it opens our hearts and vibration to a higher state. Connected to the throat chakra copal can help us release spiritual blockages.
- Copal is connected to the element of Fire and carries a masculine energy
- Associated with the Zodiac sign; Leo & Aquarius
Copal has beautiful attributes for medicinal purposes. It is beneficial in times of stress or even alleviating feelings of depression because it helps you shift your mindset and brings a sense of balance. Copal is often used to purify the environment, which increases concentration and relaxation.
Burning copal resin can be quite therapeutic and help restless nights such as insomnia. If you have trouble being around mosquitoes, use copal to keep them at bay. It Purifies the environment by being used to clean rooms.
Copal supports the organs of elimination, including the liver, kidneys, bladder, and stomach. It can be used for kidney and bladder stones and help with laryngitis and goitre. It helps fight stress and calms the mind at night to tackle insomnia.