Balsam of Peru is a tree from Central America from the Fabaceae family. It is also referred to as Indian balsam or Baume de San Salvador. The resin it secretes is collected during the dry season from an incision in the trunk.
Balsam of Peru is not native to this country but from Mexico, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Ecuador, Colombia and Venezuela. Its resin was exported from the port of El Callao in Peru, which is why it is still considered balsam of Peru today.
According to the Native American legend, a balsam tree came out of the ground when two tribes at war made peace. The legend tells the story of princess Naba, daughter of the Nahualli king, lover of prince Hoit-zi from the land of the Maya, two enemy countries. The war broke out and the prince’s army was annihilated. While he was dying on the battlefield, Naba ran to help the wounded. Her father saw her give a final kiss to her lover breathing his last breath, and, absolutely furious, took his sword and savagely stabbed his daughter. The ground was bathed in blood. It would be in this very spot that trees whose resin was the color of shed blood would grow, with the power to cure wounds.