A member of the Fabaceae plant family, Dipteryx odorata is a tropical, flowering tree native to the rainforests of South America. The tree has smooth bark and grows to heights of 100 feet. The tonka bean tree, also called cumaru or kumaru, features dark green pinnate leaves which are leathery in texture. Its pink flowers ripen into a yellow-green fruit. Each fruit produces a seed that once dried is black and wrinkled on the outside with a smooth interior that is brown in color. It is this seed that is referred to as the tonka bean. Also growing in West Africa, these trees can live to an old age, sometimes reaching 1,000 years old.
Aromatic in nature, tonka beans contain coumarin which is the chemical compound that is responsible for its sweet, vanilla-like fragrance, reminiscent of the herb sweet woodruff. Coumarin is banned as a food additive in the United States and therefore the tonka bean is employed externally for its pleasing aroma. Tonka beans’ warming scent is a favorite in incense blends, perfumes, aromatherapy, potpourris, and other topical applications. It is often incorporated into incense blends with warming resins such as benzoin, copal, frankincense, and myrrh.
Precautions For external use only. We recommend that you consult with a qualified healthcare practitioner before using herbal products, particularly if you are pregnant, nursing, or on any medications.
This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. For educational purposes only.