The Balsam of Peru-Tree.
Arbor balsamifera Peruviana.
THIS is a shrub of eight feet high, with slender and tough branches. The leaves are very long and narrow; the flowers are yellow and large, and the fruit is crooked. The whole plant has a fragrant smell, especially the young shoots and the buds.
The balsam of Peru is procured from the fragrant tops of this shrub, by boiling them in water; the blackish liquor rises like oil to the top, and, when cold, it is the balsam of Peru. There is a white balsam of Peru, very fragrant and fine, but it is scarce. This is the produce of the same tree, but it oozes naturally from the cracks in the bark.
The black balsam of Peru is a cordial as well as a balsam; it is excellent in disorders of the breast, and in all obstructions of the viscera; ten drops at a time given on sugar, and continued daily, have cured asthmas and beginning consumptions. It also promotes the menses, and is excellent in suppressions of urine. Outwardly applied it heals fresh wounds.