The Balm of Gilead Shrub.

Botanical name: 

Balsamum syriacum rutae folio.

THIS is an eastern shrub; it grows to five or six feet high, and the branches are very tough, and, when broken, have a fragrant smell. The leaves are like those of rue, only larger and of a deeper green; the flowers are moderately large and like pea-blossoms; they are of a pale purplish hue mixed with white. The seeds are yellow and very fragrant, they are contained in a kind of pods.

No part of the shrub is used, but only the balsam which is obtained from it; the finest kind runs from the tree, of itself: there is a second sort obtained by boiling the twigs and young shoots; and a third, coarser, which rises to the top of the water, after the purer sort has been taken off. This last is almost the only kind we see, and even this is very frequently adulterated.

It is a very fine balsamic and detergent; it is good in the whites, and all weaknesses; and it is cordial at the same time that it acts as a balsam; it is best taken alone upon sugar.

The Family Herbal, 1812, was written by John Hill.