Balm of Gilead
Balm of Gilead. Balsam of Gilead. Mecca Balsam. Balsamum Meccae v. Judiacum. Balsamum Gileadense. Baume de la Mecque, Fr.—The genuine balm of Gilead is the resinous juice of Commiphora Opobalsamum (L.) Engl. (Fam. Burseraceae), a small evergreen tree, growing on the Asiatic and African shores of the Red Sea. It was in high repute with the ancients, and is still esteemed by the Eastern nations as a medicine and cosmetic. In Western Europe and in this country it is seldom found in a state of purity, and its use has been entirely abandoned. It is described as a turbid, whitish, thick, gray, odorous liquid, becoming solid by exposure. It possesses no medicinal properties not existing in other balsamic or terebinthinate juices. It was formerly known as opobalsamum, while the dried twigs of the tree were called xylobalsamum, and the dried fruit, carpobalsamum. In this country Poplar buds are often, incorrectly, called Balm of Gilead Buds.