Balm of Gilead

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A fragrant oleoresin, also called Mecca balsam, obtained from the small evergreen tree, Commiphora opobalsamum, native to the Middle East. Balm of Gilead was used in perfumes and medicines. The name 'balm of Gilead' has been used as a synonym for Myrrh, which can refer to any of several resins that comes from the Commiphora family of trees. Balm of Gilead has also been used incorrectly to refer to Canada balsam.

Synonyms and Related Terms

Commiphora opobalsamum; opobalsam, Mecca balsam; myrrh; bálsamo de Judea (Esp.); bálsamo de la Meca (Esp.); Balsan-Katel

Resources and Citations

  • G.S.Brady, Materials Handbook, McGraw-Hill Book Co., New York, 1971 Comment: p. 83
  • Random House, Webster's Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language, Grammercy Book, New York, 1997
  • The Merck Index, Martha Windholz (ed.), Merck Research Labs, Rahway NJ, 10th edition, 1983 Comment: entry 973