|BALM, OR MORE PROPERLY, BALSAM |
The gum or inspissated juice which exudes from the balsam-tree, the Opobalsamum, which was anciently frequent in Judea, and particularly in Gilead, Jeremiah 8:22; 46:11. It was reckoned very valuable in the cure of external wounds. The true balsam-tree is an evergreen, a native of Southern Arabia and Abyssinia, and is about fourteen feet high. It yields its gum in very small quantities. At the present day, this is collected chiefly in Arabia, between Mecca and Medina, and is therefore sometimes called the balm of Mecca. Its odor is exquisitely fragrant and pungent. It is very costly, and is still in the highest esteem among the Turks and other oriental nations, both as a medicine and as a cosmetic for beautifying the complexion, Genesis 37:25; Jeremiah 51:8; Ezekiel 27:17.