balsam

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balsam

(bôl`səm), fragrant resinresin,
any of a class of amorphous solids or semisolids. Resins are found in nature and are chiefly of vegetable origin. They are typically light yellow to dark brown in color; tasteless; odorless or faintly aromatic; translucent or transparent; brittle, fracturing like glass;
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 obtained from various trees. The true balsams are semisolid and insoluble in water, but they are soluble in alcohol and partly so in hydrocarbons. They contain benzoic or cinnamic acid; these include Peru balsam and tolu balsam (both obtained from varieties of the South American tree Myroxylon balsamum of the pulsepulse,
in botany, common name for members of the Fabaceae (Leguminosae), a large plant family, called also the pea, or legume, family. Numbering about 650 genera and 17,000 species, the family is third largest, after the asters and the orchids.
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 family), benzoinbenzoin
or benzoinum
, balsamic resin, the dried exudation from the pierced bark of various species of the benzoin tree (Styrax) native to Sumatra, Java, and Thailand; appearing as red-brown to yellow-brown tears.
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, and storax. Other resins called balsams include Mecca balsam (balm of Gileadbalm of Gilead
, name for several plants belonging to different taxonomic families. The historic Old World balm of Gilead, or Mecca balsam, is a small evergreen tree (Commiphora gileadensis, also once called C.
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), Canada balsamCanada balsam,
yellow, oily, resinous exudation obtained from the balsam fir. It is an oleoresin (see resin) with a pleasant odor but a biting taste. It is a turpentine rather than a true balsam.
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, and copaibacopaiba
, oleoresin (see resin) obtained from several species of tropical South American trees of the genus Copaifera. The thick, transparent exudate varies in color from light gold to dark brown, depending on the ratio of resin to essential oil.
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. Balsams are often used in medical preparations and perfumes.

balsam

[′bȯl·səm]
(materials)
An exudate of the balsam tree; a mixture of resins, essential oils, cinnamic acid, and benzoic acid.

balsam

1. any of various fragrant oleoresins, such as balm or tolu, obtained from any of several trees and shrubs and used as a base for medicines and perfumes
2. any of various similar substances used as medicinal or ceremonial ointments
3. any of certain aromatic resinous turpentines
4. any plant yielding balsam
5. any of several balsaminaceous plants of the genus Impatiens, esp I. balsamina, cultivated for its brightly coloured flowers