balm of Gilead

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balm of Gilead

(gĭl`ēəd), 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. opobalsamum) of the family Burseraceae (incense-treeincense-tree,
common name for members of the Burseraceae, a family of sometimes deciduous shrubs and large trees found chiefly in tropical America and NE Africa. The name derives from the characteristic aromatic oils or resins that occur in all parts of the plant.
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 family) native to Africa and Asia and the source of the commercial balm of Gilead; it is referred to in the Bible in Jer. 8.22. The Ishmaelites from Gilead were bearing balm when they bought Joseph from his brothers. Balm of Gilead is still in high repute for healing in some countries.

The American balm of Gilead is a hybrid species of poplar (Populus × jackii) of the family Salicaceae (willowwillow,
common name for some members of the Salicaceae, a family of deciduous trees and shrubs of worldwide distribution, especially abundant from north temperate to arctic areas.
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 family) which has large balsamic and fragrant buds. The tree occurs in the wild where the ranges of its parents, the balsam poplar (P. balsamifera) and eastern cottonwood (P. deltoides), overlap, and was formerly a favorite dooryard tree of the northern states. The buds were used in domestic medicine. The balsam poplar has also been called balm of Gilead and tacamahac.

The name balm of Gilead has also been used for the balsam fir and for a herbaceous aromatic, shrubby plant (Dracocephalum canariense or Cedronella canariensis) of the family Labiatae (mintmint,
in botany, common name for members of the Labiatae, a large family of chiefly annual or perennial herbs. Several species are shrubby or climbing forms or, rarely, small trees.
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 family) native to the Canary Islands and cultivated in parts of the United States.

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This tree grows almost everywhere, up to 90 ft. tall (30m). When sticky little yellow-brown flower buds start popping out on the tree, (look like rice) take the bud, grind it up into a powder, mix into water and drink. It contains all the vitamins and minerals your body needs. If you feel depleted or like your body is lacking something, take this, it makes a really good nutritional supplement. Bud tea used for cough and lung problems. Bud preparations are used for everything from hemorrhoids to headaches. Inner bark tea used for vitamins, cleaning blood and overall health. Peel off the outer bark, revealing the lightcolored slimy inner bark. Eat it raw or slice it into thin strips and eat it like pasta when boiled in water. FOR PARASITES- take the inner bark, cut it into small pieces, dry it, grind it into a powder, and take it with a bit of fat, oil or butter and swallow. This shakes up the parasites so much you might see worms coming out of your butt alive. It's toxic to the worms but not to humans. The poplar/ aspen tree is considered a weed tree. It is so resilient, if you cut down the tree, another one will grow out of the stump. If you take a branch and stick it into the ground, it will grow a tree !
Edible Plant Guide © 2012 Markus Rothkranz
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Balm of Gilead


(also Mecca balsam), a viscous yellow fluid with a pleasant odor and a bitter taste. It is obtained from the bark of the balsam tree Commiphora opobalsamum, which is native to southwestern Arabia and Somalia. Balm of Gilead is produced by boiling the young branches in water. It contains essential oils and resins, which are either soluble or insoluble in alcohol. Balm of Gilead is used in the manufacture of perfume. Formerly it was used in religious rites and in medicine as an unguent.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.