Balm of Gilead

GILEAD, BALM OF gĭl’ ĭ əd (צֳרִי גִלְעָ֔ד). An aromatic gum of supposed medicinal value (Jer 8:22; 46:11; 51:8). Though it is not clear whether it was produced in Gilead (q.v.), it was traded both S into Egypt (Gen 37:25; 43:11) and N into Tyre (Ezek 27:17), and the texts imply that the market was controlled by the people of Pal. For a botanical discussion see HDB I, pp. 235f. See Balm.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)

The people of Jericho today prepare for the benefit of pilgrims a "Balm of Gilead" from the zaqqum (Balanites Aegyptiaca), but this has no serious claims to be the balm of antiquity. If we are to look beyond the borders of modern Palestine we may credit the tradition which claims that Mecca balsam, a product of Balsamodendron Gileadense and B. opobalsamum, was the true "balm," and Post (HDB, I, 236) produces evidence to show that these plants were once grown in the Jordan valley. Yet another suggestion, made by Lagarde, is that the tsori = sturax, and if so then "balm" would be the inspissated juice of the Storax- tree (Stytax officinalis), a common inhabitant of Gilead.

See also BALM.