BALSAM (צֳרִי, H7661, a medicinal gum). As has been said under Balm, there are distinguished botanists who believe that צֳרִי, H7661, refers to Balanites aegyptiaca, the Jericho balsam which is found around the Dead Sea and in the Jericho Plain. The tree, normally ten ft. tall, grows in the desert, bearing curious clusters of greenish flowers. The branches are slender and thorny, and the leaves leathery and woolly. The oil from the fruits is said to have healing and medicinal properties. The fruits can produce a fairly strong wine.
The gum is fragrant and sticky. It has been used to heal wounds and to cure stomach troubles.
Consideration must be given to the Mastic tree (Pistacia lentiscus). This grows ten ft. high, and has panicles of flowers followed by small fruits. Small cuts made into the branches or trunk cause an exudation of gum known commercially as “Mastick” or “Mastich.” The tear-like globules are yellowish white, translucent, aromatic and astringent.
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)