This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V22", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
Dr. De Hass gives the following particulars as to this far-famed specific for all diseases: The name of Gilead was sometimes applied to all trans-Jordanic Palestine; properly, however, it included only the country east of the Jordan from the head of the Dead Sea to the foot of the Lake Genesareth, of which Mizpeh Gilead was the crowning point. It was here, along the Jordan and about Jericho, the balsam -or balm once so highly prized, was procured from an aromatic tree, supposed still to be found in this region, and known as Spina Christi, or tree from which the Saviour's crown of thorns was woven. This most precious gum was obtained by making an incision in the bark of the tree; it also oozed from the leaves, and sometimes hung in drops like honey from the branches. The tree which originally was found in Palestine, was transplanted to Egypt by Cleopatra, to whom the groves near Jericho were presented by Mark Antony. The shrub was afterwards taken to Arabia and grown in the neighborhood of Mecca, whence the balsam is now exported to Europe and America, not as-balm from Gilead, but balsam of Mecca. The gardens around Heliopolis and the "Fountain of the Sun," in Egypt, no longer produce this rare plant, and it has long since ceased to be an article of export from the ancient Gilead. - Journal of Chemistry.