(From the Hebrew terms baal sa-mum, the prince of oils,) called also balsamum genuinum. antiquorum, bulsamelaeon, Egypitiacum balsamum; bals. Gi/eadense, Asiaticum, Judaicum, e Meccha et Alpini; oleum balsami, xylobalsamum, opobalsamum, the balm of Gilead; a resinous juice, obtained from an evergreen tree, or shrub, of Arabia. The finest is of a greenish colour, and obtained by incision of the branches, called opobalsamum. The second is called carpobalsamum, expressed from the fruit, which is about the size of a small pea with a short pedicle, of a roundish or oval figure, pointed at the top, composed of a dark brown or reddish black wrinkled bark, marked with four ribs from top to bottom, and a whitish or yellowish medullary substance. This fruit, when in perfection, is said to have a pleasant, warm, bitterish taste, and a fragrant smell, resembling that of the balsam itself; but such as we now meet with in the shops is almost without smell or taste. It was only ordered in the Theriaca Andromachi, and Mithridate, for which, by the London college, cubebs were substituted; though now both these compositions are properly rejected. The third sort is reddish, called xylobalsamum, and obtained from a decoction of the branches, (Bruce). The plant was supposed to be the amyris Gileadensis and opobalsamum Lin. Wildeuow, vol. ii. p. 334. Gledisch has formed a new genus of the a. opobalsamum, which he styles balsamea Meccanensis. It is a variety of the a. opobalsamum, which is scarcely distinct as a species from the a. Gileadensis. The first sort, which naturally exudes from the plant, is scarcely known in Europe. Prosper Alpinus says, that it is at first turbid and whitish, of a strong pungent smell like that of turpentine, but much sweeter and more fragrant, of a bitter acrid astringent taste; on being kept it becomes thin, limpid, light, greenish, and then of a golden yellow; after which it is thick like turpentine, and loses much of its fragrance. Its smell resembles that of citrons, or rather a mixture of rosemary and sage flowers.

All the balsams agree in their general qualities, differing only in the degrees of warmth, fragrance, pungency, and gratefulness. The balm of Gilead is a warm stimulant, and supposed to be a cordial diuretic; but the latter quality is greatly increased by the addition of a fixed alkaline salt. It is supposed to be also an expectorant, which it may be in a slight degree; but its chief use in the East is as a cosmetic. See Lady Mary Wortley Montague's Letters.

The balm of Gilead is generally used in medicine as a cordial; and, from its stimulus,is supposed to restrain mucous discharges from the vagina and urethra. In tabes it has been commended; but, like the turpentine, is probably too stimulant.

The Canadian balm of Gilead fir affords a balsam that is often imposed for the genuine sort. If the true balsam is dropped in water when thin, it spreads itself on the surface, imparting to the water much of its taste and smell; and the grosser part, remaining at the top, is thick enough to be taken up with a needle; this is reckoned a mark of its being genuine. If pure balsam is dropped on a woollen cloth, it may be washed off out leaving the least stain or mark, but the adulterated kind sticks to the place. The pure coagulates with milk, but the adulterated will not. The dose is from fifteen to fifty drops.

Balsamum traumaticum. See Benzoinum.

Balsamum guldonis. See Anodynum balsamum.

Balsamum ge.nuinum antiquorum. See Balsa-mum.

Balsamum arcaei. See Elemi.

Balsamum authriticum is the acid of vitriol sheathed with olive oil, in the proportion of four to one.

Balsamum canadense. We have already remarked, that balsams, in the strictest sense of the term, are turpentines of different odours and flavours, as combined with different essential oils. The present balsam is a striking instance of this resemblance, as it differs little from the turpentines, and is produced from the pinus balsamea and Canadensis Lin. Sp. Pi. 1421.

Balsamum carpathicum is produced from the pinus cembra Lin. Sp. Pi. 1419, which grows on the Carpathian mountains in the Tyrol, and different parts of Germany. It is called balsamum libani; and the oil distilled from it, ol. templinum, and by the Germans krummholzael. It differs little from the turpentines.

All these natural balsams, with those to be afterwards described, agree in being natural compounds of an oily and a resinous substance, with an acid principle. Their first use seems to have been external; and in wounds, with the gluten of the blood, they formed a coa-gulum, which checked the bleeding, and preserved the injured part from the air. They in time became favourite remedies in internal bleedings, but their irritation is found to be injurious, and in such cases balsams are no longer trusted.

Balsamum copaibae is obtained by incision of the trunk of the copaifera officinalis Lin. Sp. Pi. 557. It is colourless when first obtained, but becomes yellow by time, without losing its transparency. The smell is fragrant; the taste aromatic, bitter, and somewhat sharp, very permanent on the tongue. It affects with some acrimony the urinary organs, and is said to render the urine bitter. It unites with fixed and volatile oils, and with spirit of wine. By distillation in water we separate the oil from the resin; and, in the former, the taste and smell of the balsam are concentrated: if the operation is carefully performed, about one half of the balsam rises into the receiver, in the form of oil.

It is given in all the diseases of the urinary organs when no inflammation is present. In gleets and in leucorrhcea it is often employed; in gonorrhoea it was once a favourite remedy, but is now disused. In diseases of the kidneys it is still employed, though less frequently than usual; and, in haemorrhoids it is occasionally trusted. The dose is from thirty to sixty drops, mixed with water by means of an egg. The balsam copaibae is occasionally adulterated with turpentine, but its virtue is not greatly impaired by the fraud.

Balsamum locatelli. This preparation, now disused, consisted of two parts of oil with one of wax, coloured with dragon's blood or red sanders. In some formulae balsam of Peru was added. It was used as an expectorant.

Balsamum Peruvianum, from its country Peru; balsam of peru, Putzochill, Indian, Mexican, and American balsam, and Carbareiba, the name of the tree from which, according to Piso and Ray, it is taken. It is the inyroxylon peruiferum Lin. Sp. Pi. Wildenow, vol. ii. p. 526. Nat. order leguminosa. The native balsam which naturally exudes is white; but this we never meet with. The native balsam inspissated is the white styrax, or the dry balsam of commerce. It is of a reddish colour, less hot and more fragant than that usually in the shops. What is commonly sold is the black or dark red balsam, which is. a decoction of the branches inspissated. Its smell is highly fragrant; its taste warm, bitterish, and acrid, very permanent on the back part of the tongue. It does not mix with water, but by long agitation imparts to it a fragrant smell and some of the properties of the balsam. It dissolves readily in spirit of wine, and is decomposed by fixed oils,"which unite with the essential oil and acid, leaving a resin. It does not unite with other balsams. Distilled with water it gives about one-sixteenth of a reddish essential oil, with difficulty dissolved in water: disiiiled per se this oil is empyreumatic; with a moderate, cautiously regulated heat, a small proportion of benzoic acid may be separated from it. Baume supposes that it is terated by the second oil which arises from benzoin, digested on poplar buds. This is not very probable, but no very injurious fraud. The dose is from five to twenty drops, suspended in. water by the mucilage of gum arabic.

Internally it is a warm stimulant and tonic, useful in dyspepsia, in atonic gout, in mucous discharges, amenorrhoea, and humoral asthmas. Where the bronchial glands are greatly relaxed, it is useful even though the lungs are ulcerated, given in small doses. It is best exhibited in pills with aloes and aromatics, when used as a corroborant, and in a saline draught in hectics.

Externally it is an useful application to relaxed ulcers not disposed to heal.

Balsamum rakasirae resembles the Tolu balsam, and is brought from India, but its source we are ignorant of, and some have supposed it to be a composition. In its qualities it resembles the Tolu balsam.

Balsamum sulphuris is a very fetid, stimulating balsam, prepared by uniting sulphur with a large proportion, sometimes eight times its weight, of olive oil. It was usually given in hectic cases, but now no longer employed. When there has been a considerable relaxation of the glands, and the expectoration stopped from debility, we think that we have seen it of service. It is sometimes made with petroleum instead of olive oil, and is then most offensive, and probably injurious.

Balsamum sulphuris terebinthixatum and anisa-tum are made by digesting the sulphur with oil of turpentine, and in the latter adding the oil of aniseseed. They are now confined to veterinary medicine.

Balsamum tolutanum is obtained by incision. The tree is a native of Carthagena; toluifera balsamum Lin. Sp. Pi. 549. It is of a reddish yellow, transparent and tenacious, but from age brittle. The smell is fragrant, the taste slightly warm and aromatic. It consists of oily, with, a slight proportion of resinous, particles, united with a large one of benzoic acid, and is from hence partly soluble in watery liquids, though it is wholly dissolved in spirit of wine. The watery solution is the basis of the old syrupus balsamicus, now syrupus tolutanus; and, in spirit, it forms the tinctura balsami tolutani. It is little employed in medicine, though it is at least a safe, if not an effectual, expectorant. In gleets it is sometimes useful, and has been applied to wounds and ulcers, when a slight stimulus was required.

Balsamum vitae, beaume de vie, consisted of a great variety of the warmest and most grateful essential oils, with balsam of Peru, dissolved in highly rectified Spirit of wine; but it is now greatly abridged in the number of ingredients, and little used.