Balsam is the resinous exudate (or sap) which forms on certain kinds of trees and shrubs. Balsam (from Latin balsamum "gum of the balsam tree", ultimately from a Semitic source such as Hebrew basam, "spice", "perfume") owes its name to the biblical Balm of Gilead.
Balsam is a solution of plant-specific resins in plant-specific solvents (essential oils). Such resins can include resin acids, esters, or alcohols. The exudate is a mobile to highly viscous liquid and often contains crystallized resin particles. Over time and as a result of other influences the exudate loses its liquidizing components or gets chemically converted into a solid material (i.e. by autoxidation).
- pure resins (guaiac, hashish),
- gum-resins (containing gums/polysaccharides),
- oleo-gum-resins (a mixture of gums, resins and essential oils),
- oleo-resins (a mixture of resins and essential oils, e. g. capsicum, ginger and aspidinol),
- balsams (resinous mixtures that contain cinnamic and/or benzoic acid or their esters),
- glycoresins (podophyllin, jalap, kava kava),
- fossil resins (amber, asphaltite, Utah resin).
The Balsam of Matariyya
The Balsam of Matariyya was a substance famous as a panacea among physicians in the Middle East and Europe during the Antique and Medieval periods. The substance has long been used as a medicine, with early references to the substance recorded as far back as 285 BC. The Balsam of Matariyya was said to be derived from an Egyptian plant and is sometimes also referred to as the balm of Gilead or the balm of Mecca.
List of balsams
- Acaroid resin (Xanthorrhoea spp.)
- Acouchi balsam (Protium spp.)
- Asafoetida (Laser)
- Balm of Gilead
- Balm of Mecca
- Balsam fir - (Abies balsamea)
- Balsam of Peru
- Balsam of Tolu
- Balsam Specific
- Benzoin resin
- Cabreuva balsam (Myrocarpus frondosus, Myrocarpus fastigatus)
- Canada balsam
- Chinese lacquer (Toxicodendron vernicifluum)
- Copaiba balsam (Copaifera spp.)
- Corneiba balsam (Schinus terebinthifolius or Lithraea brasiliensis)
- Dragon's blood (Calamus draco)
- Frankincense (Olibanum)
- Guayacán (Guaiacum officinale)
- Gurjun balsam
- Imbauba balsam (Cecropia adenopus)
- Obira balsam (Apocynaceae)
- Umiri balsam (Humiria floribunda)
- Rosin (Colophony)
- Storax balsam
- Venice turpentine (Larch turpentine) (Larix occidentalis)
- Wallaba balsam (Eperua spp.)
- Klemens Fiebach; Dieter Grimm (2007), "Resins, Natural", Ullmann's Encyclopedia of Industrial Chemistry (7th ed.), Wiley, p. 2, doi:10.1002/14356007.a23_073
- Andrew Pengelly (2004), "Essential oils and resins", The constituents of medicinal plants (2nd ed.), Allen & Unwin, p. 102
- Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. 3 (11th ed.). 1911. .
- MILWRIGHT, MARCUS (June 2003). "The balsam of Matariyya: an exploration of a medieval panacea". Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies. 66 (2): 193–209. doi:10.1017/s0041977x03000119. ISSN 0041-977X. S2CID 163105374.