Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Balsams, resinous substances, or solutions of resins in a volatile oil, which exude from certain trees, either naturally, or as a result of incisions. Some of them have a peculiar aromatic odour and pleasant pungent taste, owing to the presence of certain organic acids. The term balsam is sometimes restricted to this group alone, but is more generally used in the wider sense. They were known to the ancients, and employed by the Romans and Greeks for the preparation of incense. They are used, but not to a large extent, in medicine. Some of the more common balsams are: - Benzoin (q.v.), Storax, a grey brown liquid obtained in Asia Minor from Liquidamber Orientalis. Canada Balsam exudes from the Canadian fir, Abies balsamea, used as a cement, and, owing to its refractive index being almost identical with that of crown glass, largely employed in mounting microscopic objects. Balsam of Capaiva. or Copaiba, is an acrid oleo-resin obtained from several species of the leguminous Copaifera. Balsam of Peru is the fragrant oleo-resin obtained from the stem of Myrospermum Pereirae, a leguminous tree of Central America. Balsam of Tolu is a similar substance, obtained from M. toluiferum in Venezuela and New Granada, and employed in cough-lozenges.