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Information about: Balsam

Note: Information is dated. Do not rely on it.

Balsam. An aromatic, resinous substance, flowing spontaneously or by incision from certain plants. A great variety of substances pass under this name. But in chemistry the term is properly applied only to resins and oleoresins which contain cinnamic or benzoic acid or both. Balsam is soluble in alcohol and ether. The balsams are either liquid or more or less solid; as, for example, the balm of Gilead, and the balsams of copaiba, Peru, and Tolu. Benzoin, dragon's blood, and storax are not true balsams, though sometimes called so. The balsams are used in perfumery, medicine, and the arts.