|1.||See also balsam any of various oily aromatic resinous substances obtained from certain tropical trees and used for healing and soothing|
|2.||any plant yielding such a substance, esp the balm of Gilead|
|3.||something comforting or soothing: soft music is a balm|
|4.||any aromatic or oily substance used for healing or soothing|
|5.||Also called: lemon balm an aromatic Eurasian herbaceous plant, Melissa officinalis, having clusters of small fragrant white two-lipped flowers: family Lamiaceae (labiates)|
|6.||a pleasant odour|
|[C13: from Old French basme, from Latin balsamum|
An aromatic salve or oil.
A soothing, healing, or comforting agent.
contracted from Bal'sam, a general name for many oily or resinous substances which flow or trickle from certain trees or plants when an incision is made through the bark. (1.) This word occurs in the Authorized Version (Gen. 37:25; 43:11; Jer. 8:22; 46:11; 51:8; Ezek. 27:17) as the rendering of the Hebrew word _tsori_ or _tseri_, which denotes the gum of a tree growing in Gilead (q.v.), which is very precious. It was celebrated for its medicinal qualities, and was circulated as an article of merchandise by Arab and Phoenician merchants. The shrub so named was highly valued, and was almost peculiar to Palestine. In the time of Josephus it was cultivated in the neighbourhood of Jericho and the Dead Sea. There is an Arab tradition that the tree yielding this balm was brought by the queen of Sheba as a present to Solomon, and that he planted it in his gardens at Jericho. (2.) There is another Hebrew word, _basam_ or _bosem_, from which our word "balsam," as well as the corresponding Greek balsamon, is derived. It is rendered "spice" (Cant. 5:1, 13; 6:2; margin of Revised Version, "balsam;" Ex. 35:28; 1 Kings 10:10), and denotes fragrance in general. _Basam_ also denotes the true balsam-plant, a native of South Arabia (Cant. l.c.).