The resin of the ancient balsam tree (Commiphora Gileadensis) called Afarsemon in modern Hebrew, was considered the most desirable myrrh in the world.
A farm near the Dead Sea is the only place in the world where this biblical species of myrrh is grown today – officially recognized by the Jerusalem Temple Institute and rabbis. Its fragrance is said to have filled the temple in Jerusalem. The Judean kings rubbed its oil on themselves, and Cleopatra loved the perfume made from the balm.
Balsam wood itself was so valuable that some historians suspect the three wise men from the Orient brought it to Jesus along with frankincense and myrrh.
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“Go up to Gilead and take the balm, O virgin daughter of Egypt! In vain you have used many medicines; there is no healing for you. ” Jeremiah 46:11 In ancient days people used the balm of Gilead – most famously as a medicinal ointment, but also as a perfume, and even as an anointing oil.
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