Commiphora gileadensis is a plant that was cultivated in ancient times in the land of Israel, particularly in the oases of the Dead Sea Basin — Ein Gedi and Jericho. The plant, also known as balsam, was renowned for the expensive perfume that was produced from it, as well as for exceptional medicinal properties that were attributed to its sap, wood, bark, and seeds. This article presents the historical sources describing these health-related properties and preliminary laboratory studies demonstrating the pharmacological effects of balsam sap. Investigations of the antimicrobial activity of C. gileadensis showed the plant sap inhibitory effect against Bacillus cereus and the blocking of Pseudomonas aeruginosa lectins. These results corroborate the historical sources crediting the usefulness of balsam sap as an antiseptic agent.
Key words: Commiphora gileadensis, balsam, resin, perfume, antimicrobial effects.
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