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My Hunt for the Mystical and Mysterious Balm of Gilead

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My Hunt for the Mystical and Mysterious Balm of Gilead

I will completely blame my obsession with rare essential oils on Young Living. Some time ago, I got introduced to Young Living’s Thieves immunity essential oil blend through one of the people selling EMF protection pendant necklaces. Then, that lead to learning about Raindrop Therapy massage that the YL founder designed to bring another market to use their essential oils. Not to sound jaded, I like the company, and one day 😁, I will complete the course on how to do Raindrop Therapy Massage using essential oils.

It was 2014, I was wildly in love with this guy that was kinda interested in a relationship, and I was obsessing over “us.” He had a few health issues from a poor diet and drinking habits. So, I went into “fix it” mode. I bought him Thieves oil from Young Living to help him stay well during the Missouri winter. Then, I used his health needs as an excuse to get elaborate with my buying habits. When I was reviewing Raindrop Therapy courses, I found one of the introductory courses used a book called Healing Oils of the Bible (my AMZ affiliate link). I was a Christian at the time, so I thought I had found my calling in restoring people’s knowledge of these sacred healing oils — BALM OF GILEAD being one of them.

Eventually, my research would lead me to discover that “essential oils” were a modern renditions of macerations (using oils drawn from plants usually by submerging the plant in fats for days). I think we all know that things are not quite the same when they are heated. And, distilling (the usual process for making essential oils) leaves heavier chemical compounds behind. I mentioned this as an issue with frankincense. Studies show that the boswellic acids in frankincense have the most curative properties, but these boswellic acids are left behind in the distilling process.

I digress.

What Exactly is Balm of Gilead?

There is a lot of speculation about what Balm of Gilead actually is. In America, you will find people selling Balsam Poplar (Populus balsamifera) under the name Balm of Gilead (almost as offensive to me as selling Juniperus virginiana under the name Cedarwood).

In the Middle East, you will see Balm of Mecca (Mecca Balsam) and (Commiphora opobalsamum) and (Commiphora gileadensis) all used to refer to Balm of Gilead. It’s a great marketing ploy to list all these related but different plants under a recognizable name.

I see I purchased Commiphora opobalsamum essential oil and later a blend that I thought was a single essential oil entitled Balm of Gilead. I should have been paying closer attention.

While I would like to believe that Balm of Gilead is this myrrh tree (Commiphora opobalsamum), I am just limited to Internet research because I do not live in the Middle East where the tree originated.

But, the point of this article is to let you know that while essential oils are great, the original process for making healing balms was maceration, and making essential oils using a distilling process is not an improvement, it is a faster way of producing a finished product.

You know I’ve written a lot about the high cost of convenience. It’s not worth it if it’s costing you your health. If possible, buy the maceration or the resin so you can have the full healing virtue of the plant.

(I skipped ahead in the video for you to where the farmer talks about the Balm of Gilead. You’re Welcome.)

Now for the uses:

  • Urinary tract diseases
  • Detoxification
  • Treatment of coughs
  • Pain reliever (anti-inflammatory & analgesic)
  • Anti-bacterial benefits (kill that bad bacteria on skin)

Balm of Gilead became famous because it smelled so good. Stories fabled that Balm of Gilead groves gave off a fragrance that traveled for miles, so it was desirable for perfume-making as well as it’s healing properties. I was introduced to it as a cure all. What are your thoughts on Balm of Gilead? Do you think it is worth it to go out of your way to get rare botanicals or do you prefer to just use local fare?


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