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By Witchipedia, Herbs

Balm of Gilead & its Magickal Uses

Updated on:


Written by: Dawn Black (Witchipedia)


Reviewed by: Tina Caro

Balm of Gilead is mentioned in the Bible and scholars are not entirely sure what product or plant is being referenced. It may be the Arabian Balsam Tree Commiphora gileadensis, The Turpentine tree or Terebinth Pistacia terebinthus or its close relative, also called Terebinth Pistacia palaestina – or perhaps all three.

However, modern North American settlers named the Poplar after the biblical balm when they were introduced to its soothing properties and pleasing scent.

So, for modern practitioners, Balm of Gilead is the resin that exudes from the early spring buds of various cottonwood poplar species including balsam poplarPopulus balsamifera/, narrowleaf balsam poplar Populus augustifolia, and cottonwood Populus trichocarpa, which are native to the Northern and Western part of North America.


The identity of the biblical Balm of Gilead remains uncertain, with various potential plants suggested, including Commiphora gileadensis, Pistacia terebinthus, and Pistacia palaestina.

In modern practice, Balm of Gilead refers to the resin obtained from the spring buds of cottonwood poplar species, such as balsam poplar, narrowleaf balsam poplar, and cottonwood, native to Northern and Western North America.

Balm of Gilead resin can be utilized in incense or oil for ritual purposes, suitable for consecration and spirit communication, attracting spirits with its fragrance.

Magickal Uses

Balm of Gilead is a sticky red resin that can be used in incense or dissolved into oil for use during ritual. The scent is suitable for all ritual purposes as a general-purpose holy incense, for fumigation for consecration.

It is said to draw spirits to its fragrance, so it is a good one to use when you are making offerings or attempting to communicate with the dead or other spirit beings.

Macerating the buds in oil infuses it with its fragrance which can be worn to draw love, rekindle the interest of a lover who is wandering and to help your lover forgive and forget. This oil can also be used as a dressing oil. It is also effective for healing and soothing skin irritations, bruising and swelling.

Balm of Gilead corresponds to the planet Jupiter.

About Morningbird (Witchipedia's Founder)

I am a homesteading hearth witch who grew up along the shores of the Hudson River and has lived among the Great Lakes for the past 20 years. Together with my musical husband and youngest child, I steward a one-acre mini homestead with herb, vegetable and flower gardens, chickens, ducks, geese and rabbits, and areas reserved for native plants and wildlife. 

I have three children; two are grown, and I have been practicing magick alone and with family and friends for over 30 years.

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