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June 1976

The Balm of Gilead

Author Affiliations


Arch Dermatol. 1976;112(6):881. doi:10.1001/archderm.1976.01630300077021

To the Editor.—  As part of the therapy of desperation in the attempted treatment of post-herpetic neuralgia in a elderly member of the clergy, a prescription for the Balm of Gilead was written that, incidentally, he took to his pharmacist without glancing at. This suggestion was also ineffective. The Balm of Gilead was an important topical medication mentioned in the Bible: "A group of Ishmaelites who were coming from Gilead, their camels laden with gum tracacanth, balsam, and resin which they were taking down into Egypt" (Genesis 37:25).In the lamentations of the prophet during a famine (Jeremiah 8:22), there is this inquiry: "Is there no more Balm of Gilead anymore? Is there no doctor there?" We also find in Jeremiah 46:11, "Go up to Gilead in search of balm."1-3Reichert4 has shown me the fascinating book of Tahkemoni of Judah Al-Harizi. Again, this famous balm is praised: