Balm of Gilead tree

Scientific Name: Commiphora gileadensis (L.) C. Chr.

Arabic name(s): الْبَشَامِ / بلسان مكي

English name(s): Balm of Gilead tree

Growth form: Bisham "Balm of Gilead" is a dioecious small tree or a large shrub, up to 4 m. The peeling barks and branches is the source of Balm of Gilead. The dried resin’ from this tree used to be considered much more valuable than the frankincense. The leaves of this bush tree were gathered to be mixed with henna leaves to make the henna give a darker color. It also used for brushing teeth as Miswak.

Order: Sapindales

Family: Burseraceae

Genus: Commiphora Jacq. – myrrh

Species: Commiphora gileadensis (L.) C. Chr.

Citation in the Quran:

The word Bisahm is not mentioned in the Holy Qur’an

Citation in the Hadit:

We prayed Friday, then the people joined together around Abi Raja’a Al-’Utaridy, then people asked him about the sedition (dissension), he said: two men came to ‘Ubadah bin As-Samit, and they said: O bin As-Samit, repeat the hadith you did say for us!, he said yes, I had heard the Messenger of Allah peace be upon him, says, the good money will be two of Mecca’s and Medina’s sheep which shepherd over the heads of the housings, and eating from the leaves of Qatad (Desert thorn) and Bisham(balm of Gilead) plants, and its owner and his family eats from its meat and drink from its milk , while the majority of Arab in these days will be impeded in the dissension. Prophet Mohammad said this three times, and then He said; By Him in Whose Hand my soul is! If anyone of you has three hundred sheep eat form its meat, and drink from its milk, it will be much better for him than to own like these pillars (of the mosque) gold and silver. Al-Mustadrak alaa Al-Sahihain- by Hakim Al-Nishaburi.

Habitat & Distribution:

The plant is native to South West Arabia, on mountains and in the drier coastal areas. Also occurring in Dhofar, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia and Sudan.

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