Balsam refers to a range of aromatic resins produced by various plants. It may flow naturally or be harvested from an incision. True balsams contain oils and esters of either benzoic or cinnamic acid. The term is, however, applied to many substances which resemble true balsams.
True balsams include Balsam of Peru and Balsam of Tolu, both used in perfumery and as an ingredient in chrisms. The biblical balm of Gilead, also called Mecca balsam, is also a true balsam, but Canada balsam, which is also called "balm of Gilead", is not.