Located between Jericho and Qumran, the Balm of the Gilead farm is a dream come true for Guy Erlich, a Jerusalemite who devoted himself to reintroduce the legendary opobalsamon in the Holy Land. The Opobalsamon, known also as balsam, was a shrub that would grow only in extreme heat conditions, and produced a distinct pleasant fragrant oil, that was in very high demand. It was used as a perfume, as a medicine, and in rituals, as burnt incense. In Roman times it was grown only in Jericho and Ein-Gedi, and it generated much revenue both for the Hasmoneans, and King Herod.
The Muslim conquest brought an end to its production, and eventually even its botanical identity was lost. Modern research suggests that the legendary perfume was produced from a shrub called Commiphora Gileadensis.
Planting a 1-acre field of this Arabian bush, Erlich had to wait a decade, but now that the bushes are mature, they are producing a very distinct, strong, refreshing and exotic scent. Erlich is finally selling the aromatic oil for a nice profit, to an essential oil marketing company.
In 2020 he became more famous for concocting with a friend a blend of balsam with olive oil and frankincense. People infected by COVID-19 reported that swallowing this therapeutic cocktail brought significant relief to their symptoms, and especially breathing. Since then, Guy is getting an increasing number of visitors, eager to buy the natural remedy, and thank him.
Visiting the Balm of the Gilead Farm
Erlich’s farm is next to Kibbutz Almog, adjacent to Road 1. He is open every day and welcomes visitors to his farm.
A tour to Erlich’s farm can be combined in a day tour to the Dead Sea.