CHELBENAH (Nzpr) is mentioned in Exod.
xxx. 34, as one of the substances from which the incense for the sanctuary was to be prepared. The Hebrew word is very similar to the Greek xaX Pdvn, which occurs as early as the time of Hippo crates. The substance is more particularly de scribed by Dioscorides, who gives 11E76771ov as an additional name, and states that it is an exudation I produced by a ferula in Syria. So Pliny (xii. 25), as translated by Holland, Moreover we have from Syria out of the same mountain, Amanus, another kind of gum, called galbanum, issuing out of an herb-like fennelgeant, which some call by the name of the said resin, others stagonotis. The best gal banum, and which is most set by, is grisly and clear, withal resembling hammoniacum.' Theo phrastus had long previously (!list. Pl. ix. 7) said that galbanum flows from a Panax of Syria. In both cases it is satisfactory to find a plant of the same natural family of Umbelliferae pointed out as yielding this drug, because the plant has not yet been clearly ascertained. The Arabs, however, seem to have been acquainted with it, as they give its names. Thus, galbanum' in Persian works has barzu assigned to it as the Arabic, bireeja as the Hindoostanee, with khulyait and metcuien as the Greek names (evident corruptions of xcapcivri and µerd reov, arising from errors in the reading of the diacritical points) : Xinneh and nafeel are stated to be names of the plant, which is described as being jointed, thorny, and fragrant (Royle, Must. !lineal. Rot. p. 23). Lobel made an attempt to ascertain the plant by sowing some seeds which he found attached to the gum of commerce : Ori tur in hortis nostris ho=c pervenusta planta semine copioso, lato, foliaceo, aromatic°, reperto Antwer pice in galbani lachryme' (Obs. p. 431). The plant which was thus obtained is the Ferula ferulago of Linnreus, a native of N. Africa, Crete, and Asia Minor. It has been objected, however, that it does not yield galbanum in any of these situa tions ; but the same objection might be made, though erroneously, to the mastich-tree, as not yielding mastich, because it does not do so except in a soil and climate suitable to it. Other plants, as the Bubon galbanum and gummiferum, have, in consequence, been selected, but with less claim, as they are natives of the Cape of Good Hope. The late Professor Don, having found some seeds of an timbelliferous plant sticking to the galbanum of commerce, has named the plant, though yet un known, Galbanum officinale. These seeds, however, may or may not have belonged to the galbanum plant. Dr. Lindley has suggested another plant, which he has named Opaidia galban fora, and which grows in Khorassan, in Durrood, whence specimens were sent to this country by Sir John M 'Neill, as yielding an inferior sort of ammoniacum. Upon
the whole, it is evident that the plant is yet to be ascertained. Galbanum is in the present day im ported into this country, both from the Levant and from India. That from the latter country is ex ported from Bombay, having been first imported thither, probably from the Persian Gulf. It is therefore probable that it may be produced in the countries at the head of that gulf, that is, in the northern parts of Arabia or in Persia (portions of which, as is well known, were included in the Syria of the ancients), perhaps in Kurdistan, which nearly corresponds with ancient Assyria. The later Greeks, finding the country to the north of Palestine subject to the Assyrians, called the country Assyria, or by contraction Syria. It is on this ac count that in classical writers the names Assyria and Syria are so often found interchanged (1. c. p. 244).
Galbanum, then, is either a natural exudation, or obtained by incisions from some umbelliferous plant. It occurs in commerce in the form either of tears or masses, commonly called lump-galbanum. The latter is of the consistence of wax, tenacious, of a brownish, or brownish yellow colour, with white spots in the interior, which are the agglut inated tears. Its odour is strong and balsamic, but disagreeable, and its taste warm and bitter. It is composed of 66 per cent of resin, and 6 of vola• tile oil, with gum, etc., and impurities. It was formerly held in high esteem as a stimulant and anti-spasmodic medicine, and is still employed as such and for external application to discuss indolent tumours. A French author enumerates various pharmaceutic preparations of which it formerly constituted an ingredient, as le Mithridate, l'orvietan, le dioscordium de Fracasta, l'onguent des Apdtres ou dedacapharmaque d'Avicenna, etc., les emplatres divins de Jacques Lemort, manus Dei magnetique d'Ange Sola,' etc. It is still more to our purpose that we learn from Dioscorides that, in preparing a fragrant ointment, galbanum was mixed with other aromatic substances ; as under MErdrirtow he says, in the Latin translation of Sprengel, Paratur et in /Egypte, unguent= ver naculo nomine Metopium dictum, scilicet propter galbani permistionem. Lignum enim e quo gal banum manat, metopium vocatur. Ex oleo om phacino et amygdalarum amararum, cardamomo, scheno, calamo, melle, vino, myrrha, balsami galbano et resina componitur.'—J. F. R.