My False Balm Of Gilead (Cedronella canariensis) is doing well in the polytunnel, where I have to grow it since it is a native of the Canary Islands and wouldn’t survive the winter here in England.
It is one of several plants called ‘Balm of Gilead’, a rare aromatic mentioned in the Bible, which was used medicinally. Scholars have identified the true Balm of Gilead as Commiphora gileadensis.
Sadly, while my False Balm of Gilead is intensely fragrant, it has no known medicinal properties supported by research, though it is used in folk medicine in Madeira as a digestive herb in the form of a fragrant tea called Thé de Canaries’, reputedly anti-spasmodic and calming. 
However, the musky cedar-like scent is so beautiful I grow it to add to potpourris, and make an oil from it that I add to skin care preparations, purely for the perfume. I have noticed that it acts as an insect repellent, so hanging aromatic bunches of it in the house may serve a dual purpose.
© Anna Franklin 2020
 SEQUEIRA, M. Menezes, Fontinha, S., FREITAS, F.; RAMOS, L.; MATEUS G. Maria. (2006). Plantas e Usos Tradicionais NAS Memórias de Hoje. Freguesia da Ilha. Santana: Casa do Povo da Ilha / Parque Natural da Madeira.