Friar’s Balsam, also called compound benzoin tincture (USP), is a pungent solution of benzoin resin in alcohol that contains Cape aloes and sweetgum resin.
Invented by Dr. Joshua Ward around 1760, Friar’s balsam is typically used as an inhalant in the non-Compound form or as treatment for damaged skin. In the latter case, Friar’s balsam assists in helping tape and bandages adhere to the skin for longer periods of time and protects the skin covered by said tape and bandages. It is frequently used to help heal serious blisters and very deep heel fissures. Additionally, podiatrists and orthopedists sometimes use the tincture on the skin before applying casts as it protects the skin trapped under the cast and reduces itching.