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LAUDANUM (Heb. לוֹט, AV, "myrrh"), one of the spices which the Ishmaelite caravan carried from Gilead to Egypt (Gen. 37:25). It is also included among the "choice fruits of the land" sent by Jacob to the ruler of Egypt (ibid. 43:11). *Onkelos translates lot by letom, included in the Mishnah among spicery growing in Israel which is subject to the law of the Sabbatical year (Shev. 7:6). In the Midrash the lot sent by Jacob is identified with mastic, but it appears rather to be identifiable with the aromatic sap of plants of the genus Cistus, called in Akkadian luttu or ladanu, in Greek Λῆδον or Λήδανον, and in Latin laudanum. The main species of Cistus providing the aromatic sap are Cistus laudaniferus and Cistus creticus, which are lowly shrubs growing wild in Asia Minor, Crete, and Cyprus. Some scholars list the latter species as growing wild in Gilead. In Israel two species grow, the Cistus villosus, the rockrose, whose rose-like flowers are pink, and the Cistus salvifolius, with white flowers, which beautify the woods of Israel. No attempt has been made to extract laudanum from its sap.


Loew, Flora, 1 (1928), 362; H.N. and A.L. Moldenke, Plants of the Bible (1952), 77, nos. 70–72; J. Feliks, Olam ha-Ẓome'aḥ ha-Mikra'i (19682), 272–3.

[Jehuda Feliks]

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lau·da·num / ˈlôdn-əm; ˈlôdnəm/ • n. an alcoholic solution containing morphine, prepared from opium and formerly used as a narcotic painkiller.

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laudanum XVI — modL. laudanum, Paracelsus's name for a medicament for which he gives a pretended prescription of costly ingredients but which was early suspected to contain opium, whence the gen. application to opiate preparations; perh. alt. of LADANUM.

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laudanum (lawd-nŭm) n. a hydroalcoholic solution containing 1% morphine, prepared from macerated raw opium. It was formerly widely used as an opioid analgesic, taken by mouth.