The Bible is filled with stories and references about essential oils, spices and plants. The ancient people did not have knowledge of microorganisms nor germ theory BUT they did know how to use plants and oils from their environment.
Many of these stories are familiar but they have a richer meaning when we know the value of essential oils.
Remember the Holy Formula given to Moses from God (Exodus 30:23)? It contained 4 essential oils –
Calamus, Cassia, Cinnamon & Myrrh. We do not use Calamus and Cassia much in modern times – however we do use Cinnamon & Myrrh. Let’s review some of their qualities:
In ancient times, Cinnamon was used for digestive disorders, muscle aches and recognized as a powerful healing plant.
Today, we recognize Cinnamon still as a great digestive aid and there are several studies showing its benefits with blood sugar regulation. It also is known for its antimicrobial effects.
Myrrh was used by midwives to support childbirth as well as a protection to the baby. Interesting that this was one of the gifts given to the Christ child. In modern times, Myrrh has shown to be antiinflammatory and helpful to relieve discomfort.
Sandalwood like Myrrh essential oil is high in sesquiterpenes and is a very thick consistency.
The ancient people used Sandalwood for anointing and embalming. John 19 talks about Nicodemus bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes (sandalwood) – this was to anoint the body of Jesus for his burial.
In modern times, Sandalwood is used for skin care and known for its antioxidant value.
Other Essential Oils of the Bible include –
Cedarwood – the ancient people used it for cleansing – to purify anything unclean. Ancient writings refer to King David and Solomon sleeping under cedar for mental clarity. Today, Cedarwood continues to be identified for its ability to enhance sleep and promote emotional release.
Hyssop – also for ritual cleansing by the ancient people. In addition, it was a comfort to give ease of physical and emotional congestion as in the story of Hyssop being offered to Jesus on the cross. Today, Hyssop continues to be used for its diuretic action
to ease congestion.
Spikenard (or nard) -The ancient people used it for anointing and as a skin tonic. It is in the valerian family and was the last oil Jesus
received before going to the cross (anointing by Mary). Modern use also includes skin care for wounds that will not heal as well as calming the emotions. This is one of my favorite oils and helped my mother with a superficial ankle wound that would not heal. One application of Spikenard over the area cleared it up overnight!
Frankincense – mentioned over 52 times in the Bible; also referred to as incense. Ancient use was for anointing and was considered a general cure-all. Today – when in doubt – use Frankincense. Great for physical and emotional concerns as well as spiritual.
As we review the benefits and healing qualities of essential oils and plants mentioned in the Bible, it gives us a deeper meaning and understanding of scripture writings and messages.