Oils of the Bible

QUESTION: I am searching for a list of essential oils mentioned in the Bible with references.

ANSWER: It is an interesting question you ask. Actually there is no evidence of distillation taking place during biblical times. Many modern authors incorrectly refer to essential oil use during this time of history. When old, translated material refers to a healing oil, for example, many have erroneously assumed this is an essential oil. It is thought that aromatic oils were made by infusion, which we now refer to as infused oils. They were probably very powerful substances with the plant material being infused into the same oil many times over. There were numerous methods used to make a variety of plant preparations including using gum resins like Frankincense & Myrrh. I would imagine gum resins could have been melted with other liquids added to them, for example. I am not an expert on this topic but I wanted to at least give you a heads up regarding the misinformation to be found in many modern aromatherapy books. Unfortunately, many authors just repeat what other modern authors have written, further perpetuating inaccuracies.

There is a book that might interest you called Plants of the Bible by Harold & Alma Moldenke, Dover Publications, ISBN 0-486-25069-5. This offers a wealth of fascinating facts, legend and lore, informed speculation and solid botanical information concerning 230 plants mentioned in the Scriptures. Included are the plant’s Latin name, biblical reference, uses in biblical times and a full discussion of the species’ modern identity. Over 100 engravings and photographs add to the value of this book.

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