Herbs, plants & spices used in biblical times for healing, aroma, and more are: Aloe, Anise, Balm, Bitter Herbs, Cassia, Cumin, Cinnamon, Frankincense, Garlic, Hyssop, Mint, Mustard, Myrrh, and Saffron. Aloe There seems to be some confusion about the aloe mentioned in the bible, this was not the aloe vera plant commonly used for burns, scarring etc. that most folks are familiar with. The word Aloe in the Bible is referring to an East Indian tree referred to by the Greeks as the Agallochon. Today, aloe is used in many ways including treating burns, sunburns, healing bruises and rashes, moisturize skin, fight athletes foot, prevent scarring and stretch marks, speed up hair growth, and many more. Anise All parts of the anise plant were used during Biblical times. The seeds, leaves and stem were used to cool high temperatures, as well as for other medicinal purposes. Today, Anise can be used to help with digestion and can be used as an anti-flatulence agent, a relief aid for coughs and colds and also can help with insomnia. Usually taken by crushing the seeds into a tea. Balm Balm refers to an extremely fragrant substance that was extracted from the balsam tree. In Biblical times, balsam was considered extremely valuable. Its gum was used as incense, while the oil that came from the bark, the leaves and the berries worked well as medicine. Bitter herbs Bitter herbs are a collective term used for lettuce, horehound, tansy, horseradish, endive and coriander seeds. Bitter herbs were mostly used for food. In fact, the people of Israel were commanded to have bitter herbs with their Passover lamb. Today, they can be used to help with urinary tract infections, kidney stones, fluid retention, achy joints and gout. Cassia Cassia oil was popularly used as anointing oil during Biblical times. Cassia has aromatic properties quite similar to cinnamon. Today, Cassia can be used as natural hair care, coloring and conditioning. The leaves are harvested, dried, and ground into a powder used for natural hair care. Cinnamon Cinnamon, once considered more precious than gold, has some amazing medicinal benefits. The bark, where the oil comes from, was traditionally collected for anointing oil, as well as perfume. Today, cinnamon can be used for athlete’s foot, indigestion, improve brain function, helps lower blood glucose levels, among many others. Cumin The ancient Israelites took cumin seeds, dried them, and used them to flavor their food. Today, cumin can help with digestion, cardiovascular disease, urinary disorders, and fever. Frankincense Most popularly known for incense, Frankincense was used during ceremonial offerings and considered an article of luxury. Today, it can be used as an analgesic, antidepressant and sedative, in addition to being a powerful healing herb. Frankincense is also a primary ingredient in stress-reducing incenses. Garlic Garlic has been used as both food and medicine in many cultures for thousands of years, dating back to when the Egyptian pyramids were built. Today, garlic is used to help prevent heart disease, including atherosclerosis or hardening of the arteries (plaque buildup in the arteries that can block the flow of blood and may lead to heart attack or stroke), high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and to boost the immune system. Garlic may also help protect against cancer. Hyssop Hyssop is a sweet smelling plant from the mint family. It was used in many ceremonial rituals of the Israelites, as burning hyssop typically meant an inner cleansing. Mint Mint has been used for thousands of years as a culinary herb and for medicine. Today, mint can help with stomach aches, poor digestion, fever, hiccups, ear aches and sinuses. Mustard One of Jesus’ most famous parables was about the mustard seed. This may be because mustard grew so abundantly in Palestine. Today, mustard can be used for sore throats, muscle and back relaxing, and as a hair conditioner to treat damaged hair. Myrrh In Biblical times, it was sold as a spice or an ingredient of the anointing oil used in the Tabernacle, or as a salve for the purification of the dead. In the Roman world, it was considered a natural remedy for almost every human affliction, from earaches to hemorrhoids. Today, myrrh can be used as a cleansing agent, and to help with ulcerated throats and mouth sores. Saffron The most expensive spice in the world today was also very dear during ancient times. Because of its distinct yellow color, saffron was used not only for flavoring but to make ancient dyes as well. Ancient peoples used saffron to treat stomach upsets, bubonic plague, and smallpox. Today, recent studies have indicated possible health benefits, including cancer-inhibiting properties, aiding in allergies, help combat depression, and promote a feeling of fullness (in terms of diet).
And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good. Genesis 1:11
References: 1. Axe, Dr. The top 14 herbs of the bible. https://draxe.com/the-top-14-herbs-of-the-bible/ 2. Photo by Calum Lewis on Unsplash
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