- Healing Oils of Ancient Scripture: Part 1 | Sandalwood
- Healing Oils of Ancient Scripture: Part 2 | Cassia
- Healing Oils of Ancient Scripture: Part 3 | Cedarwood
- Healing Oils of Ancient Scripture: Part 4 | Cypress
- Healing Oils of Ancient Scripture: Part 5 | Hyssop
- Healing Oils of Ancient Scripture: Part 6 | Galbanum
- Healing Oils of Ancient Scripture: Part 7 | Myrtle
- Healing Oils of Ancient Scripture: Part 8 | Onycha
- Healing Oils of Ancient Scripture: Part 9 | Cistus
- Healing Oils of Ancient Scripture Part 10: Spikenard
- Healing Oils of Ancient Scripture Part 11: Myrrh
- Healing Oils of Ancient Scripture: Part 12 | Frankincense
Essential oils figure prominently throughout the Bible. Used for anointing, healing, and aromatherapy, they were a valuable and important part of life. So important, in fact, that there are over 600 mentions of oils in the Bible. The first mention is in Genesis 2:12, and is bdellium or aromatic resin, a type of myrrh. The second time oils are mentioned in the Bible is in Genesis 37 in the heart-wrenching story of Joseph.
Joseph’s father, Jacob, openly favored him over his ten older brothers, even making him a colorful robe to wear as a sign of his favor. His brothers were jealous, and to make matters worse, Joseph began having dreams that his brothers and parents would one day bow to him—dreams that he had no trouble sharing with the family. Eventually, Jacob sends Joseph to check on his brothers who are tending sheep far from home. Joseph’s brothers are so jealous of him that they plot to kill him when they see him coming. His brother Reuben is able to convince the other brothers not to kill Joseph, but to throw him into a pit from which Reuben planned to secretly rescue him later. When the brothers sit down to eat, they see Midianite myrrh traders approaching and decide to sell Joseph to them.
When Reuben discovered what they did, he was devastated. To cover up the betrayal, they took Joseph’s colorful robe, covered it in animal blood, and presented it to Jacob who believed his son to have been killed by a wild animal. Meanwhile, the myrrh traders sell Joseph to a powerful Egyptian named Potiphar (Genesis 37).
In the years that follow, Joseph overcomes many trials to become Pharaoh’s second in command. Through a dream, he is alerted of an impending seven-year famine. He prepares for it by building up storehouses of food. When the famine hits, people come from all over the known world to buy food from the Egyptians. Joseph’s brothers are among them (Genesis 41-43).
They do not recognize Joseph, but he certainly recognizes them. In need of more food, Joseph’s brothers return a second time, bringing him many gifts, including myrrh like that of the traders to which they sold him. When Joseph finally reveals his identity, the brothers are terrified. But it isn’t revenge that Joseph is after. He forgives them and sends them to get the rest of the family to come live with him in Egypt. Later, when Jacob dies, he is embalmed in the Egyptian tradition (Genesis 50:3). This process used many essential oils and was a sign of honor.
Death wasn’t the only use for oil in the Old Testament. It was also used for anointing, a process that had great health benefits and was often used to indicate leadership (Exodus 30:23-25, Numbers 4:16, Psalm 23:5, Psalm 45:7, Psalm 105:15, Psalm 141:5). Oil was also one of the vital parts of the Tabernacle as outlined in Exodus 30, even serving as a representation of the Holy Spirit. The anointing oil of the Tabernacle began with olive oil made by crushing olive berries. Then, spices and essential oils were added to it to make it aromatic—just as we use olive oil to dilute essential oils today! The aromatics used include myrrh, cinnamon, calamus, onycha, galbanum, frankincense, and cassia.
Cassia is an amazing essential oil that has incredible health benefits. It is derived from the bark of the Cinnamomum cassia plant, and acts as an anti-inflammatory, antifungal, antibacterial, antiviral, and anticoagulant. It supports healthy digestion and immune function, and is effective in treating nausea and vomiting, depression, diarrhea, joint pain, and infection.
To use cassia essential oil, dilute 1 part therapeutic-grade cassia oil with 4 parts high-grade olive or coconut oil. Apply on location or to Vita Flex points, diffuse, or ingest as a dietary supplement. Do not inhale cassia directly as it can irritate the nasal membranes.
As always, if you are pregnant, please consult your doctor. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact me. I am happy to help! Tune in next week for Part 3 where we will explore how and why essential oils heal and take a deeper look at cedarwood.
Photo Credit: Wikipedia