If we want to expand our understanding of botanicals as wellness aids we need to have at least a basic understanding of how ancient cultures incorporated these into their daily life and medical practices and not simply disregard them as outdated or irrelevant. Here is a look at 10 oils that are mentioned in ancient scripture and some ways to incorporate them into our modern lives. #essentialoils

If you’re keen to get your hands on these oils and start exploring the benefits, you can grab them in a bundle through my Young Living link HERE. You’ll need to select “customise enrolment order” and search for “Oils of Ancient Scripture”.

As I’ve studied aromatherapy over the past 2 years, I’ve had the pleasure of doing lots of background research. Combining aromatherapy with my love of history has been a real treat.

Among the works I’ve enjoyed are those of a woman named Hildegard von Bingen.

At a time when few women could write and most were denied a formal education, Hildegard von Bingen – a German Benedictine nun (1098-1179) – became a legendary healer, visionary, musician, philosopher, artist and poet and her theories on healing, nutrition and natural medicine are worth our time and attention.

She writes from 1000 years ago and way back in her day, Hildegard was singing the praises of various botanicals to aid in sleep, digestion, menstrual issues, head tension, labour and more – all areas which have been the subject of renewed scientific research in recent decades.

I’ve been told that essential oils are a fad; a new concept that’s only come to prominence in the past 30-odd years but this simply isn’t true. This false idea ignores thousands of years of human research and experience and trillions of instances throughout history in which botanicals were used to heal and maintain wellness. Ancient scripture is a great example of this, and it dates back well beyond 1100s Germany to thousands of years BC and in places that no longer bear the same name.

The trade of aromatics in ancient times was an economic foundation for many cultures and it’s no secret that the benefits of botanicals such as Frankincense and Myrrh are legendary.

The ancients knew what they were doing. And we can benefit from their wisdom.

If we want to expand our understanding of botanicals as wellness aids we need to have at least a basic understanding of how ancient cultures incorporated these into their daily life and medical practices and not simply disregard them as outdated or irrelevant.

Here is a look at 10 oils that are mentioned in ancient scripture and some ways to incorporate them into our modern lives.

1. Myrtle (Myrtus communis)

Myrtle has a bright, refreshing scent. When you take a deep breath, you’ll feel your lungs smile just like they do when you smell eucalyptus.

Myrtle is a flowering evergreen bush that can grow to be quite large. It’s native to southern Europe, north Africa, western Asia, Micronesia, and the Indian Subcontinent.


Historically, it was primarily used in religious ceremonies for purification rituals. Our ancient friends would have loved to know it is incredibly supportive to the endocrine system, specifically the thyroid, and it is very soothing to the respiratory system.

The myrtle plant was fist mentioned in history in ancient Greece. It was associated with Aphrodite, the goddess of love, and was offered to certain men and women as a symbol of honour. The Greeks also valued the plant because of its healing qualities.


It is elevating and euphoric. It also soothes anger.


Myrtle was used for respiratory support as well as support specifically with sinus and skin.

Today our uses are similar and revolve a lot around the respiratory system, skin and also to help with the emotion of anger. It’s perfect to diffuse or to add to a chest roller.


First, Myrtle is part of Sukkot – the Feast of Tabernacles. Historically the Feast of Tabernacles celebrates the end of the Exodus (the 40 years of wandering the Isralites experiences between Egypt and the Promised Land).

In Jewish liturgy the Feast of Tabernacles, there are four sacred plants used during Sukkot to represent the different types of personalities making up the community. Those species are lulav (palm branch), hadas (myrtle), aravah (willow), the etrog (citron).

2. Hyssop (Hyssopus officinalis)

The hyssop is a brightly-coloured shrub that resembles lavender in some ways, though the blooms can be blue, pink or white. Both Hyssop and Lavender are from the mint family of flowering plants, called Lamiaceae.

In 1745 on writer suggested 18 different plants of the biblical Hyssop. While the exact variety may not be known, a cleansing property is suggested because it was employed in many purification rites. “Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.”


Historically, leaves of Hyssop were used to make a strong tea to help with nose, throat, and lung afflictions. The oil was also applied to bruises.


It may help stimulate creativity and meditation and promote centreing.


This oil may be beneficial for anxious feelings, restoring appetite, supporting joints, respiratory support, cleansing and purifying, concentration, fatigue, skin support, stress-related conditions and cooling the body.


In Scripture we find the primary use of Hyssop was for ritual cleansing and ceremonial offerings. In Leviticus 13 we find instructions for a ritual cleansing of lepers involving Cedarwood and Hyssop.

In Exodus 12 the Israelites are instructed to paint their door posts with the blood from a lamb, using Hyssop branches. They are to dip the Hyssop branch into the blood and “put some of the blood on the top and both sides of the door frame.”

It is believed that the use of hyssop at crucifixions may have helped in some small way to ease the suffering of those being crucified, as it is extremely soothing to the lungs when inhaled.

3. Rose of Sharon (Cistus ladaniferus)

The beautiful flowering rock rose has a soft, honey-like scent and may be the plant known as the rose of Sharon.


Cistus comes from a Greek word “kistos” meaning “evergreen shrub” The word ladanifer is derived from “ledon” meaning “dark resin”. Dark resins are where chewing gum came from in ancient times. It was also considered to be one of the first aromatic elements used.


Stimulating to the senses of touch, feeling, sight and sound. It affects the upper part of the brain. It may also help to quiet the nerves, calm and help sleep and elevate the emotions in mediation.


Historically, resin from Cistus was used as an ingredient for incense and used medicinally to treat colds, coughs, menstrual problems and rheumatism. The resin was commonly found along the shrubs where goats wandered and the shepherds commonly used it on the skin of their goats to promote healing when injured.

Now it is used to support the respiratory system, urinary system as well as skin and to help with anti-aging and wrinkles.


The Rose of Sharon we read about in Song of Songs used as a way Solomon’s lover describes herself. “I am a rose of Sharon, a lily of the valleys”. Solomon answers back “like a lily among thorns is my darling among the young women” (Song of Songs 2:1-2).

What is this Rose spoken about in Solomon’s love letters? The truth is, we aren’t quite sure. Because of the time period in history and the roses that might have been in view while writing these love poems together, historians believe it was likely Cistus ladanifer, also known as the rock rose.

4. Cassia (Cinnamomum cassia)

Cassia was a key ingredient in the temple incense.


Cassia typically refers to the bark from an evergreen tree originating in southern China. It’s very similar to the cinnamon we are familiar with but is quite a bit “hotter” than cinnamon oil.


Historically Cassia has been called an “oil of gladness” for its emotional uplifting effects. It was used to support the immune system and to help the digestive system function smoothly. Cassia has also historically been connected to improving blood circulation.

Cassia has also been used extensively as a domestic spice. And also used to support the digestive system as well as kidneys and reproductive organs.


“All thy garments smell of myrrh, and aloes, and cassia, out of the ivory palaces, whereby they have made thee glad” Psalms 45:8

Ezekiel 27:19 lists it as a trading commodity along with wine, wrought iron and calamus.

In Psalm 45:8 it is mentioned as a perfume.

Cassia is only used in Scripture the Holy Anointing Oil from Exodus 30. However this anointing blend is referenced throughout Scripture, meaning Cassia was widely used and available during biblical times.

“Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart, and the pleasantness of a friend springs from their heartfelt advice” Proverbs 27:9

5. Cypress (Cupressus sempervirens)

This oil is extracted from the cypress tree, whose wood is so durable that the cypress doors of St.Peter’s in Rome show no sign of decay even after 1,200 years.


Historically, Cypress was known for being supportive of the immune and cardiovascular system, as well as being rich in monoterpenes. Our ancient friends would have used it for any muscle and joint discomfort, respiratory support, skin support and cramps. There are records dating back to 1800 BC mentioning Cypress oil.


The warm, fresh scent of cypress has made it a favourite in men’s colognes. It produces an essential oil that ranges from clear to very pale yellow. Emotionally, Cypress supports feelings of security and stability.


Now we use it to protect our skin, support circulation (great for cold hands or feet), to support respiratory system and help with menstrual discomfort. It is an excellent substitute for Frankincense.

Great to massage onto the chest to help with anything respiratory or to ease tension. To reduce tension, you can add a few drops to some epsom salts and have a soak in the bath or add to a carrier oil for a massage.


Cypress is another oil we find in Scripture used as a building material for large temples and structures.

Cypress tress were commonplace in biblical times. The Phoenicians and Cretans used Cypress for building ships and houses, the Egyptians often made their sarcophagi from the hard wood, and the Greeks used Cypress to carve statues to their gods.

6. Myrrh (Commiphora myrrha)

Myrhh is a viscous oil, meaning it’s thick. You’ll notice when you open your bottle that it’s like honey, and it will even thicken up over time. For this reason, in ancient times it was often used as a fixative or a base for other more volatile oils. In other words, when you mix the two it would help keep the other oils from evaporating and prolong their life.

TIP – to keep the oil lid from sticking to the bottle, take a tiny bit of carrier oil and apply along the inside of the threads in the white cap to help it smoothly twist against the glass bottle.


Some ancient references refer to “a Myrrh”, using the term much like we would ” a lotion” or “an ointment”. Consulting historical records, you will find a variety of recommended uses for Myrrh: perfume, oral health (often the resin was chewed as gum), an ingredient in healing salves for supporting skin, bruises, as gum for digestive support, circulatory support and insect repellent.


Promotes spiritual awareness and is uplifting.


Egyptian women burned Myrrh in pellets to rid their homes of fleas. In ancient times, Myrrh was often burned to mask odours of the day. Called mo yao in China, Myrrh has been used to heal wounds since at least the time of the Tang Dynasty. And we know Myrrh was used as incense in religious rituals, in embalming, and to heal. These days Myrrh is used for skin support, respiratory support, digestive support as well as for it’s anti-aging properties.


Myrrh is the most commonly referenced aromatic oil in the Bible with over . it is the first oil to be mentioned (Genesis 37:25) and the last (Revelation 18:13).

7. Cedarwood (Cedrus atlantica)

Cedarwood is believed to be the very first essential oil ever distilled. Its history in medicinal and other practical uses traces back to the Egyptians and Sumerians, who used Cedarwood in their embalming processes over 5000 years ago. They also used the timber to build dwellings, temples, instruments, coffins and boats.


The Egyptians used the oil in the mummification process, in cosmetics and as a insect repellant, while native Americans used Cedar oil in medicine and burnt it for purification.


Cedarwood oil contains 98% sesquiterpenes, and inhaling it increases our ability to think clearly. Sesquiterpenes can cross the blood brain barrier and oxygenate the brain (just by sniffing this oil!)

Cedarwood enhances melatonin stimulation in the brain this is why it is often credited for a good night’s sleep and that oxygenation process helps our brains clear of mental clutter. For this reason it’s also good when you want to filter out noise and focus on a task.


Cedarwood oil is now used to support a restful sleep, to calm nervous tension as well as to support both healthy hair and skin. It is also recognised for its purifying properties. As a Wellness Essential Oil it has traditionally been used in aromatherapy to: relieve fatigue and feelings of weakness, as an expectorant to clear respiratory tract mucus, decrease symptoms of stress, aid the body to cope with environmental stress, support a healthy stress response in the body, relieve mild tissue oedema and as an antiseptic for minor cuts and abrasions.


Cedarwood is mentioned throughout Scripture, often as part of the materials used for building.

From the mighty “cedars of Lebanon” came the fragrant and long lasting wood used to build Solomon’s temple. “He spoke of trees, from the cedar tree that is in Lebanon to the hyssop that grows out of the wall” 1 Kings 4:33

8. Aloes (Santalum album)

It is believed that Aloes referred to in the Bible may have been fragrant sandalwood, a spice accessible to the residents of ancient Palastine.


Sandalwood is the most valuable tree in the world. the central part of the tree – the heartwood – is used in the distillation process to create the deeply aromatic oil.


Slowly and powerfully calms, harmonises and balances the emotions. It may help enhance meditation. It can also be stimulating as well as grounding.


Historically, Sandalwood was used for meditation and embalming. It was common for Pharaohs of ancient Egypt to be buried with alabaster jars of perfumes including Sandalwood.

Today we find that it’s commonly used for skincare and is a favourite at bedtime to encourage a restful sleep. It can also support the cardiovascular system, lymphatic system and help release nervous tension.


In Scripture we read of a plant called “aloes”, this is not the “aloe” that we think of in terms of a cactus with a gooey liquid to soothe wounds (although that is awesome as well) but is that of Sandalwood as previously mentioned.

Sandalwood is mentioned in Psalm 45:8 as a perfume, along with Myrrh and Cassia. This combination was mentioned again in Proverbs 7:17. DIY perfume, anyone!?

In John 19 we read of Sandalwood (aloes) used by Joseph and Nicodemus when preserving Jesus’ body. Joseph of Arimathea was an extremely wealthy and prominent man within the Jewish community who had secretly become a follower of Jesus. “And there came also Nicodemus, which at first came to Jesus by night, and brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds in weight.” John 19:39

9. Onycha (Styrax benzoin)

Onycha was an ingredient in the holy anointing oil. “And the Lord said unto Moses, Take unto thee sweet spices, stacte, and onycha, and galbanum; these sweet spices with pure frankincense: of each shall there be a like weight.” Exodus 30:34


This obscure oil finds itself on our list of biblical oils because of its mention in the Holy Incense in Exodus 30. It is the only place in Scripture this oil is mentioned. Because of this, historians disagree on the plant to which it refers. Styrax benzoin is a gum-resin used by ancient Egyptians in the art of perfumery and incense.

Historically, Onycha (Styrax benzoin) was used for a variety of reasons, including dental health and care (the resin was even used as a dental restorative material), as a primary ingredient in tinctures for small injuries; as a disinfectant, local anaesthetic, and to speed the healing of wounds.


Onycha is warming and soothing to the heart. This oil creates a kind of euphoria. It may also help overcome sadness, loneliness and anxious feelings. When combined with rose, it can be very comforting and uplifting.


This oil and resin has been used for thousands of years in the East for rituals and ceremonies as either incense or for anointings. The Chinese used it for its heating and drying qualities, and in the West it was used for respiratory complaints.

Now it is used to help with joint/muscle discomfort, respiratory support, bleeding (slow or stop), circulation (poor), nervous tension, skin support, stress conditions. It is very warming which makes it great for those colder months and respiratory support during these times.


The Lord said to Moses, “Take sweet spices, stacte, and onycha, and galbanum; sweet spices with pure frankincense (of each shall there be an equal part.” Exodus 30:34

10. Frankincense (Boswellia carterii)

Studies show that frankincense may help improve your memory. Inhale this oil regularly to help you stay sharp, or try it out when prepping for exams or presentations at work.


North African native Frankincense has been used medicinally and spiritually for millennia, including by ancient Sumerians and Egyptians. The oil is derived from the tree’s dried resin, which is distilled.

The grade (or quality) of Frankincense is determined by the method and timing of harvest, as well as the techniques used to “tap” the trees without destroying the tree itself. This is a very complex and specific process, and in some parts of the world the trees are managed by families who can trace their genealogy and land management back to biblical times.

Historically, Frankincense, also known as olibanum or lebonah, was harvested as a dry resin and steam distilled to create an oil for perfumes and used in skincare. Ancient Chinese medicine recommends the use of Frankincense and Myrrh for antibacterial and “blood moving” uses. In Egypt, it was used to cleanse bodies before mummification.


It increases spiritual awareness and meditation.


Frankincense is one of those wonderfully versatile oils that holistically works on both mind and body. it has the potential to boost your skincare results, melt away stress, assist a meditation practice, help with discomfort, support the respiratory system and so much more. Frankincense is high in monoterpenes, which help eliminate toxins from the body. As a Wellness Essential Oil it has traditionally been used in aromatherapy to relieve mild upper respiratory tract congestion, to reduce bronchial mucous congestion and to enhance nerve function.


The Hebrew word for Frankincense, levonah (sometimes translated as “incense”), appears in the Bible 22 times with the most familiar mention being when we read in Matthew 2 about it being given to Mary and Joseph at the birth of Jesus.

If you’re keen to get your hands on these oils and start exploring the benefits, you can grab them in a bundle through my Young Living link HERE. You’ll need to select “customise enrolment order” and search for “Oils of Ancient Scripture”.

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