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What Were The Oils Of The Bible?

Since ancient times, essential oils have played a crucial role in peoples' everyday lives. The Bible mentions at least 33 distinct essential oils and plants that produce aromatic oils, and it uses the word "incense" 68 times. Oils are mentioned in some form in Psalm 45:7-8, Proverbs 27:9, Isaiah 61:3, and Hebrews 1:9, where they are referred to as "the oil of joy" and "the oil of happiness," and they are said to "take delight the spirit."

The Bible also uses terms like scents, smells, ointments, aromas, perfumes, and pleasant savours to describe essential oils. Over 600 passages in the Bible mention either essential oils or the fragrant plants from which they were derived. These were seen as sacred anointing oil, mostly essential healing oils which were called the oils of the bible. Essential oils have been the talk of the town since the start.

The oil's aromatic properties escape the realm of normalcy to amazing, making essential oils relevant since BC. One need just stroll through a fragrant garden to see that essential oils from the Bible are a part of plant matter. A rose's fragrant qualities may be detected by hand contact alone. There is therefore no doubt as to how or why the ancient cultures would have taken notice of this and made use of it in some way.

The topic of oils is covered in ancient literature that dates back thousands of years, with Rome being famed for its baths, the Greek regions for their fragrances, and the Bible mentioning anointing oils.

The notion of extracting, distilling, or otherwise obtaining and employing a plant's pleasant constituent has been employed since the time of the Old Testament, however, these early distilled oils would have been similar to our current hydrosols—steam distillation that produces perfumed water.

The majority of them are extracted, and several pieces of literature mention using olive oil and pressing the oil out. There are textual records that describe primitive distillation techniques.

Where Were These Essential Oils First Established?

The plants from which essential oils were derived were first referenced in the book of Genesis, though not the oils themselves. As a result, when Joseph visited his brothers, they deprived him of the multi colored robe he was wearing. He was taken by them, and they dumped him into a hole.

There was no water in the hole, which was dry. We learned this later when Jacob sent his sons to Egypt in search of sustenance. He instructed them to bring some myrrh with them as a present for the supervisor (Joseph).

What Were The Oils Of The Bible?

Bible verses talk about sacred sandalwood being a vessel. Roman soldiers offered Jesus these holy anointing oils as a way of well-wishing. A book published in May 1961 in Engineering and Science notes a detailed account of how essential oils were used in ancient times and how the bible references it.

A thesis submitted by Anya Cecilia Rossa-Quade to the San Francisco State University looks into the health properties of essential oils and also looks at mentions of these oils in the Bible. From sweet red calamus and onycha essential oil to sacred sandalwood, essential oils which can be found in the culture of the Biblical oil, are as follows:

1. Frankincense Essential Oil

  • The Sacredness Of Frankincense

The monarch of the oils is frankincense. Of course, it was a present from the wise men to infant Jesus and was employed as a key ingredient of the sacred incense, a medicinal, and a form of payment.

  • A Valuable Commodity

In fact, it's possible that the value of frankincense oil and myrrh at the time of Jesus' birth exceeded the value of the third present, which was gold.

  • Used As A Gift

Aromatic oil such as frankincense has long since been used as a lovely modern scented gift both for its sacredness and its health benefits.

  • Bible Extols Its Aroma

Mixed with any other liquid carrier, it does wonder. Bible verses have long revered the oil for having a honey-like scent and an aromatic bark. The Bible mentions frankincense quite often, even in incense and in any burnt offering.

2. Myrrh Essential Oil

  • Holy Pouring Oil

Myrrh oil, which is mentioned 156 times in the Bible, was used by Queen Esther in Esther 2:12 as a skin beauty treatment in addition to being used as an ointment, a component in incense, and an embalming fluid. The Bible uses myrrh most frequently as a component of holy pouring oil.

  • Used as an Ointment and Skincare

In the Bible, myrrh oil was used as an ointment, an incense, a component in embalming, and as a skin-beauty treatment by Queen Esther.

  • Used in Sanctification

The Bible uses myrrh most frequently as a component of holy anointing oil. Because of its aroma and properties it was used to sanctify objects and people.

  • Highly Prized Oil

In addition to being given to baby Jesus, myrrh is a highly prized and sought-after oil because of its herbaceous and smoky fragrance, and therapeutic benefits.

3. Cinnamon Essential Oil

  • Used As Holy Anointing Oil

Similar to myrrh, cinnamon oil was a key component of the holy anointing oil and was intended to purify the air, eradicate mould, and serve as a natural remedy.

  • Used In Rooms For its Fragrance

Solomon uses this scented oil as a natural fragrance and in the bedroom in Proverbs 7:17. It was also used as a perfume.

  • It Was A Healing Oil

Anointing oil like cinnamon was the common oil of the Bible, which was a kind of healing oil. Ancient botanical preparations used crude distillation methods as compared to today's highly advanced distillation techniques to produce impure healing oils.

  • Treating Skin Conditions And Fungal Infections

These oils still had a lovely aroma and were seen as an aromatic extract from aromatic plants which could cure fungal infections and was used in treating skin conditions.

A paper by Dr. Prabo Mihindukulasuriya discusses the significance of cinnamon as used or mentioned in the Bible. It discusses the theology and trade of cinnamon. (3)

4. Cedarwood Essential Oil

  • Tree Used To Build Temples

God's temple was constructed by King Solomon using cedarwood, and Jesus was hung on a cross made of cypress or cedarwood.

  • It Was Used For Cleansing And In Rituals

It was used to cleanse ritually, as medicine to heal leprosy and skin disorders, and it was believed to bestow insight.

  • Used For Its Healing Properties

The same healing properties used today were used in ritual cleansing using cedarwood essential oil along with other oils of the bible.

  • Referred To As Biblical Oil

Bible oils like myrtle essential oil, cedarwood essential oil, cassia essential oil and others have been termed as essential healing oils or biblical oils.

  • Umpteen Health Properties

Cedarwood oil is still used as a healing remedy and is seen as a natural healer. Modern research has established its health properties.

5. Spikenard Essential Oil

  • A Priceless Ointment

Nard was not only a pricey perfume in biblical times, but it was also a priceless ointment that was applied topically for medicinal purposes.

  • Considered Equivalent To Lavender

It's interesting to note that lavender oil could have really been the "spikenard" mentioned in the Bible.

  • Oil of Biblical Importance

The Bible describes how spikenard was applied to Jesus just hours preceding His burial and resurrection in John 12:3.

6. Hyssop Essential Oil

  • Used to Cleanse Home and Body

In the Old Testament, God gave His people the instruction to ceremonially cleanse themselves and their homes with hyssop.

  • Hyssop’s First Appearance

When the Roman soldiers brought Jesus a sip of wine vinegar on a handkerchief at the end of a stem of hyssop during his crucifixion, hyssop made an appearance.

  • Blended With Other Anointing Oils

There are anointing oils mentioned in forms of the different fragrant blend which were mixes of oils like Hyssop, healing oils, mixed edible spices, fine spices and often any kind of a fragrant flowering plant.

The Psalms and the rituals done with hyssop oil are mentioned elaborately. The uses of other essential oils find mention here. (4)

7. Cassia Essential Oil

  • Anointing Oil Mentioned in Exodus

Cassia oil, a plant that resembles cinnamon very much, is the fourth component of the holy anointing oil described in Exodus 30:24.

  • Used to Purify Clothes

It was frequently used along with myrrh and aloes to fragrance clothing and may have been taken out of Egypt whenever the Israelites escaped from Pharaoh. It is a holy anointing oil which was one of the first early distilled oils.

8. Sandalwood Essential Oil

  • Oil of Happiness

Along with frankincense, myrrh, and cedarwood, sandalwood is among the oils of happiness and happiness and is alluded to as "aloes" in the Bible.

  • Wood Used in Ritual

The sandalwood (aloe) and myrrh that Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea brought to bury Jesus are believed to be worth $200,000 in the current economy.

  • Used In Beauty Treatments

Sacred sandalwood was found in a fragrant garden, and when mixed with other liquid carriers it did wonders for beauty treatments and enhanced other essential oils.

  • Holy Anointing Oil

It was also a very popular holy anointing oil, detailed as one of Moses’ holy anointing oil. It was used to set apart people and objects as sacred.

9. Cypress Essential Oil

  • A Symbol Of Power, Safety, And Wealth

In the Bible, the cypress is revered as a representation of power, safety, and wealth. Cypress plant is mentioned in the Bible as the preferred wood for construction, trade, and even armament.

  • Used in Noah’s Ark

Cypress oil is known for its amazing healing properties. God told Noah in Genesis 6:14 to "build yourself an ark of gopher wood," which is really "cypress" in contemporary English.

10. Galbanum Essential Oil

  • Used in Incense

Exodus 30:34 mentions that the holy incense burned in the temple's centre included a significant amount of galbanum.

  • It regulates Emotions

Even while galbanum by itself has a fairly unpleasant smell, it produces a wonderful perfume when burned with other sweet-smelling oils in holy incense and was believed to help regulate emotions.

11. Rose of Sharon Essential Oil

  • A Rose or a Tulip?

The rose of Sharon, mentioned in the Song of Solomon, is not actually a "rose," but rather resembles a hibiscus or tulip (which is also a source of saffron).

  • Symbolic of Christ

Some Bible interpreters equate Christ with the rose of Sharon, while the lily represents the church, His wife.

12. Calamus Essential Oil

  • Lemongrass’s Origin Story

Calamus, sometimes referred to as "sweet cane," is an old plant that may be the origin of lemongrass.

  • Special Holy Anointing Oil

Calamus was indeed a common element in the special holy anointing oil used by the temple priests throughout Biblical times, as well as in incense and fragrances. Many other holy anointing oils such as olive oil are used extensively with calamus.

  • Oil For Healing

It is seen as of the oils of the bible which has the tag of essential healing oils. The therapeutic properties of the oil find use way back in biblical times.

13. Boswell Fir Essential Oil

  • Powerful Health Properties

Fir oils, which are made from fir trees, are renowned for having powerful therapeutic qualities. The Fir is still the most preferred variety of Christmas trees today.

  • Used As Anointing Oil

Fir was the wood used to build musical instruments in biblical times. It was also a holy anointing oil.

  • Used in Aroma Diffuser and Topical Application

To make a fragrance diffuser oil, combine with additional oils like frankincense and myrrh. Place in a little vial with a roller, and then apply to the neck area at the back and forehead.

14. Myrtle Essential oils

  • Sacred Anointing Oil

Low-growing myrtle branches have fragrant blossoms that have a strong, pleasant scent. One of the most important oils of the bible and sacred anointing oil, liquid myrrh was perceived as one of the best healing oils.

  • Where Did It First Appear?

It is native to the Mediterranean and Middle Eastern areas. Myrtle was formerly a popular plant in Lebanon and Palestine.

  • Widely Grown Worldwide

The majority of myrtle in Israel nowadays is purposefully produced for decorative purposes, but some still grow naturally in the Upper Galilee and Golan. Despite the trees' propensity to be utilised as a perfume, God used them in the vision of the prophet Zechariah and as a symbol of the benefits He had promised.

15. Onycha Essential Oil

  • Purifying or Cleansing Properties

Onycha was only referenced in the holy anointing oil "recipe" and nowhere else, making it perhaps the least well-known of the biblical oils in this article.

  • Used in Perfumes or incense

The Lord directed Moses to prepare "clean and holy" incense or perfume using onycha as one of the ingredients.

  • What Does Onycha Smell Like?

A heavy oil, it could not even flow from the bottle. Due to the presence of vanillin aldehyde, it has a vanilla-like scent.

Modern medicine has long taken into account the use of these amazing essential oils for various skin disorders, and skin irritation, and viewed these temple oils as aromatic oil which have health related benefits.

Following fine spices, healing oils, holy incense and other oils of the bible, essential oils in the current day and age have come forth as very significant healing remedies. Myrtle essential oil, onycha essential oil, to pure frankincense, all of it is a significant part of the current world. (5)

How To Use The Oils Of The Bible?

  • Directly apply 2-4 drops to the targeted region. For the skin types that are the most sensitive, dilute as needed. Use as necessary.

  • Diffuse for up to an hour three times each day, or breathe in directly

Precautions And Beyond


Dilution of essential oils is necessary to avoid negative effects. Generally speaking, you should maintain essential oil concentrations below 5%.

Patch check

Before applying an oil completely, you might conduct a patch test to evaluate how it affects your skin.


  • Take some unscented soap and wash your forearm.

  • Clean off.

  • In a small area of your forearm, apply a few drops of essential oil that has been diluted.

  • Give it a day.

  • Take the gauze off.


Some essential oils are deemed acceptable for use during maternity treatments or via diffuser technique, while others should never be used throughout pregnancy.

Before using essential oils throughout pregnancy, discuss your intentions with your doctor and midwife.

A study published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences in February 2021 looks into the toxicity of some essential oils and its constituents during pregnancy. (6)

Children And Infants

  • This is yet another hotly debated subject. Children and infants have less developed immune and hepatic systems, as well as thinner skin. This increases their susceptibility to any potential oil-related harm.
  • It is vital to adhere to safety regulations and use the utmost caution. Before using essential oils on or around infants or kids, you should always speak to a doctor.
  • Certain essential oils may be used topically and used in aromatherapy beyond the age of two, but only at considerably lower doses than for adults. Typically, an acceptable dilution ratio ranges from 0.5 to 2.5 per cent.
  • Essential oils should not be taken internally by infants, children, or adults. Essential oils must always be stored out of harm's way as a safety measure.
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