So Ahab spoke to Naboth, saying: Give me your vineyard, that it may serve as a garden of herbs to me. 1 Kings 21:2
Scattered throughout the bible there are references to various plants, herbs, foods, etc. I once would read over these things just thinking, if anything, “That’s nice.” But, over the years I have come to realize that nothing is ever said or written without a purpose that often cannot be understood or interpreted unless you have the inclination to investigate if anything further meaning could be hidden.
In the bible times herbs were cultivated for a variety of reasons, but especially for their known healing powers. For the few that are mentioned in Scriptures, there must be some significance, otherwise why not mention all of them. I make mention only of two of these herbs.
Coriander is also known as cilantro and has been called the “healer from heaven.”
When the children of Israel escaped pharaoh’s clutches, they wandered in the desert for 40 years. They received manna for food and described it as looking like coriander seed:
“Now the manna was like coriander seed, of the color of bdellium gum (a waxy, transparent substance).
And all the people went about, gathering it, ground it in a mill, or beat it in a mortar, and boiled it in a pot, and made cakes thereof of the taste of bread tempered with oil. And when the dew fell in the night upon the camp, the manna also fell with it.” Numbers 11:7-9
Coriander grew wild throughout Egypt and ancient Palestine and other countries in the region. It’s an annual plant of the carrot or parsley family and has pink or white flower clusters. The fruit consists of grayish-white globular seeds.
==>Uses and Benefits
- Seeds: they have a pleasant, aromatic oil with fragrance like citrus and sage
- spice or flavouring for pastries, meats, candies, salads, soups, curries and wine
- indigestion: for centuries used as treatment for minor stomach ailments
- for upset stomach use 1 teaspoon of bruised coriander seeds (or 1/2 tsp coriander powder) in a cup of boiling water. Let steep for 5 minutes and drink one cup three times a day before or after meals
- use for flatulence and diarrhea
- joint & muscle pain: externally it has been used as salve to ease muscle and joint pain
- arthritis: was investigated by scientists as anti-inflammatory for arthritis
- blood sugar: research demonstrated it reduces blood sugar levels, which is an indicator could be useful sugar management tool for diabetes
==>Recipe for Coriander Relish
- 1 cup chopped coriander leaves
- 1 clove garlic
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp vinegar
- 8 ozs plain yogurt
- optional: chopped walnut for taste and crunch
Mash garlic, coriander, cumin, salt and vinegar together. Stir in yogurt making a smooth paste. Serve with grilled chicken, roast lamb or poached fish.
Beginning with Passover in Egypt hyssop often referred to in OT (Old Testament) in connection with purification rites. David prayed to be purified:
Purge me with hyssop and I shall be clean … Psalm 51:7
Some scholars suggest hyssop may have been a type of marjoram. It’s part of mint family and in bible times was common in Palestine.
==>Uses and Benefits
The Romans brought hyssop from the Middle East to Europe where hyssop tea is a standard home remedy for:
- relief of rheumatism and respiratory complaints
- hairs on plant used to prevent blood from coagulating and that’s likely why the children of Israel while in Egypt were told to use it at the time of Passover – Exodus 12:22
and in the NT we were told that at the time of his crucifixion hyssop was used:
Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar: and they filled a sponge with vinegar, and put it upon hyssop and put it in his mouth. When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar he said, “It is finished.” – John 19:29, 30
It now makes so much sense to me why they used hyssop –
as a purification agent once Yeshua had been purified (hyssop put in his mouth) I now believe it was symbolic of washing away the sin of man that Yeshua had taken upon himself.
In modern day research and experiments it has been used for/as:
- halting the growth of herpes simplex virus (which causes cold sores and genital herpes)
- colds and flu
- science proved contains several soothing camphor-like substances that help loosen phlegm
==>Recipe for Hyssop Tea
- 1 cup honey – caution re honey in any treatment not to be given to young children because honey sometimes carries bacteria, while harmless for most adults, may cause food poisoning in a young child
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 tbsp dried flowering hyssop tops (or 1/3 cup chopped flowering tops if fresh hyssop available
- 1 tsp anise seed – adds licorice flavour offsetting pungent taste of hyssop
Pour honey into heavy saucepan and stir with water, a tbsp at a time until consistency resembles pancake syrup. Bring to boil over medium heat. Dampen dried hyssop with 1 tbsp of water. Crush anise seeds with spoon and stir both into honey. Cover and simmer very low heat for 30 minutes. Uncover and let cool slightly and while still warm strain it in a jar or bottle with screw-on lid after syrup is cool.