Aromatherapy, incense burning, herbs and plants – all of these are ancient practices and one of my favourite things to do is find their use in our versions of what we call the Bible.
Growing up in a Catholic church I can still smell the incense that was burned and still feel the sting that hit my eyes as the priest would walk down the aisle waving the burner with the incense covering those of us who stood in the pews on each side. I never liked it and I never wondered what it was about. Apparently it was frankincense that was being burned and it is still in use in the Catholic church. For me it was just another ritual that I became acclimatized to without question or thought of why we did these things.
Herbs are burned in both East and West as part of most major religions. The Egyptian priests formulated the aromas that Pharaohs used in times of prayer, war and love. Statutes of each of the gods had a particular fragrance with which they were anointed.
The word perfume comes from the Latin per fumum which means “through the smoke.” There was always a reason and wisdom behind the burning of herbs especially those with bactericidal effects used when there were large groups of people in a gathering, most notably during the many plagues and epidemics this world has seen.
Native Americans burn sage and sweetgrass during ceremonies. some hospitals in France diffuse thyme and rosemary as disinfectants. In the 1960’s at the University of California at Berkeley, branches of eucalyptus were strewn along the edges of the lecture rooms during outbreaks of fleas.
Anointing Ointment of Sacred Ark and Tabernacle
The Lord gave Moses specific instructions about the sacred use of incense and preparation of holy oil. These are found in Exodus 30:1, 7-9, 22-26, 32-33. The ingredients that Moses was told to gather were:
- 500 shekels of pure myrrh = 16 pounds
- 250 shekels of sweet cinnamon = 8 pounds
- 250 shekels of sweet calamus = 8 pounds
- 500 shekels of cassia = 16 pounds
- an hin of olive oil = 1.5 gallons
A shekel is about 1.5 ounces and a hin is about 1.5 gallons
This anointing oil was not to be used or touch any man’s flesh and no other composition even similar to this was to be made for any other purpose. Moses was told specifically that,
“it is holy, and it shall be holy unto you. Whosoever compoundeth any like it, or whosoever putteth any of it upon a stranger, shall even be cut off from his people.”
Below is information on the properties, benefits and uses of the herbs and oils that Moses was commanded to use in making the anointing oil for the tabernacle and the arc. When you examine these properties you have to wonder why the Lord specifically said they were not to be used in combination for any other purpose. Individually, each has many benefits for our health. Combined would they provide some other benefit or property to the human that might be of extraordinary quality; could it be harmful or perhaps provide one with supra-human abilities?
All of that speculation aside, what I have concluded is simply that what has worked from Mother Nature’s Pharmacy for thousands of years still works and does not come with hidden properties that would cause greater harm than benefit. So why do we not return to what has always worked and has not become outdated and lost its benefits? I suppose the answer is that if we return to using what nature provides freely, someone will lose a lot of money.
We, this human form, are in a way the holy tabernacle, are we not? The human is that which clothes our pure self, Spirit. So why could we not use these in combination to anoint and strengthen our physical, mental and spiritual selves?
One of the key ingredients in Moses’s holy anointing oil, myrrh was highly regarded by Biblical figures such as David and Solomon. (Proverbs 7:17) You may recall that the three wisemen brought Myrrh as one of the gifts when Yeshua was born.
Maintaining healthy skin is one of myrrh oil’s renowned uses, as it slows down the signs of aging and soothes cracked or chapped skin. This is why it’s commonly added to many skin care products today.
The word “myrrh” comes from “murr,” which means “bitter” in Arabic, probably referring to the resin’s bitter taste. Myrrh was very popular among ancient cultures. The Chinese valued it as a medicine, while Egyptians used it for embalming their pharaohs as well as for their sun-worshipping rituals.
Myrrh oil is also used for embalming. Now this is something I did not know and I sort of got the chills when I read the embalming part. It is also used for flavouring some food products.
I always have cinnamon oil on hand. I also add pure ground cinnamon to the water,
lemon and cayenne mixture that I drink throughout the day. One of the primary reasons for this has been with respect to circulation and heart; having a family history of heart disease on both sides, I figure better safe than sorry!
There are two types of cinnamon oil: cinnamon bark and cinnamon leaf, the former being the stronger in both use and aroma, the latter being more like perfume in its aroma.
Many of the benefits of cinnamon bark oil have to do with its ability to dilate blood vessels. Cinnamon bark can help enhance nitric oxide function, which causes increased blood flow and lower levels of inflammation.
Cinnamon oil is highly concentrated with antioxidants, which makes it effective as a natural digestive aid, blood sugar stabilizer and circulation booster. It’s also commonly used to combat cardiovascular diseases and fight infections.
Meanwhile, the oil itself especially has strong antiparasitic, anti-inflammatory, antiplatelet and antiviral properties, which makes it extremely useful for enhancing immunity.
It has properties as an anti-rheumatic, anti-spasmodic, antibiotic, cephalic, circulatory, memory boosting, nervine, stimulant, and tranquilizing substance.
This oil is particularly stimulating for the nerves and blood circulation. It stimulates and increases the rate of blood circulation in the affected area and gives relief from the pain and swelling associated with rheumatism, arthritis, and gout.
As an antibiotic, due to its toxic nature, Calamus Essential Oil does not allow any biotic growth and acts as an antibiotic. This property can be used to fight infections, both internally and externally.
Cassia is considered one of the 50 fundamental herbs in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). It’s an evergreen tree native to China and Burma. Cassia is commonly known as
Chinese cinnamon, and its scientific name is Cinnamomum cassia. Cassia essential oil, or cassia bark oil, is derived by steam distillation of the cassia bark, leaves and twigs.
Cassia is similar to true cinnamon (sometimes called Ceylon cinnamon) and mimics some cinnamon benefits and uses. They’re from the same botanical family, and they both have a spicy, warm aroma — but cassia bark oil is sweeter than cinnamon.