What exactly are essential oils? They are the purest form
of an herb, the volatile liquid obtained generally from
steam distillation from the plant stems, leaves, flowers,
seeds, branches, bark, and sometimes roots. They are
chemically very complex with 100’s of constituents
scientists are just now beginning to understand.
Essential oils are mankind’s first medicine, dating back to
Mark 6:12-13 "And they went out, and preached that men should repent. And
they cast out many devils, and anointed with oil many that were sick, and healed
Proverbs 3:7-8 "Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear and respect the Lord
and shun evil. This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones."
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In ancient times, essential oils and other aromatics were
used for religious rituals, as well as for the treatment of
illness and other physical and spiritual needs. According
to the Essential Oils Desk Reference compiled by Essence
Science Publishing, “Records dating back to 4500 B.C.
describes the use of balsamic substances with aromatic
properties for religious rituals and medical applications.
The translation of ancient papyrus found in the Temple of
Edfu, located on the west bank of the Nile reveals
medicinal formulas and perfume recipes used by the
alchemist and high priest in blending aromatic substances
for rituals performed in the temples and pyramids. As well,
Hieroglyphics on the walls of Egyptian temples depict the
blending of oils and describe hundreds of oil recipes.
Within these writings tell of scented barks, resins of
spices, and aromatic vinegars, wines and beers that were
used in rituals, temples, for embalming and medicine.
Thus, the Egyptians were credited as the first to discover
the potential of fragrance and were considered masters in
using essential oils and other aromatics in the embalming
process. They created various aromatic blends for
personal use, placing them in alabaster jars – a vessel
specially carved and shaped for holding fragrant oils. In
fact, when King Tut’s tomb was opened in 1922, 350 liters
of oils were discovered in alabaster jars. Amazingly,
because of the solidification of plant waxes sealing the
opening of the jars, the liquefied oil was in perfect
In the upper region of Egypt, a sect of Jews, called
Essenes, were known for their healing arts and use of
essential oils. Both Philo and Josephus writings indicated
that at the period in which John the Baptist and Jesus
were born, the Essenes were scattered over Palestine,
numbering about four thousand souls. The Essenes or
Therapeuts (used interchangeably) refer primarily to the
art of healing which these devotees professed, as it was
believed in those days that sanctity was closely allied to
the exercise of this power, and that no cure of any sort
could be imputed simply to natural causes.
The Holy Scriptures record over 1,035 references to
aromatics, ointments, savors, fragrances, plants and
incense-most implying essential oils. Twelve of the most
highly-praised fragrances in the world mentioned in the
Bible include: Frankincense, Myrrh, Spikenard, Hyssop,
Cypress, Myrtle, Aloes, Sandalwood, Galbanum, Cinnamon,
Cassia, and Onycha. Many were in the prescribed
preparation of the Holy Anointing Oil and Holy Incense for
Temple services, as well as for anointing and healing the
sick. The people of the ancient world understood the
importance of maintaining wellness and physical health,
as well as the oils’ ability to enhance their spiritual state
of worship, prayer, and for the purification from sin. King
David alluded to this in :
Psalm 51:7 when he wrote, “Purge me with hyssop and I shall be
clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.”
While David’s Psalm may have been speaking of a
“spiritual purification” from his own sin of adultery with
Bathsheba, today we know that the chemical constituents
of essential oils including hyssop are able to penetrate
the cell wall and transport needed oxygen and nutrients
to the cell nucleus. Most essential oils can be absorbed
through the skin or inhaled into the lungs where they then
make their way into the bloodstream. The sense of smell
affects the limbic region of the brain, which controls
emotions, memory and the hypothalamus, which regulates
the pituitary, which in turn balances the entire hormonal
system of the body.
A BRIEF HISTORY AND ANCIENT
USES FOR ESSENTIAL OILS
While our modern medicine has helped many, and
their diagnostic and emergency care has proven
invaluable, it is the everyday state of our health and
the prevention of illness that believers and non-
believers alike have turned over to the modern day
medicine of drugs and surgery. The bible mentions
healing herbs and oils nearly 200 times. Maybe it’s
time we take a closer look at scripture and its
Luke 4:23 "Jesus said unto them, 'Surely you will quote this proverb
to Me: Physician, heal yourself'."
Revelation 22:2 “ In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of
the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits,
and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the
healing of the nations.
Exodus 30:25 "And thou shalt make it an oil of holy ointment, an
ointment compound after the art of the apothecary: it shall be an holy
James 5:14 "Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the
church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name
of the Lord:"
Exodus 30:34-35 “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: And thou shalt
make it a perfume, a confection after the art of the apothecary, tempered
together, pure and holy: ”
Ezekiel 47:12 "Fruit trees of all kinds will grow on both banks of the river.
Their leaves will not wither, nor will their fruit fail. Every month they will bear,
because the water from the sanctuary flows to them. The fruit thereof shall be your
meat, and the leaf for medicine."
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