Essential Oils In The Bible

The 3 Wise Men with the Christ child

In the Bible the most common word associated with  oils is the word “anoint” and it is used a total of 156 times. “Anoint” comes from the Greek  word (aleipho) which means to “rub or smear”.

The Greek term Christos

or “Christ” literally means “the anointed  one”.

It would seem that Jesus schooled his disciples in the art of anointing to bring about healing using olive oil mixed with precious spices and aromatic essential oils:

“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 them.”
Mark 6: 12-13

The two most well known essential oils referred to in the Bible are frankincense and myrrh.  According to the gospel of Matthew (2:11) three magi from Persia presented to the infant Jesus the gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.

These valuable items were standard gifts to honour a king or deity in the ancient world: gold as a precious metal, frankincense as perfume or incense, and myrrh as an anointing oil.

Frankincense and myrrh were associated with gold because in those times they were valued as highly as gold.

In the book of Exodus we find:

Moreover the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,
Take thou also unto thee principal spices, of pure myrrh five hundred shekels, and of sweet cinnamon half so much, even two hundred and fifty shekels, and of sweet calamus two hundred and fifty shekels,
And of cassia five hundred shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary, and of oil olive an hin:
And thou shalt make it an oil of holy ointment, an ointment compound after the art of the apothecary: it shall be an holy anointing oil.
Exodus 30: 22-33

Here the recipe as given is:

  • Myrrh essential oil (500 shekels – about 12.5 lbs)
  • Cinnamon essential oil (250 shekels – about 6.25 lbs)
  • Cassia essential oil (500 shekels – about 12.5 lbs)
  • Calamus essential oil (250 shekels)
  • Virgin Olive Oil (1 hin – about 1 gallon)

This is a LOT of oil! This blend (with another 3 oils used in ancient times) can be found in Young Living‘s Exodus II blend. This blend is truly sublime and is one of my favourites.


Exodus II essential oil blend

Exodus II ingredients:

  • Cassia (Cinnamomum cassia)
  • Myrrh (Commiphor myrrha)
  • Cinnamon (Cinnamomum verum)
  • Calamus (Acorus calamus)
  • Frankincense (Boswellia carteri)
  • Hyssop (Hyssopus officinalis)
  • Spikenard (Nardostachys jatamansi)
  • base of olive oil

Also in the book of Exodus we find the recipe for the Holy Incense :

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), and make an incense blended as by the perfumer, seasoned with salt, pure and holy.
Exodus 30:34-35

The essential oils that were used are:

• Stacte (Myrrh essential oil)
• Onycha (Benzoin essential oil)
• Galbanum essential oil
• Frankincense essential oil

For those who are interested Young Living sells an essential oil collection called the “Oils of Ancient Scripture Kit” containing 10 oils from the most significant plants, botanicals, materials, and resins in the Bible.

  • Aloes (Sandalwood): Believed to be made from fragrant sandalwood, aloes were a gift Nicodemus brought to Jesus. (John 19:39)
  • Cassia: Cassia was a key ingredient in the incense used in temple worship. (Psalms 45:8)
  • Cedarwood: The “cedars of Lebanon” were acclaimed for their durability and used to build Solomon’s famous temple. (1 Kings 4:33)
  • Cypress: This oil is extracted from the cypress tree, which has wood so durable that the cypress doors of Rome’s St. Peter’s Basilica show no sign of decay even after 1,200 years. (Isaiah 44:14)
  • Frankincense: The Hebrew word for frankincense, levonah, is used in the Bible 22 times, making it one of the most recognised materials in scripture. (Song of Solomon 3:6)
  • Hyssop: Biblical references to this plant indicate it was likely used in practices and rituals intended to purify and cleanse. (Psalms 51:7)
  • Myrrh: 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)
  • Myrtle: Sukkot, commonly translated as Feast of Tabernacles, includes myrtle branches in its ceremony. (Nehemiah 8:15)
  • Onycha: Onycha was an ingredient in the “pure and holy” perfume or incense the Lord commanded Moses to make. (Exodus 30:34)
  • Rose of Sharon (Cistus): This rock rose has a sweet, honey-like scent and may be the flower referred to as the Rose of Sharon. (Song of Solomon 2:1)



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