Wednesday, December 28, 2016


The Bible refers to almost 150 plants that were common to life in ancient Israel and the Mediterranean.  Herbs are found in the Bible from the Old Testament where thistles (Silybum marianum) are mentioned in Genesis 3:18 through the New Testament where cinnamon (Cinnamomum zeylanicum or Cinnamomum cassia) is mentioned in Revelation 18:12-13.  Herbs referred to in the Bible were used for food (CUL), ritual and ceremony (ARO), personal care (COS) plus the treatment of disease (MED).

That same night they are to eat the meat roasted over the fire, 
along with
 bitter herbs, and bread made without yeast.”
Exodus 12:8

CULINARY HERBS - Herbs used for cooking and eating

BITTER HERBS (Exodus 12:8; Numbers 9:11) are certain wild plants with sharp-tasting leaves that are packed with healthful nutrients.

            CHICORY (Cichorium pumilum) – CUL,MED

            DANDELION (Taraxacum officinale) – CUL,MED,COS

            ENDIVE (Cichorium endivia) – CUL,MED

            SORREL (Rumex acetosella) – CUL,MED

            WATERCRESS (Nasturtium officinale) – CUL,MED

CARAWAY (Carum carvi) Isaiah 28:25-27 – CUL,MED

CORIANDER/CILANTRO (Coriandrum sativum) Exodus 16:31; Numbers 11:7 – CUL,MED

CUMIN/CUMMIN (Cuminum cyminum) Isaiah 28:25-27; Matthew 23:23 – CUL,MED,COS

DILL (Anethum graveolens) Matthew 23:23 – CUL,MED

MINT (Mentha longifolia) Matthew 23:23; Luke 11:42 – CUL,MED,COS 

MUSTARD, BLACK (Brassica nigra) Matt. 13:31-32; Mark 4:30-32 – CUL,MED

SAFFRON (Song of Solomon 4:13-14) could have referred to any of the following:

            SAFFRON (Crocus sativus) – CUL,MED,COS

            SAFFLOWER (Carthamus tinctorius) – COS,MED

            TURMERIC (Curcuma longa) – CUL,MED,COS

We remember the fish we ate in Egypt at no cost -
also the
 cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions and garlic.
But now we have lost our appetite;
we never see anything but this manna!”
Numbers 11:5-6

ALLIUM vegetables (Numbers 11:5) mentioned include the following:

            LEEKS (Allium porrum) – CUL,MED

            ONION (Allium cepa) – CUL,MED

            GARLIC (Allium sativum) – CUL,MED

CUCUMBER (Cucumis sativus) Isaiah 1:8 – CUL,MED

LENTILS (Lens culinaris) Genesis 25:29-34; 2 Samuel 17:28 – CUL,MED

MELON (Cucumis melo) Numbers 11:5 – CUL,MED

Then Moses summoned all the elders of Israel and said to them, 
Go at once and select the animals for your families and slaughter the Passover lamb.
Take a bunch of
 hyssop, dip it into the blood in the basin and put some of the blood
 on the top and on both sides of the doorframe.
None of you shall go out of the door of your house until morning
Exodus 12:21-22

RITUAL/CEREMONIAL HERBS were used for purification, sprinkling blood and holy water, incense and anointing oil

FRANKINCENSE (Boswellia sacra) Exodus 30:34-35; Matthew 2:11; Luke 1:9 – ARO,MED,COS

HYSSOP (Origanum syriacum) Ex.12:22; Lev. 14:49; I Kings 4:33; Psalms 51  – ARO,MED,COS

RUE (Ruta chalepensis) Luke 11:42 – ARO,MED

Your plants are an orchard of pomegranates with choice fruits, 
 henna and nard, nard and saffron, calamus and cinnamon, 
with every kind of incense tree,
 myrrh and aloes and all the finest spices.”   
Song of Solomon 4:13-15

PERSONAL CARE HERBS are plants used for cosmetics, perfume, embalming and dyes

ALOE (Aloe vera) Proverbs 7:17; John 19:39–40 – COS,ARO,MED

CALAMUS (Cymbopogon martinii or Acorus calamus) Exodus 30:23 – COS,ARO,MED,CUL

HENNA (Lawsonia inermis) Song of Solomon 1:14 – COS,ARO,MED

MYRRH (Commiphora abyssinica) Exodus 30:23-28; Psalm 45:8; Matthew 2:11; John 19:39–40 – COS,ARO,MED

SPIKENARD (Nardostachys jatamansi) Song of Solomon 4:13-14; John 12:3– COS,ARO,MED

There they offered Jesus wine to drink, 
mixed with gall; 
but after tasting it, he refused to drink it.
Matthew 27:34

MEDICINAL HERBS were wild plants used for the treatment of diseases and many are not specially mentioned in the Bible and others have already been classified for their other uses.

GALL (Lamentations 3:19; Proverbs 5:4; Lamentations 3:15,19) may refer to either of the following plants when mixed with vinegar as an anesthetic or poison:

            OPIUM POPPY (Papaver somniferum) - MED

            WORMWOOD (Artemisia herba-alba) Revelation 8:11 - MED
The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it,
the world, and all who live in it;
for he founded it upon the seas and established it upon the waters.”
Psalm 24:1-2

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