Bible Herbs by Clara Myers

Of course, any mention of biblical herbs has to include myrrh. Myrrh is dried resin from a certain species of shrub that grows in arid regions. There are actually two types of myrrh — one medicinal and one fragrant. Botanical scholars believe the myrrh of biblical times had opiate qualities which makes Mark 15:23 more comprehensible. Jesus was offered vinegar mixed with myrrh but refused it. He would not be drugged.

Frankincense, although not an herb, is well known from the Bible. Frankincense is obtained from certain trees in the Middle East. The limbs are slit and the resin that is released is collected an used as incense. In the Bible, it was used for holy incense, and many religions still use it for that purpose today.

I release my faith and believe for my healing knowing that even a small amount of faith (as a mustard seed) can work miracles – Luke 17:6

Since many herbs trace their roots to the Holy Land, they are a living connection to the Bible. While there are too many to list, here are some that are still in use and healing today-


Mustard is categorized as a food, medicine, spice, and condiment. Taken internally, it’s a superior stimulant similar in effect to cayenne. Mustard seeds have been shown to help reduce the severity of asthma, decrease some symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, and help prevent cancer.


Great for congestion as well as an antiseptic and disinfectant. Mentioned in old and new testaments, this herb will reduce inflammation and loosen phlegm.


Mint was a well-known food flavoring during Biblical times, and it still is. It was also taken after eating a meal as a digestive aid.


Both Hebrews and Egyptians used myrrh for incense, perfumes, cosmetics, and medicines. It has excellent cleansing properties, and today we use it in treating sore throats and as an ingredient in mouthwash for sore and bleeding gums.


Nutmeg comes from a tree that produces two different spices. The outside of the seed is Mace, an internal part of the seed is nutmeg. It’s well known for being added to baked goods, but can also be used as a sedative and treatment for diarrhea, vomiting, and nausea.

And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations – Revelations 22:2

Healing With Herbs

The medicinal power of herbs is something which the people in Biblical times knew quite well. Since many people today are health conscious, there is a resurgence in exploring herbs as medicines. A survey conducted by Prevention magazine indicated that one-third of all adults now use herbs to treat health conditions such as allergies, burns, colds, flu, and depression. Even the herbs we think of as spices, also have medicinal qualities —

  • Anise (Matthew 23:23 KJV)
  • Coriander (Exodus 16:31; Numbers 11:7)
  • Cinnamon (Exodus 30:23; Revelation 18:13)
  • Cumin (Isaiah 28:25; Matthew 23:23)
  • Dill (Matthew 23:23)
  • Garlic (Numbers 11:5)
  • Mint (Matthew 23:23; Luke 11:42)
  • Mustard (Matthew 13:31)
  • Rue (Luke 11:42)

I am the true vine and my Father is the gardener – John 15:1

Creating a Bible Garden

What the heck is a mandrake, and why did Reuben give one to Leah? Bible stories may sound familiar, but it’s hard to visualize the myriad of herbs, flowers, plants, and trees that are mentioned in scripture. What comes to your mind when you read Solomon’s beloved is like a rose of Sharon?

Drawing a blank? Lots of people do and that’s partly why Bible gardens are growing in popularity. Many people are curious about the herbs and plants mentioned in the scriptures. The typical bible garden is simply one that uses the botanicals mentioned in the Old and New Testaments. While there is not a specific design, there is normally a place to pray or meditate in a Bible garden.

Because most of the Middle East was desert, a garden was very important to the people of those times. In fact, it was so valuable that it was known as an oasis. That is probably why the Bible teaches so many Christian concepts — seasons of life, bearing fruit, etc.– with gardening metaphors.

If you want to see Bible gardens on a grand scale, visit the Magnolia Plantation in Charleston, South Carolina, the Warsaw Biblical Garden in Indiana, or the Franciscan Monastery in Washington, DC. You’ll get some ideas on how to create your own version of a Bible garden. 

I'm interested in all forms of alternative health but my focus is on natural health ideas that involve clean eating, herbs, supplements, and mindfulness.

Image credit:  Commiphora myrrha tree, one of the primary trees from which myrrh is harvested. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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