Herbs or Spices


Fountain of youth? Who knows if herbs are the answer to youth, but with all the coverage they have received through history it appears that many believe it. Herbs themselves have been one of God’s special blessings. They have provided people with flavors, fragrances, and medical benefits. Bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds travel hundreds of miles in search of the aromatic perfume of their favorite flower. Exotic spices from far away lands can turn the heads of kings. Our Lord, Jesus, was anointed with the costliest of perfumes in preparation for burial.

The words herbs and spices can be used interchangeably. Their medicinal and culinary value are equal. Probably the most remembered herbs in the Bible are frankincense and myrrh, as they were two of the gifts the wise men brought to the baby Jesus. Frankincense represents holiness, while myrrh is very aromatic and resinous and is obtained from thorn trees. Many believe the myrrh was to symbolize the suffering that would come to Jesus in the future, perhaps referring to the “crown of thorns” that we wore on the cross. Myrrh was used as a spice to make inexpensive wine more palatable. It was common to offer this mixture to criminals in Roman times and indeed was offered to Jesus.

Experts claim that the aloes of the Bible are derived from the sap of the eaglewood tree. Aloes retain their fragrance for many years, a characteristic that would make them useful for anointing the dead, because of the Jewish custom of often entering a tomb for ceremonies. American aloe, or agave, is succulent, and is not to be confused with the biblical aloes.

The value and usefulness of herbs led to them being an object of bartering as part of trade and taxes. Rue was used as medicine and in cooking. It is very aromatic and used as a stimulant. It is also known as the “herb of grace.” Brushes med from rue were once used to sprinkle holy water at mass.

Coriander has numerous Old Testament references. The manna sent from heaven in the wilderness was compared to it in Exodus.

Garlic is mentioned only once in the Bible, but it is done so in a way that makes the reader aware of how much the Israelites missed this culinary food. “We remember the fish which we used to eat free in Egypt, the cucumbers and the melons and the leeks and the onions and the garlic” (Num. 11:5).

Hyssop was known as a holy herb that was used to cleanse sacred places.  In psalm 51:7 David uses hyssop in a prayer of forgivenes. “Purify me wiht hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.”

Cinnamon was often used as a medicine and a spice. Was also used in the holy oil in the tabernacle to anoint priests and sacred vessels as mentioned in Exodus 30: 22-25.

In 1975, 25 percent of all drugs were still made from herbs….today that amount is much less. The transition from herbs to drugs was accelerated by the world wars that interrupted the international trade in herbs, which made synthetics attractive. Making synthetic drugs became attractive. In many studies, herbal products clearly perform better. For instance, Ginger has been shown superior to Dramamine as a therapy for motion sickness.

In ancient times, sweet spices were often treasured as gifts. Bitter herbs may taste bad, but they have great medicinal qualities such as: stimulating the appetite, stimulate the digestive juices, strengthen poor digestion, help the liver filter harmful substances, metabolize fat, manages hypoglycemia and diabetes and helps to reverse stomach ulcers.

Seasoning our life with herbs is a great addition to our treasure chest for ultimate health. And remember there is no “one herb” that is the magic cure for everything in your health. An assortment of herbs will give you an assortment of nutrients.

This post is featured on Wildcrafting Wednesday, Teach Me Tuesdays, Barn yard Farming Connection Blog


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two brunette sisters busy with crafting, cooking, teaching, reading and living

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