Essential Oils in the Bible

When I first started getting into essential oils, I really wanted to know more about if they were biblical and how people back then would have used them. The first book that I’ve been going through is Healing Oils of the Bible but also wanted to do my own independent study of them {which I’m doing slowly right now}. As I go through this research of oils in the Bible, I thought I’d share with you all what I’m finding. Maybe it’ll become a series. Time will tell.

According to Dr. David Stewart there are 1,031 references to essential oils, aromatic oil-producing plants, and their applications in the Bible, including 33 species. Lucky for you I won’t talk about all of the thousand references today. Let’s jump right into what the Word says for just a few of them. {I’m using the New Living Translation for my quotes}

There are some very practical uses of essential oils in the Bible – for beautification and fragrance. Before Esther became queen and saved the Jewish people, she was anoint with myrrh for six months as part of a beauty treatment before meeting the king. Esther 2:12, “She was given the prescribed twelve months of beauty treatments – six months with oil of myrrh, followed by six months with special perfumes and ointments.” Also in Song of Songs, before the man marries the Shumite woman, she talks about his scent when he arrives for the wedding. Song of Solomon 3:6, “Who is this sweeping in from the wilderness like a cloud of smoke? Who is it, fragrant with myrrh and frankincense and every kind of spice.”

Oils were also used for healing. Ezekiel 47:12 says, “Fruit trees of all kinds will grow along both sides of the river. The leaves of these trees will never turn brown and fall, and there will always be fruit on their branches. There will be a new crop every month, for they are watered by the river flowing from the Temple. The fruit will be for food and the leaves for healing.” Also, in Revelation 22:2 it says, “It flowed down the center of the main street. On each side of the river grew a tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, with a fresh crop each month. The leaves were used for medicine to heal the nations.

This next reference is one of my favorites, because the Joy blend of essential oils is one of my favorites for simply a perfume. While we don’t know what the “oil of joy” in the Bible consisted of, I have to believe that it was a happy scent full of vibrant aromas. Psalm 45:7 says, “Therefore God, your God, has anointed you, pouring out the oil of joy on you more than on anyone else.” {also referenced in Hebrews 1:9}

This is just a small sampling of some of the references to oils in the Bible. I’m excited to keep exploring what the Bible says about them and how they might have been used.




  1. says

    Amy — lovely post and excellent points. I have always been surprised by a society that is so quick to fill a prescription for the latest pharmaceutical, but labels homeopathic and natural remedies as “fringe” or “new age.” So many of our effective pharmaceutical medications are based on natural plants and compounds.

    I believe our most effective “medicine” is one that PREVENTS illness — a healthy diet rich in antioxidants, vitamins, & minerals. The healthier we can keep our bodies, the less we will need medicine to treat illness.

    God blessed us with the means of keeping our bodies well and to treat them when they are not — nature is full of remedies and we have brilliant minds who have synthesized pharmaceuticals as well. To summarily discount either one is a shame.

    Thanks, Amy! (typed as I’m inhaling the scent of the oil cocktail I am using to treat the pain in my neck)

    • Amy at NLRL says

      Absolutely – so quick to take a magic pill instead of trying something God-given. Not that there’s never a place for pharmaceuticals – I had to use Ethan’s inhaler when we were out of town this weekend. But having natural remedies is such a God-send. I agree wholeheartedly about the food – was just talking to my accountability partner about that today. People (myself included up till 6 months ago) don’t realize how much your gut & the food you put in it impact your body. Thanks for reading and leaving encouragement, Stac 🙂 Love ya!

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