A Christian Perspective On Aromatherapy

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Oils of the Bible

The mentioning of essential oils and anointing oils in the Bible help us see how people in the Bible used essential oils daily. Now you can know what Aaron smelled like when he was consecrated as the high priest with the holy anointing oil. Imagine how lovely Ester smelled after 6 months of beautifying essential oil treatments! Or the aroma that filled the house when the wise men brought frankincense and myrrh to the baby Jesus!


Oils of the Bible


The purpose of the Christian Bible is to reveal God and Jesus Christ, in doing so the Bible also reveals a lot about life in ancient times. Since the very beginning people used aromatic plants. The first Biblical reference to essential oils or aromatic plants is in the second chapter of Genesis verse 12, the land is describe as having the best gold, aromatic resin and onyx.


According to the research of David Stewart the Bible refers to essential oils or aromatic plants and aromatic products 1035 times. There are at least 33 Bible reference to essential oil producing plants.


The word “oil” is mentioned 191 times in the Bible. While “olive oil” is specifically mentioned only 7 times, there are 147 instances where it can be inferred. Olive oil was not only a food, but was burned in lamps for light and olive oil was used as a base for blending other anointing oils for religious or medicinal purposes. As in Exodus 30:22-31. Olive oil was often used to cleanse wounds.


Incense of the Bible


Incense” is mentioned 68 times in the Bible. In 54 of these references the healing oils of frankincense, myrrh, galbanum and onycha are indicated. In other instances, the Hebrew word translated into English as “incense” was “lebonah”, which is actually frankincense. In only eight of the instances where incense is mentioned are the oils in the anointing oil formula not identifiable.


Emotional Support and Healing Oils


The Bible mentions essential oils in Psalm 45:7-8. Proverbs 27:9, Isaiah 61:3 and Hebrews 1:9 refers to “The Oil of Joy” or “Gladness” and how oils “rejoice the heart.” Biblical reference to essential oils also use the terms “Fragrances,” “odors,” “ointments,” “aromas,” “perfumes,” or “sweet savors.”


When you inhale the aroma of essential oils the emotional center of the brain is affected. Many essential oils are very uplifting, some are calming and some are emotionally cleansing. Some essential oils are believed to enhance the spiritual state during worship.  

Holy Anointing Oils


“Take also for yourself the finest of spices: of flowing myrrh five hundred shekels, and of fragrant cinnamon half as much, two hundred and fifty, and of fragrant cane two hundred and fifty, and of cassia five hundred, according to the shekel of the sanctuary, and of olive oil a hin. You shall make of these a holy anointing oil, a perfume mixture, the work of a perfumer; it shall be a holy anointing oil.”

Exodus 30:23-25


From these Biblical reference to essential oils we can learn that the oils of the Bible were used for anointing objects and people to set them apart as sacred. In Exodus 30 God even gives the recipe for the holy anointing oil, using fragrant oils and olive oil. It was forbidden for anyone but the priests to use this recipe. The priests were the leaders for many activities including leading worship, receiving of offerings, performing the sacrifices, prayers, spiritual counselors, they listened to confessions, they were enforcers of the law and they were responsible for certain medical diagnoses and treatments which included inspecting people who had been healed of contagious diseases. They were also responsible for maintaining the Tabernacle or temple.


Many people believe that Moses used the holy anointing oil to protect the Israelites from a plague. Modern science shows that these essential oils contain either immune-stimulating or antiviral compounds or both, which may explain why God chose these healing oils to use in the holy anointing oil recipe. 


Present Day Priesthood


But what does that mean for us today? Does that leave us out on a limb?


“For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said ‘I will dwell in them and walk among them and I will be their God and they shall be my people.’”

2 Corinthians 6:16


“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own.”

1 Corinthians6:19


So then it is our responsibility as Christians to treat our bodies as a holy temple. Have you ever read in the Bible the detailed description of how the Tabernacle with its furniture and curtains were to be made? God wanted only the very best for His dwelling place. It is our duty to keep our bodies in the best possible condition and to use the tools that He put on this earth. One tool is good nutritious food and another is healing plants, which can be used in the form of essential oils.


Healing Oils 


 Also the Biblical reference to aromatherapy shows the oils of the Bible were used as healing oils. The disciples of Jesus were sent out in pairs. Jesus gave them authority over unclean spirits. They were to preach repentance, cast out demons and anoint the sick with oil. The result was that many were healed. (Mark 6:7-13)


James 5:14

“Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; and the prayer offered in faith will restore the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up, and if he has committed sins, they will be forgiven him. Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.”


This is a wonderful recipe for healing. Praying alone may work, repenting alone may work, and using essential oils alone may work but put them all together and you have a powerful formula!



Some of the Aromatic Plants in the Bible


                Leviticus 14:4

                Leviticus 14:6

                Leviticus 14:49

                Leviticus 14:51

                Leviticus 14:52

                Numbers 19:6

                1 Kings 6:15

                Ezra 3:7


Spikenard (“nard” according to NAS)

                Song of Solomon 4:13

                Song of Solomon 4:14

                Mark 14:3

                John 12:3



                Leviticus 26:16

                Isaiah 19:8

                Isaiah 33:9

                Jeremiah 15:9

                Lamentations 4:9



                Matthew 23:23

                Luke 11:42            


Aromatherapy Oils for Emotions
Naomi Eve Aromatherapy

Copyright by Naomi Ball
Certified Aromatherapist