Essential Oil before Jesus Christ | Old Egypt & the Middle East

The History of Essential Oil 

There are not many commercial daily use products out there that have a lengthy historical background of usage.  From the proportion of the term "essential oil" in written works from 1800 to the present testifies several things: 

  1. When we talk about essential oils, we must be aware of the considerable heritage that this represents! For centuries they have been studied and used. 
  2. Essential oils have been overshadowed during the last century by incredible progress in chemistry and the synthesis of molecules in the laboratory, making natural products prohibitive. 
  3. However, for a few decades, the natural has returned in the odor of holiness, driven by the evolution of consciousnesses and the excesses of industry sometimes too rich to remain lucid.

Essential Oil before Jesus Christ | Old Egypt & the Middle East

Essential Oil before Jesus Christ 

The use of essential oils began well before our era in Ancient Egypt. Papyri found over the centuries certify the existence of "plants of life" from 4500 BC. Their use was sacred, with medicine clinging to a belief in magic and symbols.

Essential oils were used at that time in medicine, perfumery, cosmetics, and embalming. The perfume is in the customs of seduction and religion; the application in balm is common, and not exclusive to kings and the rich. 

Religion is linked to the use of essential oils when embalming bodies to bring humans closer to the gods after their death. Thanks to the maceration of the strips in essential oils before covering the bodies, some have been particularly well preserved for centuries.

Oils used in the Bible

Bible is probably the most popular and famous religious text or scriptures sacred to Christians, Jews, Samaritans, Rastafari, and others. It is a collection and record of the relationship between God and humans. In the Bible, Essential Oils refer to fragrances, ornaments, aromas, perfumes, or even savors. When searching for essential oil terms from the Bible, there are nearly 500+ searching results regarding essential oils. It is clearly shown the benefit and usage of essential oils since ancient times. 

The Bible mentioned many oils, but there are some features oils, the Young Living collection Oils of Ancient Scripture also selected ten essential oils from the Bible for aromatherapy in the modern days:

  • Aloes (Sacred Sandalwood): Believed to be made from fragrant sandalwood, aloes were a gift Nicodemus brought to Jesus. (John 19:39)
  • Cassia: Cassia was a key ingredient in the incense used in temple worship. (Psalms 45:8)
  • Cedarwood: The “cedars of Lebanon” were acclaimed for their durability and used to build Solomon’s famous temple. (1 Kings 4:33)
  • Cypress: This oil is extracted from the cypress tree, which has wood so durable that the cypress doors of Rome’s St. Peter’s Basilica show no sign of decay even after 1,200 years. (Isaiah 44:14)
  • Frankincense: The Hebrew word for frankincense, levonah, is used in the Bible 22 times, making it one of the most recognized materials in scripture. (Song of Solomon 3:6)
  • Hyssop: Biblical references to this plant indicate it was likely used in practices and rituals intended to purify and cleanse. (Psalms 51:7)
  • Myrrh: One of the key ingredients in Moses’s holy anointing oil, myrrh was highly regarded by Biblical figures such as David and Solomon. (Proverbs 7:17)
  • Myrtle: Sukkot, commonly translated as Feast of Tabernacles, includes myrtle branches in its ceremony. (Nehemiah 8:15)
  • Onycha: Onycha was an ingredient in the “pure and holy” perfume or incense the Lord commanded Moses to make. (Exodus 30:34)
  • Rose of Sharon (Cistus): This rock rose has a sweet, honey-like scent and may be the flower referred to as the Rose of Sharon. (Song of Solomon 2:1)

Search for the above essential oil terms on this online bible link -

Essential Oil before Jesus Christ | Old Egypt & the Middle East

Essential Oils in the old Egypt 

The Egyptians practiced a basic form of distillation using maceration and spinning. The plants were mixed with boiling water. After adding fabrics to this mixture, the Egyptians left the preparation to macerate for several days, so that the essences soak into the textile. To recover them, the fabrics were wrung manually.

Regarding the administration methods of the time, we find some that have not changed. Generally taken as an ointment and balm, the skin application was the most widespread. However, oral use (pure or herbal tea) was also applied.

In Egypt perfumery was firmly linked to religion that each of the gods was allotted a particular fragrance, with which their status were sometimes anointed.  One of the best known perfumes, kyphi was used by the priest.  It contained up to 16 different ingredients including honey, myrrh, cinnamon, turpentine, juniper, cardamom and wine.  Large number of ointment and cosmetic jars and perfume bottles has been found in pyramids, with the aromas of Frankincense etc.

Egyptian civilization is today considered to be the creator of essential oils. She has influenced many cultures and civilizations, bringing her medical skills to Greece, the Roman Empire, and the entire Mediterranean basin.

Essential Oils in the Middle East

The use of essential oils in the Middle East began in 4000 BC, according to some Mesopotamian tablets found. Their purpose was mainly in the perfume field until Egyptian influence in the medical field. For example, drinking basil tea for relaxation and reducing stress. From traditional to modern, Arabia still overflows with aromatic herbs and spices in the market. The Middle East aromatherapy is also a general practice for relaxation by treating mental distress. 

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