Essential Oils in the Bible

Essential oils have been a mainstay of healing and spirituality for thousands and thousands of years. The Bible is filled with verses about essential oils. Keep reading to discover the most popular essential oils in the Bible and their uses.

two amber glass essential oil bottles next to lavender and rose

Essential Oils In The Bible

There are many people who are skeptical about essential oils. They think essential oils are just some fad that will disappear in a few years. What they fail to realize is essential oils have been around for a very long time.

(This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure statement here.)

What are Essential Oils?

If you are completely new to essential oils I highly encourage you to read What are Essential Oils & How Do They Work.

But in a nutshell, essential oils are a highly concentrated form of the natural oils in a plant. They have many health and wellness benefits and are a great alternative to many of the toxic products we use everyday.

Essential Oils In Bible Times

The essential oils in the Bible were not quite the same as the oils we know today. The distillation techniques that create the oils we use today hadn’t been invented yet.

The Bible largely refers to essential oils as extracts, ointments, aromas, fragrances, perfumes, odors and sweet savors.

During Biblical times, essential oils were used extensively in meditations, anointments, religious ceremonies and burial preparations. Some were also used in ritual cleansing, cosmetics and childbirth.


How Many Essential oils are mentioned in the Bible?

At least 33 different essential oils or aromatic oil producing plants are mentioned in the Bible. And there are over 600 references in scripture to these essential oils or aromatic producing plants.

Where are Essential Oils Mentioned in the Bible?

Essential oils are mentioned all through out the Bible. From the old testament to the new testament. There are many references in Exodus, Isaiah and Numbers. Detailed verses are below.

What Essential Oils Are Mentioned In The Bible?

Below are some of the most popular essential oils of the Bible. But please keep in mind there are actually many more and also many other scripture references. If you want to dive deeper into essential oils and the Bible I suggest reading one of the recommended books at the bottom of this post..

1 | Cypress

Cypress appears only a few times in the Bible. Isaiah 44:14 says………

“Surely he cuts cedars for himself, and takes a cypress or an oak and raises it for himself among the trees of the forest. He plants a fir, and the rain makes it grow.”

Cypress essential oil is extracted from the cypress tree. Cypress has a fresh, herbaceous aroma that can promote a sense of security and grounding.


How was cypress used in the Bible?

Cypress was mainly used for building. It is used many times in the Bible as a symbol of prosperity and security.

2 | Sandalwood / Aloe

The aloes used in the Bible actually have no relation to the aloe vera plant. But instead are what we know today as sandalwood. Sandalwood is part of the oil of gladness mentioned in Psalm 45:8.

“All Your garments are fragrant with myrrh and aloes and cassia;
Out of ivory palaces stringed instruments have made You glad.”

It also appears again in Proverbs 7:17……………

“I have sprinkled my bed
With myrrh, aloes and cinnamon.”

And Joseph of Arimathaea and Nicodemus also used the fragrant aloes when preparing Jesus’ body for burial in John 19:39-40.

“Nicodemus, who had first come to Him by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds weight. So they took the body of Jesus and bound it in linen wrappings with the spices, as is the burial custom of the Jews.”

Many of the different varieties of sandalwood are approaching extinction. It is also very costly to extract sandalwood essential oil. For these reasons, pure sandalwood essential oil is very expensive.

Sandalwood essential oil provides an uplifting, warm, woodsy, and sweet aroma.


How was Sandalwood used in the Bible?

Sandalwood was used as a perfume, incense and burial ointment.

3 | Cedarwood

Cedarwood is definitely one of my favorite essential oils of the Bible. The cedars of Lebanon are referenced over 70 times in the Bible as the ultimate symbol of purification and strength.

In the Bible cedarwood is used often in rituals for cleansing lepers of their disease and for cleansing priests and citizens of their sins. Numbers 19:6 says…………..

“The priest shall take cedar wood and hyssop and scarlet material and cast it into the midst of the burning heifer.”


How was Cedarwood used in the Bible?

Cedarwood  was used often as a perfume and also as a ceremonial tool for cleansing leprosy. It was also used for building.

4 | Hyssop

The Bible contains a number of references to hyssop. Exodus 12:22 says…….

“You shall take a bunch of hyssop and dip it in the blood which is in the basin, and apply some of the blood that is in the basin to the lintel and the two doorposts; and none of you shall go outside the door of his house until morning”

Psalm 51:7 tells us that the use of the hyssop plant brings detoxification to the mind and the home.

“Purify me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.”

In John 19:29 the hyssop branch was used to lift the vinegar soaked sponge to Jesus’ lips in the moments before his death.

“A jar full of sour wine was standing there; so they put a sponge full of the sour wine upon a branch of hyssop and brought it up to His mouth.”

How was Hyssop used in the Bible?

Hyssop was used often in ceremonial offerings and ritual cleansing.

5 | Myrrh

Myrrh is one of the more popular, well known essential oils of the Bible. In biblical times myrrh had a reputation for being one of the most versatile and highly prized spices.

Genesis 43:11 tells us it was one of the gifts Jacob’s sons brought to the vizier of Egypt, who they did not know was their brother, Joseph.

“Then their father Israel said to them, “If it must be so, then do this: take some of the best products of the land in your bags, and carry down to the man as a present, a little balm and a little honey, aromatic gum and myrrh, pistachio nuts and almonds.”

Queen Esther used it as part of her purification rituals.

“Now when the turn of each young lady came to go in to King Ahasuerus, after the end of her twelve months under the regulations for the women– for the days of their beautification were completed as follows: six months with oil of myrrh and six months with spices and the cosmetics for women” Esther 2:12

The Magi brought it as a gift to baby Jesus.

“After coming into the house they saw the Child with Mary His mother; and they fell to the ground and worshiped Him. Then, opening their treasures, they presented to Him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.” Matthew 2:11

Joseph and Nicodemus used myrrh to bind cloth around the body of Jesus after his crucifixion.

“Nicodemus, who had first come to Him by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds weight. So they took the body of Jesus and bound it in linen wrappings with the spices, as is the burial custom of the Jews.” John 19:39-40

Myrrh essential oil is common in cosmetic and aromatic industries. Its calming, complex aroma brings a deeper sense of spirituality to practices such as yoga and meditation, and its moisturizing and cleansing properties have made it popular in high-end skin care and beauty products.

How was myrrh used in the Bible?

Myrrh was used in the Bible for many different things. Some of its most popular uses were for burial, anointing and worship.

6 | Cassia

Cassia was a key ingredient in the incense used in temple worship. It’s also one of the key ingredients in the holy anointing oil Moses uses for the tabernacle and the ark of the covenant.

“Moreover, the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “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 30:22-25

The writer of Psalms states that God’s own garments are scented with Cassia.

“All Your garments are fragrant with myrrh and aloes and cassia;
Out of ivory palaces stringed instruments have made You glad” Psalms 45:8

The essential oil of cassia is derived by steam distillation of its leaves and twigs. The bark is also used sometimes to extract the oil. Cassia essential oil can be used in cooking and cleaning. It also has many surprising health benefits. So I encourage you to do your research.

How was Cassia used in the Bible?

Cassia was used often for anointing and worship.

7 | Myrtle

The myrtle tree is portrayed as a symbol of strength throughout the old testament. Isaiah 55:13 defines the myrtle tree as a direct representation of God.

“Instead of the thorn bush the cypress will come up,
And instead of the nettle the myrtle will come up,
And it will be a memorial to the Lord,
For an everlasting sign which will not be cut off.”

Myrtle oil is well known for its antimicrobial, astringent, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, expectorant, decongestant, and stimulant properties.

How was myrtle used in the Bible?

Myrtle was used often as a symbol of protection and provision.

8 | Rose of Sharon

Rose of Sharon is only mentioned one time in the Bible. Song of Solomon 2:1 says……………

”I am the rose of Sharon, The lily of the valleys.”

The reference is meant as a romantic compliment to the writers sweetheart. Many Christian scholars believe the Song of Solomon to be an allegory for the coming of Christ. Many think the rose of sharon is actually a symbol of Christ himself.

Rose of Sharon essential oil has many health benefits but is especially good for the skin. It can also be used during prayer and meditation to heighten spiritual awareness.

How was Rose of Sharon used in the Bible?

Some people believe Rose of Sharon was used as an aphrodisiac.

9 | Onycha

In the Scripture, Onycha is referred to as the sweet spice. It is used in the incense Moses produces in accordance to God’s instructions.

“Then the Lord said to Moses, “Take for yourself spices, stacte and onycha and galbanum, spices with pure frankincense; there shall be an equal part of each.”

Onycha has many anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, and astringent properties plus many other medicinal properties.

How was Onycha used in the Bible?

Onycha was used as a holy ceremonial perfume and also for anointing.

10 | Frankincense

Frankincense is without a doubt one of the most popular essential oils of the Bible. Along with Myrrh, Frankincense was one of the three gifts the Magi brought to baby Jesus.

“After coming into the house they saw the Child with Mary His mother; and they fell to the ground and worshiped Him. Then, opening their treasures, they presented to Him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.” Matthew 2:11

How was Frankincense used in the Bible?

Frankincense was used as a perfume and also for anointing and worship.

What oils are used for anointing?

The primary purpose of anointing someone or something was to sanctify or set it apart as holy. The holy anointing oil described in Exodus was made with myrrh, sweet cinnamon, calamus, cassia and olive oil.

Essential Oils in the Bible & Their Modern Uses

Essential oils in the Bible have many modern uses. Read more about each oils common modern uses below

Learn More About the essential oils of the Bible

These are just a few of the essential oils of the Bible. There are actually many more and way more scripture references. If you would like to learn more I suggest you read Essential Oils of the Bible: Connecting God’s Word to Natural Healing and Healing Oils of the Bible. Both are great books that I personally own and highly recommend!


As essential oils have become increasingly popular over the years they’ve also become much easier to obtain. But do not be deceived. Not all oils are created equal. Many oils being sold today are synthetic.

Your body processes synthetic oils as a toxin which does not help your body but actually works against it. So please do your research before purchasing essential oils.

I use essential oils from several different essential oil companies. I love Eden’s GardenPlant Therapy and Florihana.

Plant Therapy and Eden’s Garden have amazing blends that can be easily purchased from AmazonAnd Florihana is my go to for single oils.

You can read my full Florihana essential oils review here and discover why I love them so much!

What are your favorite essential oils of the Bible? Let me know in the comments below!

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