12 Oils of Ancient Scripture


The twelve most significant oils found in the Bible. Young Living’s wish in bringing them to you is that you will savor and enjoy the beautiful fragrances and intriguing histories of these precious pure essential oils.

Includes 5ml bottles of: Aloes/sandalwood, cassia, cedarwood, cypress, frankincense, galbanum, hyssop, myrrh, myrtle, onycha, rose of Sharon/cistus, spikenard


  12 Oils of Ancient Scripture


Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary defines anoint as “to apply oil to as a sacred rite, esp. for consecration.” It has been suggested that the holy anointing oil described in Exodus 30:23-25 is a symbol of being set apart for special purposes in God’s kingdom. People and objects were anointed throughout the Bible: Aaron and his sons were anointed priest, the Tabernacle and all of its vessels were anointed before being put into service, and Saul and David were anointed to be kings. The Hebrew word for Messiah, Moschiach, means “Anointed One.” Jesus Christ was twice anointed with oil of spikenard, which was so expensive that Judas was indignant that it wasn’t sold to raise money for the poor.

God mandated that the anointing oil be fragrant when He instructed Moses to add spices and fragrant oils to the base of pure olive oil. Psalm 45 informs us that the garments of the Messiah are fragrant with myrrh, aloes, and cassia. In the Bible translation of Philippians 4:18, Paul described gifts given as “a fragrant aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well-pleasing to God.”

Incense was offered twice daily in the Tabernacle and later in the temple in Jerusalem. In Proverbs 27:9 we are told that “ointment and perfume rejoice the heart.” The New Testament suggests that the incense offering represents the prayers of saints. In Revelation 5:8, “four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints,” the King James translators chose to translate the Greek word “thumiama” as “odours” rather than “incense.” According to Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, “thumiama” (Strong’s #2368 means “fragrant powder burnt in religious services.” (See also Revelation 8:3-4) The ritual use of incense represented God’s power over life and death in Numbers 16:46-48 wherein the High Priest Aaron walked through the congregation wit it, stopping a deadly plague.


Aloes/Sandalwood  Santalum album

“And there came also Nicodemus, which at the first came to Jesus by night, and brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound weight” (John 19:39). The documenting of biblical plants and aromatics down through the ages has been inexact. The first book on plants was not published until 1566 by Levinus Lemmens. Many botanists believe that aloes was derived from sandalwood, one of the oldest incenses known to man. Its 4,000-year history includes use as a carved wood as well as distillation for its sweet-, woody-, and fruit- scented oil. The great quantity of myrrh and aloes used in preparing Christ’s body for burial was indicative of respect. Sandalwood is high in sesquiterpenes and has been studied for its ability to oxygenate the brain.


Cassia  cinnamomum cassia

“All thy garments smell of myrrh, and aloes, and cassia, out of the ivory palaces, whereby they have made thee glad” (Psalms 45:8). Two of the oldest know spices in the world are cinnamon and cassia. While cassia is similar to cinnamon, it has a more pungent, less delicate aroma. It was an ingredient in the holy anointing oil and the incense that was burned daily in the temple. Cassia oil is distilled from the plant’s leaves and twigs. In Job 42:14, Job bestowed the name Kezia (Hebrew for cassia) on one of his three daughters. Cassia oil is among the most antiseptic of essential oils.


Cedarwood  Cedrus atlantica

“And he spake of trees, from the cedar tree that is in Lebanon even unto the hyssop that springeth out of the wall” (1 Kings 4:33). The cedars of Lebanon were used to build Solomon’s Temple and Herod’s Temple where Christ taught. Cedar was an integral part of tow biblical purification rituals, one for lepers and another for those who were impure from touching a dead body (Leviticus 14:1-32; Numbers 19). Cedar was noted for its incorruptibility; and in ancient times, clothing was anointed with cedar to protect it from humidity. Cedarwood was recognized historically for its calming and purifying properties.


Cypress  Cupressus sempervirens

“He cut him down cedars, and taketh the cypress and the oak, which he strengtheneth of himself among the trees of the forest” (Isaiah 44:14). The cypress tree is reowned for its durability. The sturdy cypress doors of St. Peter’s in Rome, for example, show no signs of decay, even after 1,200 years! The mighty cypress groves of Lebanon were described in the Apocryphal Book of Ecclesiasticus as trees “which groweth up the clouds” (50:10). Some Bible scholars believe that cypress may be the “gopher wood” used to build Noah’s Ark. Cypress is used to support the circulatory system.


Frankincense  Olibanum-Boswellia carteri

“Who is this that cometh out of the wilderness like pillars of smoke, perfumed with myrrh and frankincense, with all powders of the merchant?” (Song of Solomon 3:6). An ancient synonym for frankincense is “olibanum,” derived from the Latin Olium libanum (oil of Lebanon). Frankincense may have been sold in Lebanon, but it is grown in the desert regions of Saudi Arabia, Yemen, and Oman. Because frankincense symbolizes divinity, it was one if the three gifts given to the Christ child. The temples of antiquity were fragrant with the aroma of burning frankincense. As late as the reign of England’s King George III (1760-1820), frankincense was burned ceremonially in the royal chapels. The healing power of frankincense was burned ceremonially in the royal chapels. The healing power of frankincense was known in antiquity since people used frankincense to cure everything from gout to a broken head.


Galbanum  Ferula gummosa

“And the Lord said unto Moses, Take unto thee sweet spices, stacte, and onycha, and galbanum; these sweet spices with pure frankincense: of each there shall be a like weight” (Exodus 30:34). Botanists have written that galbanum’s odor is strongly balsamic, pungent, and disagreeable when burned. There is an interesting suggestion in the Jewish Talmud as to why this powerful, less-than-fragrant resin was used in the holy incense: “Every communal fast that does not include sinners of Israel is not a fast.” This has been linked to the fact that incense included spices or perfumes with lovely fragrances, but was not complete without one spice, galbanum, with its earthy odor. Galbanum is used for its antiseptic and body-supporting properties.


Hyssop  Hyssopus officinalis

“Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow” (Psalms 51:7). The hyssop plant was used during the exodus from Egypt to dab the Hebrew’s doorposts with lamb’s blood, protecting them from the plague of death. Hyssop may be the most difficult biblical plant to identify because so many possibilities have been suggested. However, because hyssop (along with cedar) was used in purification rituals, modern-day hyssop with the chemical constituent carvacrol, which has antibacterial properties, make it a likely choice. Anciently, leprosy was believed to be a result of the sin of pride. Rabbi Isaac bar Tavli (from the 3rd Century A.D.) wrote about the use of hyssop in cleansing the leper: “You were proud like the cedar, and the Holy One, Blessed be He, humbled you like this hyssop that is crushed by everyone.” Hyssop is known for supporting the respiratory system.


Myrrh  Commiphora myrrha

“I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, and aloes, and cinnamon” (Proverbs 7:17). It is fitting that myrrh, also known as stacte, symbolizes suffering since it is produced by slicing the bark of myrrh tree so that the precious resin oozes out and hardens into drops called “tears.” Christ was given myrrh at His birth; and along with aloes, it was used in preparing His body for burial. Myrrh was included in the holy anointing oil and was well-known to the ancient perfumers. From Esther 2:12, we learn that the candidates from which King Ahasuerus was to pick his queen were prepared by anointing: “six months with oil of myrrh, and six months with sweet odours.” The Arabian people of antiquity used myrrh for a variety of skin conditions.


Myrtle  Myrtus communis

“Go forth unto the mount, and fetch olive branches, and pine branches, and myrtle branches, and palm branches, and branches of thick trees, to make booths, as it is written” (Nehemiah 8:15). When the Jews came out of Babylonian captivity, King Nehemiah commanded that they gather branches from four trees, including myrtle. To the ancient Jews, myrtle was symbolic of peace and justice. One of the promises to Israel for the future is that “instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree” (Isaiah 55:13). Myrtle has been studied for its soothing effects on the respiratory system.


Onycha  Styrax benzoin

“And the Lord said unto Moses, Take uto thee sweet spices, stacte, and onycha, and galbanum; these sweet spices with pure frankincense: of each shall there be a like weight” (Exodus 30:34). Onycha (pronounced oh-nigh-kah) stirred debate, whether it refers to a shellfish or a plant. The great Jewish scholar Rashi said that onycha is a kind of root, while the Talmud states it came from an annual plant. Young Living believes that Styrax benzoin may be the plant source for onycha. Like frankincense and myrrh, benzoin is a resin. Onycha was traditionally known for its comforting and soothing properties.


Rose of Sharon/Cistus  Labdanum-Cistus ladanifer

“I am the rose of sharon, and the lily of the valley” (Song of Solmon 2:1). Defining the rose of Sharon requires the wisdom of solmon. One likely candidate is labdanum, sometimes called rock rose. This beautiful rose has a soft honey-like scent and may be the small shrubby tree called the rose of Sharon. anciently, the gum that exudes from this plant was collected from the hair of goats that had browed among the bushes. Cistus has been studied for its effects on cell regeneration.


Spikenard  Nardostachys jatamansi

“And Jesus being in Bethany, in the house of Simon the leper, as he sat at meat, there came a woman having an alabaster box of ointment of spikenard, very precious, and she brake the box, and poured the ointment on his head” (Mark 14:3). Spikenard was transported to the Holy Land in sealed alabaster boxes all the way from the Himalayan mountains. When a distinguished guest came visiting, the master of the house showed honor by breaking open the spikenard and anointing the guest. The Hebrew and the Romans used spikenard in the burial of their dead. This is why Jesus said of the woman who poured the precious spikenard oil on Him, “She is come aforehand to anoint my body to the burying” (Mark 14:8). Spikenard helps to soothe and nourish the skin.