Exodus 30:34–38, Sweet spices. According to Jewish tradition (b. Talmud Keritot 6a), there were eleven sweet spices (Heb. ketoret bisamim) in the tabernacle incense, four of which are mentioned here. They were balsam, clove, galbanum, frankincense, myrrh, cassia, spikenard, saffron, costus, aromatic bark (a type of cinnamon), and cinnamon. Four thousands of years, ancient cultures relied on the medicinal properties of aromatic plants. Only in recent years, has the West rediscovered the salutary benefits of these plants. Listed below are the suggested healing properties of several of these herbs. In modern times, the oils from these plants are being extracted for use in various ways. (Source of information is from various online sources and Aromatherapy Workbook by Marcel Lavabre.)
- Galbanum (Ferula gummosa or Ferula galbaniflua) is an antiseptic (prevents the growth of disease-causing microorganisms), and helps to treat asthma, acne, coughs, cramps, scar tissue, wrinkles. Apparently, the smoke from burning the resin of this plant was used in ancient times to keep flies and snakes away.
- Onycha may by cloves, which is an antiseptic, analgesic (pain relief), carminative (for relieving flatulence) or Styrax officinalis, which is a resin from this tree and is great for kidney support (edema), bronchitis, colds, sinusitis, skin conditions, and is said to relieve stress.
- Frankincense is a skin tonic, heals infected wounds and is an anti-inflammatory. It helps to reprogram cellular memory thus promoting permanent healing. It is used against typhoid, allergies herpes, tonsillitis, head injuries, depression, and cancer. Research shows that it will lower cortisol by 40 percent just by deep inhalation. Elevated cortisol contributes to weight problems.
- Myrrh (stacte) is a skin tonic or conditioner, anti-inflammatory, cough expectorant, vulnerary (heals wounds), fungicide, antiseptic, astringent (causes the contraction of body tissues—notably the skin). It is especially useful for mouth ulcers and throat infections. In ancient times, pregnant mothers anointed themselves with myrrh for protection against infectious diseases, and they used myrrh during labor to stretch the perineum and on umbilical cords. Myrrh has a long history of use in skin health and hygiene products, and it prolongs the life and scent of other oils. Myrrh helps to combat wrinkles, is antiseptic, aids in balancing the thyroid, clearing athletes foot, ringworm, viral hepatitis, thrush in babies, inflammation and bronchitis.
- Cassia (Cinnamomum cassia) is an antiseptic, antibiotic, and immune system builder.
- Spikenard is a skin tonic or conditioner.
- Aromatic Bark is an antiseptic (against flu and infectious disease), stimulant (circulation, nervous system).
- Cinnamon (leaf) is an antiseptic (against infectious disease), relieves skin irritants (e.g. poison oak).