by Kathy & Bharati Ramteke

Plants have been used throughout history, (and even during pre-historic times), by civilizations around the world for food, medicine, tools, household implements and spiritual ritual. So, it is not surprising to discover that both the old and the new Testament contain hundreds of descriptions of the use of herbs for all of these purposes.
 
Acacia wood is one of the first references to plants in the Bible.
 
God instructs Moses to use acacia wood to build the Sacred Tabernacle and the Ark of the Covenant. Later in history, Christ's crown of thorns was also fashioned from Acacia.
 
You shall make upright frames of acacia wood for the tabernacle….[Exodus 26:15]
 
Garlic
was prized by the Isrealites . They complained of missing it after they left Egypt.
 
We remember….the leeks, the onions and the garlic….[Numbers 11:4-6]
 
During the Middle Ages it was a common Christian tradition to carry garlic as a good luck charm that could ward off demons and vampires. Now scientific research has linked the consumption of garlic to various health benefits- including having the ability to kill pathogenic microorganisms- perhaps their belief was not that far from the truth!
 
[Genesis 13:14-16] Throughout history, the mandrake plant has been associated with fertility and sexual prowess. It has a root that resembles a human image, and has been favored by both priests- Hebrews considered it a protection against evil spirits, and witches, who used the potent extract to induce hallucinations. Used incorrectly, the toxins in the Mandrake can cause dizziness, insanity and even death. In the famous biblical love ballad, The Song of Solomon, there is a reference to the pleasant smell given off by the mandrake.
 
..The Mandrakes give a smell, and at our gates are all manner of pleasant fruits…
[Song of Solomon 7:12-13]
 
In Matthew 2:11, Myrrh is mentioned as one of the wise men's original gifts to the Christ Child. Myrrh is the gum resin exuded from a small shrub-like tree, which has been used to anoint the dead, and act medicinally as an expectorant or astringent. In the Book of Esther there is a description of myrrh being used as part of the beauty treatment given to wives of the king.
 
………..six months with oil of myrrh and six months with perfumes and cosmetics for women…… [Esther 2:12}
 
In The Song of Solomon 1:13 and 4:6, myrrh is compared with the joys of sexual love.
 
The poplar tree was used by Jacob in an interesting way, as described in Genesis 30:37-43 . When his father-in-law promised him all the sheep and goats born with a mottled and striped coat, Jacob cut poplar branches and arranged them in front of the animals in a criss-crossed pattern, while they were mating . An unusually high number of stripped and mottled young were born that season!
 
In Genesis 18, the majestic oak tree is designated as the tree under which Abraham greeted two angels and supposedly God himself, all disguised as travelers. The oak is mentioned over 60 times in the Bible. Oak is important in all areas where is grows as a source of food- acorns- and for its wood and shade.
 
In this passage there is a description of how to care for an olive tree.
 
……remember that it is not you that support the olive root, but the root that supports you… [Romans 11:16-18]
 
The leaf of the Olive Tree was carried by a dove to Noah on Mount Ararat, signaling the imminent recession of the flood waters. Individual olive trees can live over 1000 years, leading to the use of olive oil as a 'longevity herb'. There are Olive Trees in the Garden of Gethsemane in the Holy Land that are reputed to still be living since Christ slept there during his last night of freedom.
 
The grapevine is symbolized in many places throughout the bible. Here Christ states:
 
I am the true vine and my Father is the gardener…..[John 15:1-2]
 
When Adam and Eve were in the Garden of Eden , Eve was tempted by the serpent to eat the fruit from the Tree of The Knowledge of Good and Evil. Although this fruit is not directly identified, there are many passages suggesting that it was the grape. [?] Other fruits, including orange, fig and pomegranate have been considered, also. However, popular belief awards this dubious honor to the apple. The Apple of Eve represents the loss of innocence, indulgence and giving into temptation.
 
The Almond tree symbolizes many things to the ancient Isrealites. An almond tree grew from Aaron's
staff that his brother, Moses, stuck into the ground.
 
…it put forth buds, produced blossoms and bore ripe almonds…[Numbers 17:8]
 
Almonds have been prized for their oil and nutritive seeds in many areas of the world. Almonds are an excellent high protein food, also rich in minerals.
 
Aloes
were used as an anointing balm for the dead, including Christ.
 
…they took the body of Jesus and bound it in linen clothes with the spices{ myrrh and aloes}, as is the burial custom of the Jews. [John 19: 39-40]
 
Aloe is well known wherever it grows in the world as a healing agent, especially soothing to the skin. It is often referred to as 'the burn plant.'
 
Cinnamon was often used as a medicine, as well as a spice.
 
I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes and cinnamon.. [Proverbs 7:17-18]
 
Cinnamon is a delicious spice long coveted for its aromatic qualities. Cinnamon was used in the holy oil used in the tabernacle to anoint priests and sacred vessels, as mentioned in Exodus 30 : 22-25.
 
In the fascinating book, The Essene Gospel of Peace a 3rd Century Aramaic Manuscript was translated by Edmond Bordeaux Szekely in 1937. These manuscripts are widely known as The Dead Sea Scrolls. This text claims to contain exact healing formulas dictated by Jesus to the sick, as he traveled through the Holy Land performing healings. A scribe followed Jesus and wrote down his prescriptions in Aramaic, the ancient pre-hebrew language used at that time. The following is from this text:
 
"So eat always from the table of God: the fruit of the trees, the grain and grasses of the field, the milk of beasts, and the honey of bees. For everything beyond these is of Satan, and leads by the way of sins and of diseases unto death. But the foods which you eat from the abundant table of God give strength and youth to your body, and you will never see disease."

Evangelical Fellowship of India