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What does Scripture say about the use of herbs?

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While science has made amazing advances in the world of pharmaceuticals, many turn to natural herbs for healing properties. And why not? They’ve been used since the days of the Bible. Consider these references to healing herbs in Scripture.

Perhaps one of the most notable references to herbs is in the prayer of King David after he was called out for his sin with Bathsheba. David prays,

Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. - Psalm 51:7

Research shows that this may not be what today is referred to as hyssop, but more likely esov, which is the classical Hebrew name of a plant used in religious rituals, including the Passover. What is known as hyssop today is native to southern Europe, but not to the Holy Land or to Egypt.

And as so many Old Testament stories are a foreshadowing of the Gospels, in the New Testament, hyssop is present at the crucifixion.

A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips. When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
- John 19:29-30

The instructions the Hebrews were given for the Passover meal include the use of bitter herbs.

That same night they are to eat the meat roasted over the fire, along with bitter herbs, and bread made without yeast.
- Exodus 12:8

Some scholars believe that these bitter herbs included mint, served with endive, chicory, lettus, watercress, sorrel and dandelions.

And again, before Jesus is taken away, there is the story of Mary annointing his feet with an expensive perfume, made of spikenard, or nard. [Mark 14:3] Some believe that this is what we know know as lavender.

Have you considered growing your own herbs for either health or cooking purposes? It should come as no surprise that plants used centuries ago, and that were important enough to be recorded in Scripture, could still be beneficial today.

If you're interested in growing your own herbs, check out the offerings at The Growers Exchange where you can find hundreds of options along with expert advice on when, how and what to plant.

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