by Jennifer Poindexter
Have you ever pondered the history in your herb garden? Chances are you haven’t. Most of us become so busy with growing a garden that we hardly stop to think about the history behind each plant.
One resource we can use, to learn a little more about our plants, is the Bible. I’m going to bring you a list of herbs which are specifically mentioned in scripture. I will also include the scripture reference, so you can read about the plants which interest you.
If you’re interested in including historical plants in your herb garden, here are a few which were grown in Biblical times.
I love the flavor of cumin. If you eat much Mexican cuisine, you’re probably familiar with this flavor. It has been used for generations.
This herb is a typical ingredient in taco seasoning and can be used to make curry as well. If you need a flavorful dish, cumin is a good place to start.
According to the Bible, this herb was found growing in many fields during this time. You can read the reference to cumin in Isaiah 28:25.
Cinnamon, by itself, can be a little harsh. Over the years we have learned to use smaller amounts of this herb or to mix it with sugar.
Regardless of how you use it, many people love it. It’s great in baked goods, on toast, or being used in tea. If you love cinnamon, you might find it interesting that it, too, was mentioned in the Bible.
In scripture, it was used to make an anointing oil. You can read the complete reference to this herb in Exodus 30:23.
This herb is one that carries a certain amount of potency. It’s becoming more of a favorite in recent years because many believe it has certain health benefits.
If you love the taste of turmeric, you can try adding it to both your foods and beverages. Turmeric is discussed a little differently in the Bible.
It was considered a valuable herb. Therefore, it wouldn’t come as a surprise that Solomon used this herb to describe his bride in Song of Solomon 4:14-15.
If you’ve ever had a sunburn, you know aloe is one of the first things many turn to. It is well documented that aloe can help relieve the sting of a burn.
However, it’s also becoming a favorite for those who enjoy raising succulents. The plant is unique in appearance and forgiving in its regimen of care.
Seeing as this plant is aesthetically appealing and serves a functional purpose, it’s not surprising Nicodemus brought it as a gift to Jesus. This is recounted in John 19:39.
5. Bitter Herbs
Bitter herbs consist of plants with a harsher flavor profile. It’s likely this included herbs such as horseradish, parsley, coriander, and horehound.
The instructions to such herbs were given in Exodus 12:8 when the Israelites were preparing for their Exodus from Egypt.
This is now celebrated as the Passover. Whether you celebrate this holiday or would like to take an actual taste of history, bitter herbs might deserve a spot on your menu.
Anise isn’t a common herb. It has lush foliage and white blooms. It’s said to have a flavor similar to that of black licorice.
If you’d like to add an herb to your garden which brings a strong flavor and a bit of history, this could be the herb for you.
The herb is referenced in Matthew 23:23, depending upon the version of your Bible. It was used to season food and as a method of tithing.
Cassia is more of a tree than a smaller herb. However, it is commonly grown in China and other areas of Southeast Asia.
It shares a similar flavor profile as cinnamon. This would explain why it’s known as Chinese cinnamon in many parts of the world.
This herb was used in the past, and still is in some areas, to make oil. Cassia is mentioned in the Bible in Ezekiel 27:19 when discussing trading among nations.
Flax is a gorgeous herb that resembles a wildflower. It has long green foliage and is topped off with a delicate lilac colored bloom.
Some grow flax for its seeds. These are high in fiber and enjoyed in a variety of recipes.
The plant also produces fibers which are used in woven cloth. Due to its versatility, it shouldn’t come as a surprise, this herb was relied upon heavily in the Bible.
This also explains why it’s mentioned so many times. You can reference flax, in the Bible, in Exodus 9:31, Joshua 2:6, Judges 15:14, Proverbs 31:13, and Isaiah 19:9.
9. Milk Thistle
Many of us probably have milk thistle hanging around our home and don’t realize it’s a helpful herb instead of a spiky nuisance.
Milk thistle is related both to ragweed and a daisy. This explains it’s colorful bloom, and it’s prickly exterior.
It should come as no surprise that milk thistle is mentioned in Genesis 3:18 when God discusses His curse upon the land.
Mint is a lavish herb. If planted once, you may never need to plant it again. In fact, most gardeners grow mint in containers to avoid it becoming invasive.
This herb is used in a variety of teas and also comes in many flavors. In fact, there are over 600 varieties of mint. A few favorites are peppermint and chocolate mint.
Mint is referenced in the Bible, in both Matthew 23:23 and Luke 11:42, when Jesus is chastising the Pharisees for paying their tithes, in herbs, but failing to love and practice justice.
Dill is the last herb we’ll discuss that was shared in the Bible. This herb is commonly used, in modern times, in a variety of culinary recipes.
It’s, perhaps, most famously used when making dill pickles or as a flavorful addition to ranch dressing. Whatever your reason for growing dill, remember it prefers cooler temperatures and makes an excellent indoor herb.
This herb is mentioned, along with mint, in Matthew 23:23 under the same pretenses. The fact that it was excluded from Luke 11:42, in the retelling of the same story, means that dill may not have packed as much emphasis as cumin or mint. Therefore, it wasn’t included.
It’s always fun to look at different resources in history to see what we still have in common with previous generations.
I find it interesting to see what the Bible has to say about plants I’m growing in my backyard. After all, there may be clues to better growing methods or uses for my herbs.
Taking a trip through history is a great way to learn more about current hobbies. Hopefully, this article will inspire you to grow a historical herb garden in your yard or garden area.