Does the Bible say anything about aromatherapy?
There is nothing unbiblical about using scents or plant oils for health reasons, nor is there anything in the Bible that suggests doing so. However, the Bible does contain several passages about oils and incense.
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People who subscribe to aromatherapy use plant extracts, sometimes referred to as essential oils, to treat ailments—both medical and psychological. Many who use them claim a medical benefit, but as yet there is no scientific evidence for their positive effect.
In probably the best known biblical account of oils, Mary washed Jesus' feet near the end of His earthly life with nard, an expensive ointment (John 12:3). It filled the house with a pleasant smell, but nothing indicates a medical benefit to Jesus except making His feet smell better.
Near the beginning of His earthly life, wise men brought frankincense and myrrh to Jesus (Matthew 2:11). Frankincense was part of the grain offering described in Leviticus 2:1–2. And myrrh is listed with other oils, including fragrant cane, cinnamon, and cassia (like cinnamon), all mixed with olive oil, to make an anointing oil (Exodus 30:22–33). This anointing oil was used to dedicate people and items for use in God's service. Both myrrh and frankincense were used in biblical descriptions of embalming. Myrrh is listed as one of the items used by Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus to prepare Jesus' body for burial (John 19:38–42).
Any medication, whether common, ancient, or unusual, should not be combined with practices that are unbiblical. People with allergies should use extra caution when using plant-based extracts and essential oils. Care should always be taken, but nothing in Scripture prohibits aromatherapy.
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