There are many references to precious oils in the Bible, some of them considered as valuable as gold. Little is known about their production methods and uses. Oils such as frankincense, myrrh, rosemary, hyssop and spikenard were used for anointing and healing. The three wise men of the New Testament story brought gold, frankincense and myrrh to the Jesus of Nazareth. Today, frankincense is thought to be one of the most strong immune stimulating substances…perhaps the three wise men were on to something.
Recent excavation of the ancient city, Gilead, has unearthed the remains of a building that was probably used for the manufacture of balsam oil, the famous "balm of Gilead" noted in Jeremiah 8:22. It was thought to be nearly miraculous in its ability to heal.
So precious was this oil to the commerce of Gilead, the exact manufacturing process was kept a closely guarded secret. So much so, archaeologists uncovered an inscription carved into the floor of a local synagogue that reads, "Whoever reveals the secret of the village to the gentiles, the one whose eyes roam over the entire earth and see's what is concealed will uproot this person and his seed from under the sun."
When Joseph's brothers tried to sell him to a caravan passing by, the camels were loaded with spices, balm and myrrh, purchased in Gilead, on their way to Egypt (Genesis 37:25).
It wasn't until 1907 that modern day Scientists began to research essential oils. However, pharmaceutical companies today avoid producing and marketing essential oils, because naturally occurring products are not patentable in the U.S. World history richly records the use of essential oils as a means to stave off disease and illness. As modern day "super bugs" have their way with man-made antibiotics, more and more people are turning to the past to find the answers they seek for health and wellness. As they search, they are finding essential oils to be the one source mankind has faithfully depended on over the millennium.