List of spices in the Bible and their uses

List of spices in the Bible and their uses

Have you ever thought about the origin of the spices you ordinarily utilize for your fragrance and culinary? Spices have a rich history as some can even be traced to thousands of years ago. Also, if you check out some Bible excerpts, you will notice that they are often mentioned. During Biblical times, spices were part of everyday life, and it seems that people had intimate knowledge of their names and utilization. Would you like to know the common spices in the Bible and their uses?

spices in the Bible and their uses

Capers (L) and cilantro. Photo: @Brienne Peverell, @TheSaltyGoat
Source: UGC

Are you wondering what seasoning is mentioned more than 35 times in the Bible? Do the traditional uses of spices in the Bible translate to modern society? Although sometimes the Bible doesn't give specific words for spices, it is evident that the vegetable products derived from the bark, root, or fruits of plants were utilized as spices.

A collection of spices in the Bible and their uses

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Repeated references to spices in the Bible show that the people of olden times knew how they tasted, smelled, and looked. And they preserved this knowledge in their culture that was transferred to other generations. What spices are mentioned in the Bible?

1. Capers

spices in the Bible and their uses

Capers in a bowl. Photo: @Brienne
Source: UGC

The almond tree blossoms, the grasshopper drags itself along, and the caper berry shall fail; because man goes to his eternal home and the mourners go about the streets. (Ecclesiastes 12:5)

The above is one amongst many Bible verses about spices. It mentions the capers, a prickly perennial plant native to the Mediterranean and some regions of Asia. The unripe bud is turned into a salty pea-sized ball by drying in the sun and then pickled in vinegar, brine, wine, or salt.

The French use capers on skate Meunier with browned butter. The spice is also a great ingredient for a variety of Spanish tapas. In the United States of America, the caper is used to garnish and add acid to a Ney York-style bagel with nova lox and cream cheese.

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2. Coriander

spices in the Bible and their uses

Coriander/cilantro. Photo: @TheSaltyGoat.
Source: UGC

Now the house of Israel called its name manna; it was like the coriander seed, white, and the taste of it was like wafers made with honey. (Exodus 16:31)

In Exodus, the Bible compares manna to coriander, which is a prevalent spice today. Coriander comes from the round, tan-colored seeds of the coriander plant. In most instances, the plant's leaves are referred to as cilantro that originates from the spice's Spanish words.

Many people utilize coriander in soups and salsas, stews, vegetables, meat, and other meals such as curries and masalas. Coriander leaves are ordinarily used as they are while the seeds are used dried or ground.

Coriander has been traditionally used to treat stomach ailments, and it can at certain times be included in teas that are designed to relieve constipation.

3. Cumin

spices in the Bible and their uses

Cumin seeds. Photo: @Joseph Cettina Laguna
Source: UGC

Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law, justice and mercy and faith; these you ought to have done, without neglecting the others. (Matthew 23:23)
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In the above verse in the Bible, Jesus condemns the Pharisees for bringing the smallest plants for tithe while neglecting weightier produce. It was custom, according to Mosaic law for people to tithe the produce of the land.

The verse mentions cumin, a ubiquitous spice in Latin America, the Middle East, Africa, and India. It is often utilized in cuisines and is available in both whole seeds as well as in-ground form.

The cumin seed is harvested by hand and is small, boat-shaped, and looks like caraway seeds. Often, you will notice cumin seeds in Indian recipes as well as Mexican and Middle Eastern dishes.

4. Bitter herbs

spices in the Bible and their uses

Lettuce (L) and horehound. Photo: @Pinterest, @Brian Kapaun
Source: UGC

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)

Among spices in the Bible and their meanings, bitter herbs are perhaps the most significant and most confusing. They are mentioned in one of the most popular books in the Old Testament, Exodus.

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Bitter herb is a collective name used for lettuce, horehound, tansy, horseradish, endive, and coriander seeds. These were commonly utilized as food during Biblical times, and it was symbolic during Passover.

In modern society, most of the spices that are in the bitter herbs collection have various uses. They are utilized to help with urinary tract infections, achy joints, kidney stones, fluid retention, and gout.

5. Garlic

spices in the Bible and their uses

Garlic. Photo: @Salaidh Agnelli
Source: UGC

We [the Israelites] remember the fish we ate in Egypt for nothing, the cucumber, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic; but now our strength is dried up, and there is nothing at all but this manna to look at. (Numbers 11:5–6)

Garlic is one of the healing foods from the Bible with numerous uses. Today, other than being part of numerous recipes, garlic is used to treat heart and blood system conditions.

Garlic is commonly used for its pungent flavor as a seasoning or condiment. Practically every dish people make possesses a few cloves of garlic. It is a flavor powerhouse that brings the simplest foods to life.

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6. Cinnamon

spices in the Bible and their uses

Cinnamon. Photo: @Chennai Grill
Source: UGC

Take the following fine spices: 500 shekels of liquid myrrh, half as much (that is, 250 shekels) of fragrant cinnamon, 250 shekels of fragrant calamus…( Exodus 30:23)

Cinnamon is one of the most common spices in the Bible. It was once considered more precious than gold. Even though it is not indigenous to Israel, it is prevalent in the region. Traders brought it from Ceylon (Sri Lanka) and India.

Currently, cinnamon is used to treat athletes' feet, improve brain function, and lower blood pressure among many other uses. It is also used for food seasoning.

7. Syrian hyssop

spices in the Bible and their uses

Hyssop. Photo: @Ingrid Sherwood
Source: UGC

Solomon’s wisdom surpassed the wisdom of all the people of the east, and all the wisdom of Egypt…He would speak of trees, from the cedar that is in Lebanon to the hyssop that grows in the wall. (1 Kings 4:30–33)

Syrian hyssop is one of the most interesting spices mentioned in the Bible with exceptional uses. The plant is utilized to treat digestive and intestinal problems. These include liver and gallbladder conditions, intestinal pains, and loss of appetite. In foods, hyssop is used for flavoring.

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8. Leeks, onions, and chives

spices in the Bible and their uses

Leeks, onions and chives. Photo: @Laura Leon
Source: UGC

…The rabble with them began to crave other food, and again the Israelites started wailing and said, "If only we had meat to eat! We remember the fish we ate... (Numbers 11:4-6)

The culinary herbs are often used on salads, pieces of bread, soups, and garnishes. Leeks are used as onions in food. When raw, they have a robust flavor. However, when thinly sliced, they can be an ideal garnish for soups, salads, roasted veggies, meats, fishes, and other dishes.

Whether you are looking for sweet spices in the Bible or something with medicinal benefits, the Holy Book has numerous mentions. It is a good idea to learn more about the spices in the Bible and their uses to know their application in modern society.

Are you trying to figure out the spiritual use of prekese? featured an interesting article about the common uses of prekese in today's society. The herb was prevalent in the traditional setting as it was used to wade off evil spirits.

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Also, prekese is mentioned in the Bible, which shows the significance of the fruit. On top of being used for spiritual purposes, prekese is a great ingredient for foods.

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