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Biblical Herbal Remedies: Jesus, Mary Magdalene and Medicinal Oil

Updated: May 29

“Mary took a pound of costly perfume made of pure nard, anointed Jesus’ feet, and wiped them with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume,” (John 12:3).

As we can observe in this passage of the New Testament, Spikenard was an expensive perfume in those times and the oil was also used as a sedative, for fighting insomnia, pain, among other imbalance. In the Bible, we find numerous references to different medicinal plants and oils, that were accepted not only as a method for healing, by the grace of God, but also as a way of anointing and praising.

Something very particular to notice in this biblical passage is the moment when Mary lets down her hair to dry Jesus feet.

In that act she breaks Jewish convention, since women never did this in public in those times. (Luke 7:38.) What Jesus answers to Judas disapproval of the oil use (John 12:7-8) Can be seen to be one of the numerous examples of Jesus considering women as equals by nature, with independent rights and that a women wisdom is to be respected if her actions are meant to glorify God.

It is important to consider and analyze carefully the word of Jesus. In our blindness we can condemn out of judgment and assumptions and lose sight of the purpose of Jesus to bring light. Jesus came to this earth as the Son of God to revolutionize the past, the present and the future circumstances with his message of Love, Faith, Humbleness and Forgiveness. Who are we to establish rules out of our interpretation? I think humbleness and intimacy with God is the key, along with focusing in your own walk with Jesus instead of looking at the speck in someone else's eyes.

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