Do you remember reading that phrase in the Song of Solomon (“I am a rose of Sharon, a lily of the valleys”). and picturing a rose?! I was shocked to learn that this is likely not a rose at all, but rather the flower ladanum or rock rose or commonly cistus (hence cistus essential oil!). Albert Barnes writes, “The etymology is in favor of its being a bulbous plant (the white narcissus, Conder). “Sharon” is usually the proper name of the celebrated plain from Joppa to Caesarea, between the hill-country and the sea, and travelers have remarked the abundance of flowers with which this plain is still carpeted in spring.”  I love that it is a white flower – since white represents purity its more fitting for Christ then a red rose. The fact that this flower has a sweet, honey-like scent reminds me of 2 Corinthians 2:14. Read this from the Message translation: “In the Messiah, in Christ, God leads us from place to place in one perpetual victory parade. Through us, he brings knowledge of Christ. Everywhere we go, people breathe in the exquisite fragrance. Because of Christ, we give off a sweet scent rising to God.” Don’t you just love the word picture of this Rose of Sharon!?!?
I know that was a rabbit trail of sorts, but I love all these details in Scripture. Every word is inspired and matters! So cistus essential oil, smells sweet….it smells like a sweet Frankincense to me. I like to use it because it is so calming to the nerves and uplifting for the emotions.
A BIT OF HISTORY
To summarize, this plant has a soft, honey-like scent and is thought to be the flowers of a shrub that grows wild on the Plains of Sharon just west of Jerusalem. Shepherds in ancient Israel used to take the Rose of Sharon caught in the sheep’s wool and apply it to scratches and cuts.
SOME SCRIPTURAL REFERENCES
Song of Solomon 2:1 (ESV)
I am a rose of Sharon, a lily of the valleys.
It is also interesting to note that in Gen 37:25 (Then they sat down to eat. And looking up they saw a caravan of Ishmaelites coming from Gilead, with their camels bearing gum, balm, and myrrh, on their way to carry it down to Egypt.) and Gen 43:11 (Then their father Israel said to them, “If it must be so, then do this: take some of the choice fruits of the land in your bags, and carry a present down to the man, a little balm and a little honey, gum, myrrh, pistachio nuts, and almonds.) the word Myrrh in both verses is the really the Hebrew word ladanum which is rock rose or Rose of Sharon.
And….in reading and researching about this plant, it is even possible that the rock rose, this resin that was used as a balm by the shepherds, was the balm of Gilead (Jer 8:22 and 46:11) that wasn’t to be found. While Jeremiah is speaking about the spiritual healing, there is clearly a literal reference to an earthly plant implied as well.
WAYS TO USE IT
–Cistus is a perfume oil. And smells amazing like I indicated above.
–It is excellent to apply on wounds – a great add to your “boo boo” roller.
–A great calming oil for the nerves applied topically or inhaled.
–Soothing to the skin
–A great oil to use for skincare
–Awesome for anyone who breathes!
–In Traditional Chinese Medicine, it is used to help draw energy inward, and often breaks open stagnant states of the mind, exposing core underlying issues which may be causing health issues.
Cistus essential oil seems to be not as well know among my oily friends as it should be for all the wonderful benefits for your wellness. Do you use this oil? How do you love to use Cistus essential oil?
Did you miss a post in this series? Read my kick-off post here! (post #1)
Overview of The Oils of the Bible (post #2)
Aloes/Sandalwood (post #3)
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1. “Commentary on Song of Solomon 2:1”. “Barnes’ Notes on the New Testament”. “//www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/song-of-solomon-2.html. 1870.