Precious Oils ~ A Study of the Fragrances of the Bible~Flowers~Rose of Sharon חבצלת chabatstseleth

by preciousoils in Precious Oils

“The Rose of Sharon” is a flower of uncertain identity mentioned in English language translations of the Bible. The word in question is the Hebrew word חבצלת chăḇaṣṣeleṯ, which has been uncertainly linked to the words בצל beṣel, meaning ‘bulb’, and חמץ hāmaṣ, which is understood as meaning either ‘pungent’ or ‘splendid‘ (The Analytical Hebrew and Chaldee Lexicon). The name first appears in 1611, when it was used in the King James Version of the Bible. According to an annotation at Song of Solomon 2.1 by the translation committee of the New Revised Standard Version, this is a mistranslation of the Hebrew word for “crocus”. Different scholars have suggested that the biblical “Rose of Sharon” is one of the following plants:

* A “kind of crocus” (“Sharon”, Harper’s Bible Dictionary) or a “crocus that grows in the coastal plain of Sharon” (New Oxford Annotated Bible);

* Tulipa montana, “a bright red tulip-like flower . . . today prolific in the hills of Sharon” (“rose”, Harper’s Bible Dictionary);

* Tulipa agenensis, the Sharon tulip, a species of tulip suggested by a few botanists; or

* Lilium candidum, more commonly known as the Madonna lily, a species of lily suggested by some botanists, though likely in reference to the “lily of the valleys” mentioned in the second part of Song of Solomon 2.1.

* Hibiscus syriacus is a widely cultivated ornamental shrub in the genus Hibiscus whose common names includes Rose of Sharon (especially in North America).

The Hebrew word chabatstseleth, rendered “rose” (“autumn crocus”), is supposed by some to mean the oleander, by others the sweet-scented narcissus, the tulip, or the daisy; but nothing definite can be affirmed regarding it.

The “rose of Sharon” is probably the cistus or rock-rose, (Cistus landaniferus – also known as Labdanum or Rock Rose). Several species abound in Israel and the Middle East. (Do not confuse labdanum with laudanum; they are two different substances. Laudanum is the name for a number of opium preparations originally obtained from alchemists.)
Cistus Creticus Incanus.

Cistus is a small, sticky shrub native to the Mediterranean and Middle East. The essential oil is produced by steam distillation of the leaves. It is pale yellow-orange with a strong, sweet, dry-herbaceous aroma. Its odor effect is generally perceived as warming and restorative. Cistus oil is used in many skin care blends. Blend it with German Chamomile to treat inflamed skin conditions. Blend with Green Myrtle for care for aging skin (suggested by Dr. Kurt Schnaubelt in Advanced Aromatherapy). It is excellent for mature skin care and for firming and toning. Blends well with: Bergamot, chamomile, clary sage, cypress, frankincense, lavender, juniper, oak moss, opopanax (sweet myrrh), patchouli, pine, sandalwood, vetiver. Besides the steam distilled oil from the leaves and twigs of the cistus plant you can also find a solvent extracted labdanum absolute from the crude resin of the plant on the market, this is very thick and should be warmed in the palm of your hands before blending in oils.

Safety Data: Avoid while pregnant.

Roses are the Community of Israel, in Jewish thought and symbolism.

The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose. It shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice even with joy and singing: the glory of Lebanon shall be given unto it, the Excellency of Carmel and Sharon, they shall see the glory of the LORD, and the Excellency of our God. Isaiah 35:1&2

Symbolically, The Rose of Sharon as crocus says “youthful and gladness;” as a red tulip-like flower says “declaration of love;” and as a Madonna Lily, purity and sweetness.

Flowers of the Field, Rose of Sharon, Lily of the Valley . . . mysterious plants found in Scripture. While the true meaning of what the actual flowers were during the ancient days, we know when we speak “of love” that a rose, is a rose, is a rose . . . . . . Is a rose.

Copyright 2008 Precious Oil ~ A Study of the Fragrances of the Bible by Apothecary Cynthia Hillson page 29