The following is a list of the top 7 Christmas herbs and spices and their uses today.
Rosemary – a popular herb for cooking as well as for decorative uses. Go to your local grocery store or garden center during the holiday season to find small rosemary trees that are often decorated for the holiday season. According to legend, this plant bloomed and bore fruit (out of season) on the night Jesus was born.
Cinnamon – comes from the bark of the Cinnamomum verum tree. During Biblical times, Moses said that the holy anointing oil should be comprised of sweet cinnamon and cassia. Cinnamon was a prized spice and was given as a gift to visiting dignitaries for centuries. Today it is commonly available and is used in a variety of dishes, especially during the holiday season, as well as in decorations for the home.
Frankincense – is widely known as a gift given to baby Jesus from the Three Kings. Frankincense is made from the resin of the Boswellia tree. It is commonly burned during church masses. It is also added to holy oil that is used for anointing individuals during baptisms.
Myrrh – comes from the resin of the Commiphora myrrha tree. Myrrh is commonly used as incense in church ceremonies, often during the holidays. It is also one of the gifts given to baby Jesus by the Three Kings. During ancient times, myrrh was many times more valuable than Frankincense.
Lavender – is associated with the Christmas holiday for several reasons. First, it is believed that Mary washed Jesus’ swaddling clothes with this fragrant herb. Secondly, it is a favored scent for women’s scented holiday gifts.
Ginger – is used in many forms during the holiday season. In powdered form, it is used in many recipes, from cakes to cookies as well as meat dishes. The root may be ground and used in culinary dishes as well. The ginger root may also be candied or used in the production of ginger ale and ginger beer, popular drinks during holiday celebrations.
Sage – is commonly used in culinary dishes. Legend also holds that Mary and baby Jesus hid in a large blooming sage bush when King Herrod was searching for them. For this reason, sage is known as the herb of immortality.