What Is Calamus In The Bible

What Is Calamus In The Bible?

Calamus is an aromatic grass mentioned several times in the Bible, most notably in the Song of Solomon 4:14. According to biblical scholars, calamus is an aromatic herb that is related to the modern-day reed and is native to Middle Eastern climbs. It adds a nice fragrance when added to perfumes, incense and herbal preparations, and was often used in biblical times for aromatic oils and medicinal purposes.
The use of calamus in the Bible is mentioned more than 20 times in the Old Testament, and by Jesus in the Gospel of John. The Hebrew name for calamus is kaneh-bosem, which means “aromatic reed”. This strong smelling sweet-scented herb was considered a sign of happiness and well-being in biblical times.
For centuries, scholars have debated and speculated on what exactly what calamus is. Early Christian and Jewish authors identified it as a type of sweet-scented reed or cane, while some scholars suggested that a different species of cane-like plant may have been in use. Today, calamus is widely accepted to be an aromatic fragrance from the Acorus genus, and some species of this genus are still used in perfumes and incense today.
From a spiritual perspective, calamus has a history of being used for incantations, prayers and rituals, as a symbol of holy communion, and as a healing and cleansing agent. Scholars have suggested that the specific herbs and plants mentioned in the bible are still used to bring peace and tranquillity, as well as to aid in healing and spiritual transformation. According to some, the use of calamus can bring greater harmony, love and peace into one’s life.
The use of calamus in Bible times likely had a strong cultural and spiritual significance that we can only speculate on. Though little is known of its medicinal properties, it was likely used as an antiseptic and in formulas that helped to heal various ailments. In addition, its sweet scent, combined with its purported spiritual and emotional powers, made it highly sought after in biblical times.

Calamus in the Song of Solomon

The Bible mentions several uses of calamus in the Song of Solomon. In the 4th chapter, verse 14, Calamus is referred to when the Song of Solomon tells of “…an orchard of pomegranates, with pleasant fruits; camphire, with spikenard, Spikenard…”. By this reference, it is thought that calamus is not only an ingredient used in pleasant ointments, but also an aromatic spice, a type of incense, and perhaps even a plant used in religious rituals.
In the same chapter, verses 15 and 16 describe calamus in more detail: “a fountain of gardens, a well of living waters, and streams from Lebanon.
Awake, O north wind; and come, thou south; blow upon my garden, that the spices thereof may flow out”. This reference also confirms its presence as an ingredient in offerings, and its use as a symbol of “living waters” and other cosmic forces.

Calamus in John

The Gospel of John also mentions calamus in a parable in which Jesus compares it to his own followers. In the 13th chapter verse 13, Jesus says: “You call me Teacher and Lord, and you say well; for so I am”. He then goes on to say that his followers should be like the calamus plant, “whose smell and taste are sweet”. This reference further confirms that calamus was used in religious ritual and could symbolize Christian faith or perhaps even the divine presence.
In this parable, Jesus also says that his followers should be “pleasing to God”, and not just “sweet to human eyes”, as the calamus plant is. This is a reminder that while God saw us with eyes of love, we must always strive to live a life of fidelity and holiness.

The Spiritual Significance of Calamus

Calamus is an important symbol in the Bible and throughout Christianity. It is often used in scripture to signify the power of God, his love and his grace. It is thought to hold spiritual properties and many people use it in healing and purification rituals even today. It is also believed to enhance devotion to God and bring greater peace and harmony into life.
In some Christian traditions, calamus is associated with the healing of one’s soul and the purification of land. In addition, it is believed to serve as a reminder of the infinite love of God and a symbol to remind us to nurture and cultivate relationships with love and respect.

Calamus in Herbal Medicine

Calamus has been used in herbal medicine for centuries. It is believed to have anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties and is often used to heal skin irritations and ailments such as acne and eczema. It is also believed to be beneficial for digestive health, as an expectorant and as a remedy for nausea. In addition, it is thought to be effective in relieving muscle cramps, joint pain and headaches.
Modern studies have confirmed some of the traditional medicinal uses of calamus. Researchers have found that calamus has strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, and offer some promise in the treatment of cancer, HIV and other diseases. However, further research is needed to understand the full potential of this herb in modern medicine.

Culinary Uses of Calamus

Calamus is not only an aromatic and medicinal herb, it is also an ingredient in sweetener recipes. It is used in cakes, cookies and other baked goods, and to sweeten beverages such as tea and beer. Its sweet taste comes from the sap that is extracted from its rhizomes, which is then boiled down and concentrated into a sweet syrup that can be used in baking and cooking.
In addition, calamus has a variety of health benefits. It is a good source of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and iron. It is also believed to boost digestion and circulation, improve energy levels, reduce inflammation, and even help to regulate blood sugar levels.


Calamus is an important symbolic herb in the Bible, and has been prized in various cultures for centuries. It is mentioned more than 20 times in the Old Testament, as well as by Jesus in the Gospel of John. It has a sweet smell and taste, and is used for perfumes, incense and even sweetener recipes. In addition, calamus has medicinal properties, including anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, and may offer promise in the treatment of various diseases.

Marcos Reyna is a Christian author and speaker. He is dedicated to helping create disciples of Christ through spreading the power of the gospel to others. He has written several books and articles on a variety of theological topics, including matters of faith, worship, biblical studies, practical ethics, and social justice. A trained theologian and devotee of spiritual writing, Marcos has a mission to spread Christian love everywhere. He lives with his family in Nashville, TN where he spends his days encouraging others to seek Christ's grace in all things.

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