Are you familiar with the term “bitter herbs”? If not, you’re not alone. This phrase is found throughout the Bible, but its actual meaning is often misunderstood.

The term “bitter herbs” is used several times in the Bible, referring to a plant with a strong, bitter taste. While the exact identity of these herbs is uncertain, they are thought to include horehound, tansy, horseradish, endive, parsley, and coriander seeds. These plants have been used for their medicinal properties and would have been well-known to the people of biblical times.

Bitter herbs are sometimes mentioned in relation to the Passover holiday. During this time, Jews remember their ancestors’ escape from Egypt, when they were forced to eat their food hastily and without any leavening. Bitter herbs were likely included in the meal to remind them of the bitterness of their slavery. Nowadays, many Jews still include bitter herbs on their Passover table as a reminder of this important story from their history.

Why did the Israelites eat bitter herbs?

The Israelites ate bitter herbs to commemorate their deliverance from bondage in Egypt. The herbs served as a reminder of the bitterness of slavery and the joy of freedom. The Israelites were instructed to eat the herbs with unleavened bread and roasted lamb. Every year, on the evening of the first full moon following the spring equinox, this dinner, also known as the Passover feast, was to be consumed. The meal during Passover served as a reminder of Christ’s faithfulness and ability to free His people from captivity. Eating bitter herbs was a way for the Israelites to remember their history and to give thanks for God’s provision and protection.

What does God say about herbs?

Once Eve and Adam have consumed the forbidden fruit, God banishes them from the Garden of Eden and says they will now have to work hard to grow their food. Among the plants that they cultivated were herbs. Herbs are mentioned several times in the Bible concerning their use for food or medicine. 

For instance, in the book of Exodus, God gives Moses instructions that particular herbs have been used in sacrifices to God. In the Psalms, King David thanks God for providing them with “green grass for our food,” meaning herbs were considered valuable by biblical writers. Today, we may still appreciate their importance as a source of nutrients and a natural way to improve health and well-being.

What are the bitter herbs of Passover in the Bible?

The Bible mentions several bitter herbs to be eaten during the Passover meal. The most commonly mentioned bitter herb is maror, which is usually translated as “horseradish.” Other bitter herbs mentioned in the Bible include lettuce, chicory, melilot, and creticum. These herbs are typically eaten as part of a dish known as charoset, which also includes fruits, nuts, and wine. The charoset symbolizes the mortar used by the Israelites to build Pharaoh’s temples. While the exact identification of these plants is uncertain, they all share one common trait: they are bitter to the taste. Significantly, these herbs serve as a reminder of the bad experiences of slavery and oppression. 

What do bitter herbs do to the body?

 Bitter herbs have been utilized in traditional medicine for millennia because they aid digestion and detoxification. They help to stimulate the production of stomach acid, which aids in the digestion of food. They also assist in cleansing the liver and promoting healthy bowel movements. In addition, bitter herbs are thought to help balance the body’s pH levels and increase the absorption of nutrients. Any scientific data does not back up the assertions made here. Nonetheless, many people find that taking bitters before meals can help to improve their digestion and overall health.

What is the meaning of bitter herbs?

The term “bitter herbs” refers to a group of plants known for their bitter taste. These plants include the Old World herb Centaurium erythraea and other plants such as gentian and milk thistle. Bitter herbs are typically used to make tonics designed to improve the overall health of the person taking them. In addition to being used in medicine, bitter herbs are also sometimes used in cooking. They can add flavor to food and can also be used to make bitters, which are alcoholic drinks that contain bitters. While the exact meaning of “bitter herbs” can vary depending on the context, it typically refers to any herb with a strong, bitter taste.

What’s the most bitter herb?

The gentian root is widely considered to be the most bitter of all bitter herbs. The active compounds in gentian roots are thought to stimulate the digestive system, making it an effective treatment for indigestion and other gastric issues. The high levels of cucurbitacin, a compound also found in other bitter herbs such as dandelion and burdock root, make the gentian root so bitter. In addition, cucurbitacin has a strong bitterness that can linger on the tongue for hours.

How many herbs are mentioned in the Bible?

In the Bible, 128 plants are mentioned by name. Of those, approximately 60 are considered medicinal herbs. The rest are listed as food, spices, or have other purposes. The commonly mentioned medicinal herbs in the Bible are aloe vera, frankincense, myrrh, and saffron. Each of these four plants has a long history of treating various diseases. For example, aloe vera is often used to soothe burns and heal skin infections. Frankincense and myrrh have long been used as natural remedies for colds and coughs, and saffron has been shown to be effective in treating depression and anxiety. While the exact number of herbs mentioned in the Bible may be debatable, there is no doubt that many of these plants have immense healing power.

What were the bitter herbs supposed to help the Israelites remember?

Every year, on the night of the Passover, the Israelites would eat a meal that included bitter herbs. The bitter herbs were supposed to help the Israelites remember the bitterness of sin. The bittersweet meal reminded them that while they had been freed from physical slavery, they were still slaves to sin. But the night also held hope for the future. The Israelites were reminded that one day they would be free from all bondage, both physical and spiritual. And so they would eat the bitter herbs yearly and remember their deliverance from Egypt. But they would also look forward to when they would be completely free.

Why do we eat parsley on Passover?

Even though parsley is a common ingredient in many cuisines, it has a unique significance during Passover. According to tradition, parsley is dipped in salt water to symbolize the pain the Israelites experienced during their enslavement. The salty water represents the tears they shed during this time, and the dipping of the parsley serves as a reminder of their suffering. This tradition is one of many that helps Jews remember and reflect on their history during Passover. 

By recalling their ancestors’ struggles, they can connect with them on a deeper level and gain a better understanding of their own identities. In this way, eating parsley is much more than just a simple culinary act; it is an act of remembrance that helps us to understand our past and our place in the world.


Bitter herbs are an important part of Christian tradition and symbolism. Whether you choose to include them in your own celebrations, it is important to understand their significance and appreciate their role in Christianity. While their exact significance may be unclear, they remind us of the importance of faith and repentance.


Sarah Goodwin

A passionate Christian and Bible enthusiast, I find joy in delving deep into Scripture and sharing its timeless wisdom with my readers. Through words, I aspire to illuminate the profound lessons the Bible offers, hoping to inspire faith and purpose in every heart. Join me on a journey of biblical exploration and spiritual growth.Enter your text here...

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}