Antibacterial Soap

“The priest shall take cedar wood and hyssop and scarlet material and cast it into the midst of the burning heifer. The priest shall then wash his clothes and bathe his body in water, and afterward come into the camp, but the priest shall be unclean until evening. The one who burns it shall also wash his clothes in water and bathe his body in water, and shall be unclean until evening. Now a man who is clean shall gather up the ashes of the heifer and deposit them outside the camp in a clean place, and the congregation of the sons of Israel shall keep it as water to remove impurity ; it is purification from sin.

Then for the unclean person they shall take some of the ashes of the burnt purification from sin and flowing water shall be added to them in a vessel. A clean person shall take hyssop and dip it in the water, and sprinkle it on the tent and on all the furnishings and on the persons who were there, and on the one who touched the bone or the one slain or the one dying naturally or the grave. Then the clean person shall sprinkle on the unclean on the third day and on the seventh day ; and on the seventh day he shall purify him from uncleanness, and he shall wash his clothes and bathe himself in water and shall be clean by evening.”                                                               – Numbers 19: 6 –9, 17 – 19


1.  In Numbers 19, the text is laying out the set of steps that should be taken in order to remove impurities

2.  To be sure, this has everything to do with a symbolic spiritual cleansing

3.  However, it is profound that the ingredients cited also just happen to be just the right ones to produce a strong antibacterial soap

  • Cedar Wood, Hyssop, and Scarlet material (most likely wool) are to be cast upon a burning heifer
  • Once the concoction has been consumed, the ashes are to be gathered and placed in water to remove any impurity

4.  If you were to pour water through the Ashes of a Heifer mixed with Cedar Wood, this would produce a Lye Soap

  • Lye Soap is extremely caustic and could burn, if not made with proper care’
  • In fact, the early pioneers would make soap in just this way

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5.  When you add Hyssop to the mix, you are adding an antiseptic called “Thymol”

  • Thymol also has antibacterial and antifungal properties
  • Thymol is also known to be a good antioxidant.
  • This is used in many brands of mouthwash

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6.  Some research out there will go so far as to say that hyssop often has associated mold that could be used in the production of penicillin

  • While that may be the case in some instances, it was probably not a major benefit
  • Many of the medical sources reviewed discounted this

7.  Finally, the inclusion of scarlet wool would have enabled the mixture to be similar to our heavy duty hand cleaners (like Lava Soap)
√ Source: McMillen, S.I. and David Stern, None of These Diseases (2000), page 25
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