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Onycha oil (Styrax tonkonesis) is also a powerful antiseptic and facilitator of rapid healing. It goes by several common names including Friar's Balm and Javanese Frankincense. It is extracted from the resin of a tree that grows in the Far East, specifically in Indonesia. Mystery and debate surrounds what is known as Onycha. Some believe it to be of plant origin, while others believe it to be from the finger-like operculum, or the closing flap of certain snails. Rashi, a great Jewish scholar, believed Onycha to be a kind of root that grew from the ground. Some suggest it is extracted from a Styrax benzoin, a type of resin used in the Tabernacle for incense in ancient biblical times. The Encyclopedia of Bible Plants (F Nigel Hepper 1992) agrees that onycha is more likely to be a plant resin. Rabbi Gamaliel (whom the Apostle Paul studied under) believed it to be part of the plant species and said, “The balm of Onycha required for the incense exudes from the balsam trees.” The Jewish Talmud, whose Hebrew is of a later date than the scriptures, refers to the substance as tsiporen, which means fingernail and seems to be related to sh’chalim, meaning cress, a type of plant. Onycha is a Biblical oil mentioned in Exodus 30:34 as an ingredient in the Holy Incense to be diffused in temples of worship.
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