Anyone who knows the story of the baby in the manger has heard of myrrh. You know it was given as a gift from the three wise men along with gold and frankincense. Any avid bible readers also may have noticed it being mentioned 152 times! It is commonly used today as a form of incense and was used in biblical times as a spice and natural remedy along with purifying the dead. Have you ever learned exactly what myrrh is? Well let’s talk about myrrh.
The common name myrrh means “bitter” in Arabic. It has many other common names, even for the Chinese, Spanish, French, German and Swedish languages. Yes, it’s that popular! Myrrh is Native to Ethiopia, Somalia, the Eastern Mediterranean, and the Arabian Peninsula. The tree is distinctive due to it’s white flowers and knotted trunk. At times, the tree has very few leaves due to the dry desert conditions where it grows. It can sometimes take on an odd and twisted shape due to the harsh weather and wind.
In order to harvest myrrh, the tree trunks must be cut to release the resin. The resin is allowed to dry and begins to look like tears all along the tree trunk. The resin is then collected and essential oil is made from the sap via steam distillation. Myrrh oil has a smoky, sweet or sometimes bitter smell. The oil is a yellowish, orange color with a viscous consistency. It is commonly used as a base for perfume and other fragrances. It is the bitter tasting rubber sap that is used as a herbal medicine. The resin also can be pulverized into a powder which can be used in tablets and capsules or dissolved in ethanol to make a tincture. You can also add it to your body butter formula as I have done. Check out my video where I show you how to make a tincture with myrrh.
History has shown myrrh essential oils to be used in traditional healing therapies and in religious ceremonies. Common uses include: Fragrance, Embalming, Flavoring for food, Treating hay fever, As an antiseptic to treat and clean wounds, As a paste to help stop bleeding. The Egyptians’ main use was for embalming, the Chinese still use it as a traditional part of medicine, and the Jews use it to make the holy anointing oils used in worship services.
- Potent antioxidant- Myrrh can protect against liver damage due to it’s high antioxidant capacity.
- Anti-cancer Benefits-Researchers found that myrrh was able to reduce the proliferation or replication of human cancer cells. Myrrh was found to inhibit the growth of eight different types of cancer cells, specifically gynecological cancers.
- Antibacterial and Antifungal- Myrrh can be used on minor skin irritations such as athlete’s foot, ring worm and acne.
- Anti parasitic-A medicine has been developed using myrrh as a treatment for fascioliasis, a parasitic worm infection that has been infecting humans worldwide. This parasite is generally transmitted by ingesting aquatic algae and other plants. A medication made with myrrh was able to decrease symptoms of the infection, as well as a drop in parasite egg count found in the feces.
- Skin Health-Myrrh can help to maintain healthy skin. It can help soothe chapped or cracked skin. It is commonly added to skin care products to help with moisturizing and also for fragrance. Ancient Egyptians used it to prevent aging and maintain healthy skin.
- Relaxation-Myrrh is commonly used in aromatherapy for massages. It can also be added to a warm bath or applied directly to the skin.
Generally oils are inhaled, sprayed in the air, massaged into the skin and at times taken by mouth. You may diffuse it, Inhale it, Apply it directly to the skin, Use it as a cold compress, Relief for upper respiratory problems, Decrease in digestive problems, Prevent Gum and mouth infections, treat hypothyroidism, Treat skin cancer, Treat ulcers and wounds, and more. It is wise to be safe when applying topically as myrrh has been reported to cause dermatitis or inflammation of the skin in some people.
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