What is Myrrh?
Myrrh is a resin, or sap-like substance,
that comes from a tree called Commiphora
myrrha, common in Africa or the Middle East. Myrrh is botanically related to Frankincense, and is one of the most widely used in the world. In order to harvest myrrh the tree trunks must be cut into to release the resin. The resin is allowed to dry and begins to look like tears all along the tree trunk.
Myrrh has a deep, rich, warm, earthy, bitter, balsamic, slightly sweet and spicy, herbaceous smell. Resin is a yellowish, brown color. Myrrh oil distilled from resin is used more widely than resin itself.
You may have heard of myrrh from Biblical stories, as it’s one of the precious gifts (together with gold and frankincense) offered by the three wise men to the newborn Jesus. This valuable element actually has a long history of use, especially in ancient civilizations. Today, myrrh is most commonly known as an essential oil.
Myrrh resin and essential oil has been used for thousands of years in traditional healing therapies and in religious ceremonies. The most common historical myrrh oil use was to burn the resin over hot coals. This would release a mysterious, spiritual presence into any room. It has also been used in aromatherapy for its meditative quality or for prayer, usually in combination with frankincense.
At times myrrh is blended with citrus oils to help produce a more uplifting aroma. These lighter blends have been used to help promote inspiration and emotional insight.
In pharmacy, myrrh is used as an antiseptic in mouthwashes, gargles, and toothpastes. Myrrh is currently used in some liniments and healing salves that may be applied to abrasions and other minor skin ailments. Myrrh has also been recommended as an analgesic for toothaches and can be used in liniment for bruises, aches, and sprains. Myrrh is used in traditional Chinese medicine, in Ayurveda and Unani medicine, which ascribe tonic and rejuvenative properties to the resin. Myrrh was used by the ancient Egyptians, along with natron, for the embalming of mummies.
“Liquid Myrrh, or Stacte, spoken of by Pliny, also an ingredient of Jewish holy incense, was formerly obtainable and greatly valued but cannot now be identified in today’s markets. Myrrh gum is used for indigestion, ulcers, colds, cough, asthma, lung congestion, arthritis pain, and cancer.”
Myrrh essential oil produced from resin in therapy has been used for thousands of years and is the practice of using oils for their health benefits. Each essential oil has its own unique benefit and can be incorporated as an alternative treatment to a variety of ailments. Generally, oils are inhaled, sprayed in the air, massaged into the skin, and at times taken by mouth. Fragrances are strongly connected to our emotions and memories as our scent receptors are located next to the emotional centers in our brain.
Health Benefits: antiseptic, antifungal and antiinflammatory, antidepressant, antimicrobial and antiviral, astringent, expectorant, stimulant, carminative, stomachic, anti catarrhal, diaphoretic, vulnerary, antispasmodic, immune booster, improves circulation, body tonic.
Myrrh uses in medicine:
• works as a sedative, for spiritual opening, stimulating thought
• heals wounds (essentially those of a ‘weeping’ nature), protects against infection and promotes healing
• skin diseases (eczema, ringworm, etc.)
• soothes cracked and chapped skin, fades scars and other spots
• used during and before meditation to align energy centers and encourage healing
• used in gum and mouth (ulcer) preparations
• stimulates uterine health and helps to normalize menstruation, relieves contractions or spasms (cramps, aches etc.)
• relieves gas and diarrhea, improves stomach health, treats pyorrhea
• strengthens and activates the immune system, prevents/helps microbial infection (fever, food poisoning, cough, cold, mumps, measles, chicken poxs etc.)
• strengthens the gums’ hold on teeth (contracts skin), firms the scalp’s grip on hair roots
• protects against coughs and colds (viral infections), provides relief from mucus and phlegm, eases congestion, breathing trouble, etc.
• works as a fungicide
• stimulates blood circulation, digestion and nerves, increases sweat to purify body
And much more!