According to the Christian tradition the story tells of three wise men (the Magi) who follow the Star of Bethlehem. The star brings them to where the birth of the baby Jesus occurred. The three wise men brought gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.
It is clear as to why they brought gold, but why bring frankincense and myrrh?
Frankincense and myrrh are essential oils. They have been used for thousands of years and even today for their therapeutic and healing properties. Essential oils are also used in aromatherapy and are derived from the resin of the Boswella Sacara tree. Also from leaves, stems or roots of plants.
There are many benefits in using essential oils and many different types of essential oils. I’ll write more about them in future newsletters. Sourced from leaves, stems or roots of plants.
Frankincense is a common type of essential oil. It offers a variety of health benefits, healing chronic stress and anxiety, reducing pain and inflammation, boosting immunity, some theories say it helps as a cancer treatment.
Frankincense oil is used either by inhaling the oil or absorbing it through the skin, usually mixed with a carrier oil such as an unscented oil or jojoba oil lotion.
It is believed that the oil transmits messages to the limbic system of the brain. Which is known to influence the nervous system. A little bit goes a long way and it should not be ingested in large quantities as it can be toxic.
When purchasing essential oils of any kind avoid oils that say “fragrance oil” or “perfumed oil” as these can be synthetic and don’t provide the desired health benefits.
Look for oils that say “pure essential oil” or 100% essential oil for the highest quality.
Myrrh is botanically related to frankincense. Develop through a sap like substance which comes from a tree called Commiphor Myrrh found in Africa or the middle east.
Myrrh is mentioned 152 times in the Bible not just in the story of the Magi. Myrrh was important in biblical times as it was used as a spice, natural remedy, or to purify the dead.
Researchers have become interested in myrrh due to its potential antioxidant activity and potentially as a cancer treatment. It has been effective in fighting certain types of parasitic infections.
The two primary active compounds found in myrrh, called terpenoids and sesquiterpenes, both of which have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects.
The compound sesquiterpenes specifically also has an effect on our emotional center in the hypothalamus, helping us remain calm and balanced.
Both compounds are under investigation for their anti-cancer, antibacterial benefits as well as other potential therapeutic uses.
The FDA has approved myrrh as a safe food additive, however taking concentrated forms or high does can have unwanted side effects. Always ask your doctor (who may not know about myrrh) or your alternative health care practitioner about side effects.
Pregnant women should avoid taking myrrh because it may enhance uterine contractions.
Myrrh can also effect heart irregularities and lowered blood pressure, although this is mostly seen at high doses of more than 2-4 grams per day. Anyone with a medical condition related to the heart should ask a doctor before using myrrh oil.
These are just a few precautions to be aware of if thinking of using myrrh oil.