“Myrrh is mine: it’s bitter perfume, breaths a life of gathering gloom. Sorrowing, sighing, bleeding, dying, sealed in the stone-cold tomb.” We Three Kings
In the previous article on essential oils here at voiceoftheangels.com, we looked at the benefits of Frankincense (http://www.voiceoftheangels.com/francinsense.php), and the widely held belief that the gifts of the Magi were chosen for their spiritual symbolism: Frankincense representing a priestly role, and myrrh as a foreshadowing of death and embalming.
Ancient records show that myrrh was deemed so valuable that at times it was valued at its weight in gold. Myrrh essential oil is derived from the gummy resin of the myrrh tree, found in northeastern Africa. The myrrh tree has distinctive white flowers and a knotted trunk, and because of the dry desert conditions in which it grows, the myrrh tree often has very few leaves. Like frankincense, myrrh essential oil is derived from the sappy resin of trees. Myrrh oil has a smoky, sweet, bitter smell, and a yellowish-orange color.
For centuries myrrh has been valued for its internal and external health benefits, and throughout history it has been used as a perfume, incense, and in religious ceremonies. The antiseptic, cleansing properties of myrrh make it an especially beneficial addition to mouth and throat elixirs, and its stimulating and rejuvenating properties make it a popular addition to skin care products.
Historically myrrh was used in embalming, and burned over hot coals to release a spiritual presence into the room before a religious ceremony, as illustrated in the popular Christmas carol We Three Kings. It has also been used in aromatherapy for its meditative quality or for prayer, usually in combination with frankincense.
Recent research has revealed the many potential benefits of myrrh essential oil, such as:
1. Antioxidant Properties
A 2010 study in the Journal of Food and Chemical Toxicology found that myrrh could protect against liver damage due to its high antioxidant capacity.* www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19818824
2. Anti-Cancer Benefits
Myrrh has also been found to have anti-cancer benefits.* A 2011 study found that myrrh was able to reduce the replication of human cancer cells. www.academicjournals.org/app/webroot/article/article1380539249_Su%20et%20al.pdf
3. Anti-Bacterial and Anti-Fungal Benefits
Myrrh has been used for centuries to treat wounds and prevent infections and can be used for minor skin irritations.*
4. Skin Health
Myrrh essential oil supports healthy skin and soothes dry, chapped skin. It was used by ancient Egyptians to prevent aging and maintain healthy skin.
Used aromatically, myrrh promotes awareness, and a sense of emotional balance and well-being.
Essential oils are powerful, and for this reason caution should always be exhibited whether using aromatically, topically, or internally.
Myrrh has been found to cause dermatitis in some people. Always test first in a small area before applying it all over the skin to make sure you don’t have any allergic reaction.
Pregnant women should not use myrrh because it may enhance uterine contractions.
Anyone with a medical condition related to the heart should ask a doctor before using myrrh oil.
Because myrrh may lower blood sugar it is not recommended for people with diabetes or other blood sugar conditions.
Myrrh oil is not recommended for people using anticoagulants as it may have potential interactions with this medication.
As always, please be sure to take advantage of all of the resources available to you here at voiceoftheangels.com.
*These statements have not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other health-care professional.