5 Amazing Benefits of Myrrh and its Historical Significance Beyond the Nativity Story
The familiar story of the birth of Christ tells us there were three kings that traveled from foreign lands bringing precious gifts for their newborn king. One of which was Myrrh. This little-known substance was once widely used as a spice, fragrance, and famed for its healing properties. In fact, it was so significant to people in the historic biblical era that it is mentioned 152 times in the Bible. What exactly makes Myrrh so valuable and how is it used today?
Myrrh is a resin product derived from the Commiphora Myrrha trees, native to the Middle East and Northern Africa. These knotted desert trees produce a distinctive white flower and are a close cousin to the Commiphora trees that produce Frankincense resin. Like Frankincense, the reddish-brown Myrrh resin exudes a sweet, yet smoky wood-like aroma, making it a valuable ingredient in perfumes or incense for thousands of years.
Myrrh has also traditionally been used as a mystical ingredient to spiritual and ritualistic ceremonies. The resin was often burned over hot coals to release what people believed was spiritual properties. Jews used it as a holy anointing oil. The ancient Egyptians used Myrrh when embalming their dead. Chinese commonly incorporated Myrrh into their traditional medicine and healing rituals. It was used to treat hay fever, to stop bleeding, and to clean wounds as an antiseptic.
Today, Myrrh is typically used in the form of an essential oil, but its components can also be found in modern hygiene products and medicines around the world. Its active compounds, sesquiterpenes, and terpenoids are touted for their powerful antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and anti-cancer benefits. Additionally, Myrrh oil is known to be an effective antiviral, antifungal, antiparasitic, antispasmodic, and expectorant. See if any of these modern applications of Myrrh can benefit your life.
Myrrh Cleanses the Mouth and Throat Myrrh can be found in some toothpaste and mouthwashes because of its antiseptic properties, known to help prevent gum disease by keeping the mouth and throat clean and free of bacteria. People that have gum and mouth diseases can also benefit from its anti-inflammatory properties. In 2002, a review in the publication Pharmazie indicated that one of the most effective herbal treatments for gingivitis and canker sores is myrrh oil because it addresses the infection, while also reducing the soreness and swelling in the infected area.
Myrrh Reduces Pain and Heals Wounds Put some Myrrh oil on scrapes and wounds to reduce pain and prevent infection. In the 1990’s there was a study conducted on mice that found a compound in Myrrh, furanoeudesma-1,3-dione, has properties that affect the pain perception receptors in the brain, helping to minimize pain. It’s antibacterial and antifungal properties can reduce the chance of infection on small skin wounds. It also works wonders on minor skin irritations like acne, ring worm, and athlete’s foot.
Myrrh Helps Keep Skin Healthy Myrrh is great for soothing chapped or cracked skin. It helps to keep skin moisturized and contains many antioxidants, which can help prevent aging. Many tout that Myrrh oil promotes a youthful complexion and provides a relaxing sensation, not to mention it smells great. For these reasons, many hygiene and skin care products contain Myrrh oil. Try adding a few drops in your lotion, your shaving cream, and even your cuticle cream to help maintain all around healthy looking skin.
Myrrh is an Anti-Parasitic Fascioliasis parasites contracted through ingesting aquatic algae and other plants, can be treated with a medicine made of myrrh compounds. According to a study published in 2001 in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, the medication reduced symptoms of a Fascioliasis parasite infection in patients and even decrease the number of parasite eggs found in their feces.
Myrrh May Help Treat Cancer In 2011, a study published in the Journal of Medicinal Plant Research found that Myrrh can decrease the proliferation of human cancer cells. It hampers the cancer cells’ abilities to replicate, slowing down the spread of cancer in eight specific cancer types. Namely, gynecological cancers. The antioxidant benefits of Myrrh have also been shown to protect against liver damage in rabbits. This is according to a study in 2010 published in the Food and Chemical Toxicology Journal and has promising implications for helping humans protect vital organs against damage and disease.