Benefits of Myrrh

Ever wondered about myrrh? What is it and what are the benefits of myrrh? Why was it one of the gifts of the magi? Listen to this week’s podcast as Julie discusses this ancient resin. The History of Myrrh Commiphora myrrha grows in the same areas as Frankincense, namely the Horn of Africa and parts of the Middle East. It is harvested in a similar way, too. Harvesters cut a wound in the trunk of the tree until it bleeds sap. The sap is allowed to harden and then it is scraped off the tree and collected. This hardened resin is then used in a variety of ways. According to Herodotus (5th century BC): "Arabia is the only country which produces frankincense, myrrh, cassia and cinnamon...the trees bearing the frankincense are guarded by winged serpents of small size and various colors."  Myrrh was often associated with death. The ancient Egyptians used it along with natron as part their embalming process. In addition, there are several Biblical references to myrrh. The first one, Genesis 37:25, mentioned it as part of a caravan on their way to Egypt. In Exodus 30:23-25, myrrh is stipulated as part of the anointing oil. And in Esther 2:12, we discover that it was one of the oils used to prepare women for presentation to the king. And of course, myrrh is mentioned in the New Testament at Jesus’ birth and at his crucifixion. So, it was a component of the sacred anointing oil, used as perfume, and used during burial. In other parts of the world, it was part of a purification ritual for new brides and a means of purifying one’s home.  The benefits of myrrh have been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and in Ayurveda for centuries, even though the Chinese obviously had to import it from the Arabians. In Ayurveda, it has been used to treat mouth ulcers and gingivitis, female reproductive issues, infected wounds, and bronchial conditions. In TCM, it has been used to promote blood circulation and dissolve swellings and other stasis issues, such as rheumatic and arthritic complaints. A related species, guggul, is used similarly in Ayurveda.  Benefits of Myrrh It’s interesting that myrrh was historically used in instances where bacterial growth needed to be inhibited or controlled. Modern research shows that it is highly effective at killing bacteria. Burning it in houses of worship helped control the spread of disease. And, using it in embalming the dead helped slow the decay of the body. Because myrrh has anti-bacterial properties, using it in mouthwash and toothpaste makes sense to kill oral bacteria that contribute to mouth sores and gingivitis. Researchers have also studied additional benefits of myrrh to help speed wound healing and prevent infection. Results are promising.  Myrrh oil shows promise in treating chronic headaches and certain parasitic infections. In addition, a few studies show that it may slow the growth of cancer cells in the liver, prostate, breast, and skin. Finally, test tube studies suggest that it may effectively kill some strains of mold as well as parasites and bacteria. Note that the Lord himself told Moses to use myrrh in the sacred oil. Perhaps, just like ceremonial hand washing and not eating unclean animals, the Lord was giving him measures for staying healthy. Long before people knew about microbes, God gave them instructions for how to prevent the spread of disease. God truly provides us with instructions for all areas of life, not just spiritual and emotional issues.  Enjoy this highly prized resin from the Middle East this Christmas season!Ever wondered about myrrh? What is it and what are the benefits of myrrh? Why was it one of the gifts of the magi? Listen to this week’s podcast as Julie discusses this ancient resin.

The History of Myrrh

Commiphora myrrha grows in the same areas as Frankincense, namely the Horn of Africa and parts of the Middle East. It is harvested in a similar way, too. Harvesters cut a wound in the trunk of the tree until it bleeds sap. The sap is allowed to harden and then it is scraped off the tree and collected. This hardened resin is then used in a variety of ways.

According to Herodotus (5th century BC): “Arabia is the only country which produces frankincense, myrrh, cassia and cinnamon…the trees bearing the frankincense are guarded by winged serpents of small size and various colors.”

Myrrh was often associated with death. The ancient Egyptians used it along with natron as part their embalming process. In addition, there are several Biblical references to myrrh. The first one, Genesis 37:25, mentioned it as part of a caravan on their way to Egypt. In Exodus 30:23-25, myrrh is stipulated as part of the anointing oil. And in Esther 2:12, we discover that it was one of the oils used to prepare women for presentation to the king. And of course, myrrh is mentioned in the New Testament at Jesus’ birth and at his crucifixion. So, it was a component of the sacred anointing oil, used as perfume, and used during burial. In other parts of the world, it was part of a purification ritual for new brides and a means of purifying one’s home.

The benefits of myrrh have been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and in Ayurveda for centuries, even though the Chinese obviously had to import it from the Arabians. In Ayurveda, it has been used to treat mouth ulcers and gingivitis, female reproductive issues, infected wounds, and bronchial conditions. In TCM, it has been used to promote blood circulation and dissolve swellings and other stasis issues, such as rheumatic and arthritic complaints. A related species, guggul, is used similarly in Ayurveda.

Benefits of Myrrh

It’s interesting that myrrh was historically used in instances where bacterial growth needed to be inhibited or controlled. Modern research shows that it is highly effective at killing bacteria. Burning it in houses of worship helped control the spread of disease. And, using it in embalming the dead helped slow the decay of the body. Because myrrh has anti-bacterial properties, using it in mouthwash and toothpaste makes sense to kill oral bacteria that contribute to mouth sores and gingivitis. Researchers have also studied additional benefits of myrrh to help speed wound healing and prevent infection. Results are promising.

Myrrh oil shows promise in treating chronic headaches and certain parasitic infections. In addition, a few studies show that it may slow the growth of cancer cells in the liver, prostate, breast, and skin. Finally, test tube studies suggest that it may effectively kill some strains of mold as well as parasites and bacteria.

Note that the Lord himself told Moses to use myrrh in the sacred oil. Perhaps, just like ceremonial hand washing and not eating unclean animals, the Lord was giving him measures for staying healthy. Long before people knew about microbes, God gave them instructions for how to prevent the spread of disease. God truly provides us with instructions for all areas of life, not just spiritual and emotional issues.

Enjoy this highly prized resin from the Middle East this Christmas season!

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