Most of us are familiar with myrrh as being one of the gifts, together with frankincense and gold, brought by the wise men to the infant Jesus in the New Testament Nativity story. And what a grim image this stanza from the carol ‘We three Kings’ conjures up (as of course was its intent):
Myrrh is mine, its bitter perfume
Breathes of life of gathering gloom
Sorrowing, sighing, bleeding, dying
Sealed in the stone-cold tomb
But what else is there to know about myrrh? Aside from it being a harbinger of death that is. And being almost impossible to spell!
Quite a lot as it turns out.
Returning to biblical times, myrrh was used as a spice and as a remedy as well as a means of purifying the dead. So what you might call versatile then? No wonder it gets a mention in the bible 152 times!
Myrrh oil remains in common use today as a remedy for a variety of ailments. According to this article, modern researchers are interested in myrrh because of its powerful antioxidant abilities. It’s also shown potential as a cancer treatment and effectiveness in fighting some parasitic infections.
What is Myrrh?
Well, according to Mercola.com myrrh oil is derived from a dried resin that’s extracted from the Commiphora myrrha tree. No doubt a reference to the resin’s bitter taste, the name is derived from ‘murr’ – an Arabic word for ‘bitter’. And how much easier to spell is that?
Native to northern Africa and the Middle East, myrrh was also prized by the Chinese for medicine and the Egyptians for embalming pharaohs and sun-worshipping rituals. Greek soldiers too made use of this resin to stop their battle wounds from bleeding.
Marvellous Myrrh Oil: its top 6 benefits
You can read the full information in this Dr Draxe article about its benefits but here’s a summary of each one:
- Antioxidant abilities. I mentioned above that myrrh has potent antioxidant abilities. A 2010 study in the journal of Food & Chemical Toxicology found its antioxidant abilities could shield the body from liver damage.
- Anti-cancer benefits: A 2011 study showed that myrrh could reduce the replication of human cancer cells.
- Anti-bacterial and Anti-Fungal Benefits: As mentioned earlier, Greek soldiers used myrrh to treat their wounds. And it can still be used to treat minor skin irritations.
- Anti-Parasitic: Fascioliasis is a parasite responsible for infections across the globe. But now there’s a treatment for such infections made with myrrh.
- Skin Health: Myrrh is a common additive to skin care products. The ancient Egyptians were well aware of its usefulness on the dermis using it to prevent aging and to maintain healthy skin.
- Relaxation: commonly used in aromatherapy massages, myrrh can also be added to a warm bath or applied to the skin.
Marvellous Myrrh Oil: its top 4 uses
- Diffuse it or inhale it – added to hot water a few drops can help ease cough, cold and bronchitis symptoms. It can have an expectorant effect, helping to reduce phlegm and relieve congestion.
- Apply directly to the skin: Because of its antioxidant properties it can be useful for healing wounds and for skin rejuvenation.
- Use as a cold compress: myrrh’s many healing properties make it a great anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, inflammation and swelling
- Take it internally: used with caution, Myrrh can be used as a mouthwash for the prevention of dental infections.
So there you have it. More ways with myrrh than you ever thought possible.
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