Frankincense and Myrrh: Biblical Mystery or Ancient Treasure

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It’s the time of year when we tend to reflect as another year closes and we celebrate the holidays. One of the things I’d like to share with you now is one of the most significant things I learned this year regarding Frankincense and Myrrh oils.

Most of us have heard the biblical uses of Frankincense, Myrrh and gold brought by the three wisemen to the baby Jesus, but have you ever thought about what Frankincense and Myrrh are and why they were considered great gifts? Did you know that history shows Frankincense and Myrrh at times were even more valuable pound for pound than gold?

Let’s start with Frankincense: Known as the king of all oils. It’s a resin from the boswellia tree. There are several types including carterii, serrata, or frereana all with similar compounds but in different ratios.  While there are different species of the tree, they have similar uses therefor this article will just refer to Frankincense in general.

Frankincense is a powerful oil with extraordinary health benefits. It has been used for thousands of years and has many uses. It can help relieve the symptoms of many chronic conditions like an anxiety, it can help reduce muscle discomfort, help support a healthy immune response, and help a natural inflammatory response. Frankincense is also known for it’s ability to help open up the bronchial airways and has powerful anti-cancer properties and can function as a type of anti-biotic.

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One of the most impressive characteristics of frankincense in my opinion is the ability to support cognitive health and clear mental responses. Frankincense contains monoterpenes and sesquiterpenes, which are compounds that are able to cross the blood-brain barrier.  These compounds may help oxygenate the pineal and pituitary glands, and increases the activity of leukocytes that assist in defending the body against infections.

Note: Frankincense is generally safe but it is known to have some blood-thinning effects.  Those with blood clotting issues should consult with their healthcare provider before using.

The other oil of the season is Myrrh. Myrrh essential oil has a long historical presents known for its use in religious ceremonies, in Egypt for embalming and in perfumes and cosmetics, and of course as a biblical gift to the infant Jesus.

Common myrrh oil uses historically, include:

  • Fragrance
  • Embalming
  • Flavoring for food
  • Treating hay fever
  • As an antiseptic to clean and heal wounds
  • As a paste to help stop bleeding

Myrrh essential oil is a an oil with exceptional health benefits and one that has been researched as a potential cancer therapy. (2)  One study shows that myrrh was more  capable of inducing apoptosis in the MCF-7 cells (in vitro breast cancer cells) than frankincense oil but both were indeed capable.

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This oil is made from a resin of the myrrh tree and is dried and steam distilled. It is described as warm, smoky, sweet and earthy. Truly an ancient therapy for a myriad of symptoms.

Myrrh-tree

One of the main components in myrrh oil that make this a powerhouse oil is again called  a sesquiterpene, which have been studied and shown to inhibit pathogens. It’s shown to be beneficial in cooling inflammation and effective at suppressing cancer cell growth. Other compounds in myrrh are curzerene, along with furanoeudesma-1,3-diene. These compounds have been studied (1) and may influence opioid receptors in the brain, which directly impacts pain perception. This is very exciting idea considering we hear news every day that more people are having issues with opioid addiction. I hope this may provide some alternatives to some folks and research continues on this issue.

Note: Myrrh oil may have some side effects. In some people with sensitive skin it could cause inflammation of the skin. It’s always best to test on a small area before applying all over to see if you will react. Myrrh oil should be avoided when pregnant, as it could cause contractions. Myrrh could also interfere with blood pressure at high doses and is not recommended for people with diabetes, or for people taking anticoagulants as it my interact with these medications.

If you have time, I highly recommend spending a bit of time with this movie called The Ancient Secrets of Essential Oils Movie. It goes over some uses throughout history, some science and medical research and can explain the biblical uses in more detail. One of my favorite parts of the film is when we see the changing brain waves of Dr. Oliver Wenker while he’s wearing a “Brain Cap” and his brain waves are recorded. Just by inhaling different oils, we see his brain reacting almost immediately. It shows that for him, peppermint oil makes him positive, and activates the part of the brain that is analytical.

I hope you can see why oils were and still are today, valued so highly with their endless uses and health benefits. It’s been a wonderful year of discovery for me in the field of essential oils and I’m very excited to continue to share what I learn.  Up next, I plan to share my experience with Copaiba oil, but for now I hope you get time to reflect on the year 2017, and enjoy the holiday season with your family.

For information on how you can get started with essential oils or order your own Frankincense and Myrhh, contact me here.

 

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