What were the Magi up to when they decided on the three gifts to bring to baby Jesus? The value of gold is obvious, but why trek across the desert with what amounts to dried tree sap? For that is what Frankincense and Myrrh are, in the most basic sense. What is it about these plant resins that the Three Wise Men found so valuable?
Frankincense and Myrrh come from small trees that grow in Africa and the Middle East. In order to obtain the dried sap from these plants, collectors make cuts in the bark of the tree. The trees exude a milky resin, or sap, that hardens upon exposure to the air within a few weeks. The collector returns to gather the hardened sap, and lets it dry. From there, the raw resin is transported to buyers for distribution. To learn more about the people and places involved in the Frankincense harvest, click here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iGS_tefY2-o
Both Frankincense and Myrrh were revered by the ancient people of Africa and the Middle East for their medicinal value, as well as incense and cosmetic uses. Even before the advent of Christianity, these fragrant incenses were considered to be gifts from the Divine.
Desert nomads burned Myrrh as a fumigant to repel insects, and for spiritual purification. In Egypt, Myrrh was used in combination with rare spices for embalming and mummification. Myrrh was used as a funeral incense, not only to honor the dead, but to cover up odors.
Frankincense was a staple commodity in many ancient households as a toothpaste, deodorant, an insect repellant, and for use in cosmetics.
As a medicinal herb, Frankincense is considered to have anti-inflammatory properties, and is included in blends to relieve arthritis and asthma. Myrrh helps kill fungus and bacteria, and is used in modern herbal blends to kill candida, ringworm, and as a mouthwash to heal gingivitis.
You can use Frankincense and Myrrh as a chemical-free incense the same way that people have been doing for thousands of years.
You will need:
A fireproof dish, preferably on a stand to protect table surfaces
Incense charcoal rounds (not the kind you use for BBQ)
Place a charcoal round in the fireproof dish and light it. Once the charcoal has ignited, sprinkle a pinch of Frankincense and Myrrh on the surface of the charcoal. After a few seconds, the resin will begin to release fragrant smoke. The larger the piece of resin you use, the longer it will burn. Feel free to add more pieces of resin once the first pieces finish burning. Continue as long as you like. Remember to be careful when disposing the charcoal, as it is HOT! The best way to dispose once you’re finished is to either place it in the sink, or flush it.
Essential Oil Uses
Both Frankincense and Myrrh essential oils are wonderful additions to your medicine cabinet for both medicinal reasons as well as cosmetic uses.
The fresh, light fragrance of Frankincense essential oil can have an immediate effect on your mood. It helps relieve feelings of sadness and depression, and can aid in mental focus and meditation. The best way to use Frankincense oil for mood and meditation is to place a small amount of a carrier oil (coconut, olive, almond, etc.) in the palm of your hand. Next, place a single drop of Frankincense essential oil into your palm. Gently rub your hands together, then bring your hands up to your face and inhale deeply and slowly several times. After several deep breaths, you can massage the back of your neck and shoulders in order to deeply absorb all the benefits.
Frankincense essential oil is my favorite oil to use as part of my facial care routine. Frankincense oil is rejuvenating to the skin and is ideal for mature skin and wrinkles. My routine is simple. Once I’ve washed my face, I place a small amount of jojoba oil in my palm, and add a drop of Frankincense oil. I rub my hands together and apply this oil in a gentle massage over my face, neck, and chest. To finish, I will mist a few sprays of rose hydrosol over my face and neck, and rub this into the area, as a rejuvenating toner. The combination of these ingredients is as effective as most facial care products on the market, but contains zero chemicals and is more cost effective in the long run.
Frankincense essential oil can be used during a cold or flu to help combat chest congestion and cough. To use, apply a small amount of olive oil to the chest, then massage in a drop of Frankincense oil. You can add a drop of Eucalyptus oil if there is nasal congestion as well.
The aroma of Myrrh essential oil is quite different from Frankincense. The aroma of Myrrh is darker, deeper, heavier, and slightly medicinal. The aroma is calming, and can help a person feel grounded and centered quickly. You can use it in a similar way as Frankincense, by blending a drop mixed with a little carrier oil in your palm and inhaling slowly and deeply.
To aid in healing the skin, or dealing with a fungal infection, add 3 to 5 drops of Myrrh oil to a teaspoon of olive oil and massage into the area. You can add a drop of Tea Tree oil to increase the effectiveness.
As a cosmetic, Myrrh oil is great for hair and skin care, as it can help tighten the pores. To use for falling hair, blend 30 drops of Myrrh oil into an ounce of coconut or jojoba oil, mix well, and massage into the scalp as needed. You can also blend Myrrh into jojoba oil as a moisturizing facial toner.
Whether you decide to try Frankincense and Myrrh for medicinal or spiritual reasons, these ancient trees provide important value to us in these modern times. Try it and let us know what you think!
Wishing you Happy Holidays,