3 wise men bought very wise gifts
It's a question that comes up every year, every time we read the Christmas story. “What the heck are frankincense and myrrh and why did the wise men bring them to Jesus?” We understand the giving of gold, of course, presenting money, or things of value, to new parents to help support the child makes perfect sense, but it is also said gold was presented in recognition of Jesus as a prince, the son of a king. At the time, frankincense and myrrh were also considered appropriate gifts to present to a king and are sometimes interpreted as a way of foretelling Jesus' future since frankincense was often used as incense by temple priests and is said to symbolize prayer and myrrh was used an embalming oil and is said to symbolize suffering. Believe it or not, both these ancient herbs have a variety of uses that are still relevant today.
Frankincense and myrrh both start as tree resins that can be used in making incense, essential oils and aromatherapy combinations. Frankincense is often found in perfumes, cosmetics, and toiletries that rejuvenate the skin, moisturize, tone and soften wrinkles and stretch marks. Frankincense essential oil can be used as a respiratory inhalant for asthma, bronchitis and laryngitis and has long been used in Ayurvedic medicine for inflammatory conditions such as arthritis. As an aromatherapy oil, frankincense is said to regulate and deepen breathing for meditation as well as having a calming effect, reducing nervous tension, melancholia and even depression and may be useful in relieving menstrual pain.
Myrrh is also useful as a calming essential oil and for bronchitis or other chest infections, especially when there is white congestion. Myrrh is one of the best antiseptics and antivirals known. It can be used to treat colds and flu, mixed with Golden Seal to make a paste for treating wounds, hemorrhoids, and athlete's foot. In India, myrrh is cooked with a fruit mixture into a substance called guggal which is used to treat hardening of the arteries, arthritis, rheumatoid conditions and improve circulation. Myrrh should not be taken internally and should be diluted before being used as an inhalant, salve, wash, or a gargle when treating pyorrhea, thrush, gingivitis, or bad breath.
Neither frankincense or myrrh should be used during early pregnancy because they are may promote the onset of menstruation or uterine contractions and should not be used in or near eyes. Myrrh can be hard on the kidneys so use only as necessary for short periods of time and should only be used with extreme caution by people who are prone to low blood sugar.
Happy Holidays Everyone!