This is Part II of a two-part tribute to frankincense and myrrh. Frankincense and myrrh’s most famous moment as a pair is as gifts from the Three Wise Men. But their history as a synergistic combination goes back much further. In part I, frankincense was shown to aid the opening of the 7th chakra and help us connect with a more divine power. We also heard that Frankincense energizes the spirit and the immune system. With myrrh, we find attributes that compliment frankincense very well spiritually and physically. The two together lend great support in times of stress.
Origin and History
Myrrh resin is collected from the bush named Commiphora myrrha. It, like frankincense, thrives in the dry lands of Somalia. Historically myrrh was seen as an astringent tonic for wounds in the mouth, spongy gums, ulcerated throat, and served as an expectorant. It was used as an emmenagogue, and to stimulate the flow of gastric juices. Myrrh was used in the East Indies for leprosy, rheumatism and syphilis. In China, myrrh served to dissipate stasis to quicken the blood, disperse swelling and relieve pain.
Myrrh was to the Ancient Egyptians a panacea of sorts indicated in preparations for everything from serpent bites to asthma. It was the resin burned at noon for its restorative properties, reviving the mind and refortifying the spirit – thus imparting that myrrh was used in cases of fatigue. The Egyptians embalmed their deceased kings in myrrh, and it is said that myrrh is one of the oils that assisted their royal dead in their next life. Myrrh aided regeneration of the soul, and played an important part in the preservation of the spirit, anointing the soul immortal. Myrrh was also used topically and in cosmetic preparations to maintain youthfulness. And so, myrrh was employed by the Ancient Egyptians seeking of immortality in life as well as death, for the mind and the body, soul and spirit.
Present Day: Physical Healing
Myrrh essential oil is also an excellent choice for dermal inflammation, mature and aging skin. It has a tendency to be a bit drying, and is best used in combination with rose or lavender for balance. Myrrh reduces inflammation as an astringent, meaning it tones the structure by contracting the cell walls, condensing the tissue and halting unwanted discharge while also clearing congestion.
Myrrh works internally as a tincture to clear congestion. Ulcerations and inflammations of the lungs, mouth, and intestinal tract all benefit from myrrh. Myrrh is antiseptic and stimulates white blood cells. Use tincture of myrrh as a mouthwash with tinctures of clove, bloodroot and yerba mansa for gums and throat infections, including strep throat and laryngitis.
Myrrh is anti-fungal. Systemic fungal infections, candidiasis, recurring and chronic sinus problems or little coughs that just won’t go away and are with us year round may respond very well to myrrh tincture. When the problem is low grade and persists throughout the year, after consulting with a client and ruling out other issues, an anti-fungal protocol may be recommended. In this case, tinctures of myrrh, cardamom, yellow root, usnea and black walnut can be an excellent combination. It is important when treating a known systemic fungal/yeast infection that the goal be more that eradicate the fungus. That is germ warfare approach. We must also bring the body back to balance and work to eliminate what caused the imbalance to begin with. The trigger may be physical, like a food allergy, emotional, or spiritual. One needs a good bitter to stimulate the liver. Bile from the liver is food for good bacteria. Another is to find an appropriate adaptogen to support adrenal function, as well as nervine to aid our nervous system. It is wise to sleep more and decrease stress, as with any chronic or acute infection. This gives the body a better chance to heal.
Tools for Spiritual Healing
Myrrh can be of great spiritual support for it has the capacity to ground and center the spirit creating a solid foundation for healing and growth. It preserves the spirit through life experiences that may be difficult. Myrrh brings understanding and compassion, expands awareness and calms fears of the uncertain future in times of chaos. It is a tonic to the nervous system. It clears the air of mucked up energy that is difficult to see through and revitalizes. Just as the tincture has been traditionally used for laryngitis, essential oil of myrrh is used for the 5th chakra, located at the throat, to help one find and speak their voice. It also vibrates the 6th chakra; in that once we find our voice we can be more capable of receiving information from a spiritual source, as done in divination. Myrrh calms fears of uncertainty in our reception of information from other dimensions. Perhaps we don’t even have to be consciously aware of information received to feel calm. Perhaps we just have to be open to the possibility.
Myrrh surprised me one day. I typically taught the 4th grade Waldorf class Suzuki violin. On this occasion, I was teaching them herbal preparations and essential oil use of the Ancient Egyptians. We took a moment to smell mint and each child described where it went in their body and the effects…ranging from color, to visual and physical description. We moved on to myrrh. I told them that one use for myrrh was divination. I instructed them to smell myrrh, and ask the spirit of the plant a question. It is an exercise I had done many times myself in meditations and with dream work for clients. They did as told, and one by one revealed their questions and answers. And each one received excellent information in answer to their questions. One boy asked myrrh when his aunt would die. It was known that she was suffering from an advanced stage of cancer. He wanted her to be at peace, and myrrh told him 7 days from that day she would pass. I was taken aback. In reply I said that time from the spirit world was not always in sync with our dimension. He was not upset by myrrh’s reply. He was pleased. And on the 7th day, his aunt passed.
Myrrh reveals to us the presence that plants can have in our lives. That when we need something, if we ask, in some way or another a delivery is made. The answer may come in the form of a message, such as the one this young boy received. Sometimes it comes in the form of a dream, and sometimes in the form of deep healing. Myrrh can help us open our channels to hear what we need.
Myrrh’s power to clear the air, open our 6th chakra, clarify our voice and center our thoughts lends itself well to frankincense ability to lift the spirit, help us connect with higher powers and protect the immune system. The two plants together are powerful forces that motivate us to move forward in our lives, and inspire us to ask important questions about what we need to heal.
Part I closed with the introduction of a warming foot rub for winter that combines clove, frankincense and myrrh. The addition of sweet orange makes this foot rub ever more wonderful