What the Wise Men Knew: Facts About Frankincense and Myrrh.
(ThyBlackMan.com) Frankincense and myrrh may be a famous part of the story of Jesus’ birth, as a gift from the wise men, but these two substances have many health benefits too. Here’s what you need to know.
What Are They?
Frankincense and Myrrh are substances that are derived from the gummy sap that oozes out of the Boswellia and Commiphora trees, respectively. The sap is scraped off of the bark of the trees and the resin is allowed to harden.
Then, it’s either used in its dried form or it’s steamed to produce essential oils.
In its dried form, it is used in toothpastes or gum. It’s totally safe to eat in small quantities. It can also be burned, and this is how the majority of people use it – as incense. As a staple of Chinese medicine, it has been cultivated in the country since at least 500 BC.
But, there are many different kinds of Boswellia and Commiphora trees, each yielding a slightly different kind of frankincense and myrrh.
Use As A Digestion Aid
When chewing the dried resin, it’s recommended to only chew resin that is clear, light yellow, or clear with a slight green tint. There should be no brown or black impurities in it.
The frankincense healing powers that are so often talked about in the health and natural foods community usually come from chewing the dried resin.
The bitterness of myrrh may be especially helpful in digestion. When the body is exposed to bitter herbs and other substances, it causes a chain reaction – gastric acid is produced in anticipation of food.
The body believes that the bitter substance may be poison or something else that needs to be destroyed. Bitter tastes tend to be unpleasant, and the it reacts by producing more bile salts and bile so that whatever is in the stomach (or is about to come down into the stomach) may be neutralized.
If you’re having digestive problems, this is good news.
Use It For Arthritis
People with arthritis can get relief from the resin if it’s infused into a tea or made into a salve. The ointment is then rubbed onto the skin, or taken internally.
The treatments for arthritis tend to focus on Indian frankincense. Studies show that most people experience relief that is equal to, or greater than, the relief experienced by traditional anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
And, the relief is immediate, or near immediate, when applied to the skin. This makes frankincense and myrrh one of the best alternative therapies for swelling, inflammation, and inflammation-related illnesses.
It is thought to control levels of leukotaxine, which is a chemical produced by injured tissues and is responsible for the inflammatory process. By controlling this process, and reducing it, the oils can allow more freedom of movement while also reducing pain associated with the swelling.
Many people report up to a 70 percent increase in mobility, and up to 60 percent reduction in swelling.
And, unlike NSAIDs, frankincense and myrrh can be used indefinitely without long-term side-effects.
Use As Incense
When burned, both oils fill the air with unmistakable scents. Frankincense tends to be sweeter, and myrrh is more bitter. When burned, the antimicrobial properties help purify the air.
Many people use the incense as a way to relax, too. Burning either one may help relieve stress as well as help you focus on your meditative efforts.
In some Indian cultures, the incense is burned daily and it’s believed that it helps create a peaceful environment and promotes good health. How this happens is yet to be explained by science, however.
Use During Menstrual Cycle
Some women find that it helps to use frankincense and myrrh during their menstrual cycle. Specifically, the anti-inflammatory properties may help reduce or eliminate pain, bloating, and other unpleasant side-effects.
Use For Hemorrhoids
Because of its anti-inflammatory properties, it is sometimes used as an aid when people suffer from hemorrhoids. As a natural alternative, it can be effective and provides relief. Pain relief typically happens very fast as both oils contain potent anti-inflammatory compounds.
However, many people find that they need to continue regular use to achieve lasting relief. That’s good because both can be used for long periods of time, without developing dependency or side effects.
Staff Writer; Michael Hall