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What Are Frankincense and Myrrh?

The three wise men bought baby Jesus three gifts; gold , frankincense and myrrh. So what exactly are frankincense and myrrh?

Both are aromatic oils. They were the bling of the really olden days. Frankincense was the major trade item for ancient Oman. It is still a major part of life in Oman, a tiny country on the Arabian Peninsula.

“Frankincense is the very scent of Oman, deeply entrenched in the culture, burned as incense in homes and offices, added to perfumes, and used for medicinal purposes to ease everything from inflamed joints to congestion and anxiety. A traffic circle near the old stone city gates in Muscat features a gigantic incense burner in the middle. People even chew frankincense to freshen their breath and strengthen their teeth.” -  Slate.com.

Frankincense is a resin that comes from a tree of the genus Boswellia. Traditionally they were used as perfumes and anointing oils and perhaps to ward off evil.

“Frankincense has a woody, fruity smell that’s been used to perfume the homes of ancient Romans, the rituals of ancient Egyptians, and modern Catholic masses. In the ancient world, it was used medicinally to treat everything from poisoning, to diarrhea, to leprosy. In some Asian traditional medicines, it’s still used to aid digestion and relieve inflammation.” – MentalFloss.com

In recent years researchers warn that the tree where the resin for frankincense comes from my be heading for extinction.
Myrrh is also resin based and comes primarily from the Commiphora myrrha tree. In the ancient world it was highly valued for medicinal uses like dressing wounds. It was also uses in Egypt for embalming mummies. It also is used in many religious rites in Judaism and Christianity.

 

 

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