Essential Oils of the Bible: MyrrhApr 23, 2021
Myrrh, presented to the infant Jesus by the Magi to symbolize the great sacrifice He would make, was highly prized long before the New Testament times. With its deep warm, earthy fragrance, the ancient world valued this versatile yet luxurious item for its anti-inflammatory properties. Specifically used in the embalming of Egyptian royalty, ancient peoples used it in the making of perfume, incense, medicine, even to deodorize clothing. This resinous secretion from a small desert tree dates back to 1700 BC by the Assyrians to cleanse rotten gums and check for mouth and throat illnesses. Mentioned nearly twenty times in the Bible, it has served as a gift, part of purification rituals, and named by God as a specific ingredient to be part of the sacred mix for the temple.
The Psalms praise its valued fragrance, such as Psalm 45:8, "All your robes are fragrant with myrrh and aloes and cassia; from palaces adorned with ivory, the music of the strings makes you glad." John shares how this precious spice adorned our Blessed Lord's body at His burial. "He [Joseph of Arimathea] was accompanied by Nicodemus, the man who had visited Jesus at night earlier. Nicodemus brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds. Taking Jesus' body, the two of them wrapped it, with the spices, in strips of linen. This was in accordance with Jewish burial customs," John 19: 39-40.
While this gift bridged Jesus' life with His death, Mark tells us of a time when He denied it. "They brought Jesus to the place called Golgotha (which means 'the place of the skull'). Then they offered him wine mixed with myrrh, but he did not take it," Mark 15: 22-23. Something quite interesting to share here is that today the oil is not to be ingested. Divine wisdom? Perhaps.
So, let's look at how we can safely incorporate this inviting scent into our lives today:
- Continued to be valued for the benefits it imparts in the mouth and dental health, and as part of a good dental hygiene protocol, you can dilute three parts oil into one part water as a mouthwash. This practice helps flush gums and remove plaque and food particles. Just make sure to gargle, spit, and rinse the mouth.
- For sores of the mouth, use a small amount on a cotton swab and apply to gums to encourage healing.
- Diffuse in your home or office to promote mental balance and decrease anxiety.
- For itchy, swollen insect bites or stings, dilute a few drops of oil in water and mist skin to soothe. This misting is also beneficial to relieve skin suffering from hives due to myrrh's anti-inflammatory and astringent properties. Furthermore, it can help numb the pain from poison ivy and promote faster healing. This method of misting can be used as a tick repellent as well.
- Add some of the oil to your bath or on a washcloth laid on the shower floor for aromatherapy.
- Dilute a few drops in a carrier oil, such as olive oil, for a daily skin massage.
- Apply some oil to a compress for muscle pain and stiffness.
- As a fantastic aid to prayerful meditation, put one or two drops on each wrist or the soles of the feet. Contemplate being amongst those at Jesus' place of burial.
- Soak feet in a warm water bath and a few drops of oil to soothe and heal foot blisters that have broken open or drained.
Precautions: I mentioned above the oil is not to be ingested. I must add pregnant women should not use it as it is emmenagogic, meaning it promotes menstrual flow.
I hope you will find a way to incorporate this warm, sacred scent into your mind-body-spirit health. Let us know how you choose to utilize the precious gift that is myrrh.