Christmas is almost here and the team and I have been busy unraveling some of the medical mysteries associated with this ancient midwinter tradition.
Tucked quietly into many of the world’s most celebrated holidays are hidden codes, sacred symbolism, and my personal favorite – valuable and often forgotten medicines. In certain cases, we have to dig a little in order to find the deeper wisdom in these annual celebrations, but not with Christmas. This one wears its healing jewels in plain sight, like ornaments on a tree.
Today, we’re going to visit the Three Wise Men, who famously paid a fateful visit to Jesus in the moments after his birth. Also known as “The Magi,” which is the root of the English word magician, the bible says that these distinguished foreigners came bearing three special gifts. One of the gifts was pure gold, but the other two may have been a far more valuable offering. These were the herbs frankincense and myrrh.
Yes, frankincense and myrrh are best known for their use as incense in religious rituals, but make no mistake, these revered herbs are potent medicines that have been used by healers throughout history to treat everything from serious infection to hair loss. Let’s take a closer look at each one.
Frankincense: Boswellia sacra, Boswellia carter
Dating back to Sumerian times, this fragrant resin was often transported via large caravans across the desert from eastern African and Arabian regions, including Yemen, Oman, Ethiopia and Somalia. Its use as a medicine most likely started with the ancient Egyptians who also charred it to make the famous black kohl eyeliner that adorned the faces of their noble women. Frankincense is central to almost every major religion from this region of the world, but its healing value often goes unmentioned in the history books.
For starters, frankincense oil has been used for millennia to help balance out the emotions and achieve a happier, more connected life. Modern science tells us that frankincense is rich in compounds known as sesquiterpenes, that have the ability to pass the blood-brain barrier and stimulate the region of our brain that controls our feelings. One of the most common biomarkers of this plant, incensole acetate, is a known antidepressant that has shown very promising effects.
The oil is also extremely beneficial for the skin and hair. It can be applied topically to treat dry skin, smoothen wrinkles, and strengthen hair roots. After battle, it was often relied upon to disinfect wounds, sooth muscle pain and reduce swelling. Because of its known anti-inflammatory properties, frankincense oil is often prescribed by naturopaths to treat patients who are suffering from rheumatoid arthritis.
Fun fact: archaeologists found frankincense resin in King Tut’s tomb in ancient Egypt. A truly medicinal treasure!
Myrrh: Commiphora myrrha
Like frankincense, myrrh is native to Northern Africa and the Middle East, including Ethiopia and Yemen. This revered plant resin actually appears in one of the oldest Egyptian medical texts, Ebers Papyrus, which dates back to 1550 B.C.! This is a clear testament to how popular it was among ancient cultures for its curative effects. But why?
Beyond its use as a fragrance and for embalming purposes, early civilizations saw that it possessed quite a few healing properties. The Egyptians bought boatloads of it from the Phoenicians for use in skin salves that were applied to wounds, sores and burns. By this time, early doctors had already recognized myrrh’s antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, and analgesic effects, and it was prescribed for a wide array of physical ailments, including: cough, asthma, indigestion, rashes and scrapes, burns, skin infection, hemorrhoids, joint pain, and sore throat.
It was also used as a rejuvenating facial and massage treatment for women.
Both of these sacred substances have endured quite a journey over the past five millennia. They were even forbidden by certain religions for quite some time because of their association with pagan rituals – but it’s hard to keep a good medicine under wraps. Frankincense and myrrh are now celebrated worldwide for their religious significance, but it is up to us to spread the word about their extreme healing potential and put them to good use!
If you are feeling adventurous and would like to create your own healing balm from these two timeless herbs, we have included a recipe below!
How to make your own skin balm with frankincense and myrrh:
(Makes about 3 cups)
To make this recipe, you will need either a slow cooker or double boiler. If you don’t have either, you can fashion yourself a makeshift double boiler using a metal or glass mixing bowl and slightly smaller pot filled with a bit of water.
2 cups olive oil
20 drops frankincense essential oil
20 drops myrrh essential oil
2/3 cup beeswax
4 glass or metal sealable containers
• Construct your double boiler or slow cooker and bring to the appropriate low heat.
• Add the olive oil and allow to come to temperature. About 7 minutes.
• Add the beeswax, stirring until dissolved.
• Add frankincense and myrrh essential oils and stir gently for 5 minutes.
• Pour into storage containers. Leave the lids off until fully cool.
Once you allow this fragrant oil to cool for about 20 to 30 minutes, it will firm up into a nicely textured balm that you can apply directly to the skin.
Host of Proven: Healing Breakthroughs Backed By Science
& Founder of The Sacred Science
Nice article. We love these 2 herbs and use them together as a tea for pain relief. And together we add them to other herbs for regenerating flesh when injured. Ie. Myrrh is found in tooth paste as a gum regenerator. As well as antiseptic.
Blessing this holiday season.
Thank you for this recipe. I will try it. Can you take either of these internally?
Beautiful Article. I inhale Frankincense oil directly from the bottle, every night, before bed, to help settle my emotions & thoughts from the daily routine. Not only is this routine successful, but enjoyable as the fragrance is enchanting ! I for sure will try your amazing recipe. The comment made by David Fitch, explaining he uses the Frankincense & Myrrh as a ‘Tea’ for pain relief … does this mean that you can drink the tea, OR use it just topically? I would love to learn more of the recipes, that can be used medicinally & also, can these ‘2’ Herbs be made into a burning incense ?
I love your work. Excellent. Thank you.
Always important information.
je crois que je vais adorer vos recettes et vos commentaire,merci d’être la
I personally use both frankincense and myrrh neat on my skin with no ill effects. And I have very sensitive skin. I have use them in combination to make a small spot on the side of my nose, which I felt was a carcinoma, disappear. I suspect this may not have occurred if I had diluted them so heavily with olive oil. Just adding my two cents. 🙂
Love the recipe, and my skin certainly needs it, but I am vegan and don’t use beeswax. Could you suggest an alternative please.
i have been using these 2 decades & have a war chest built up! God was certainly shouting while these are mentioned at the time of our DEAR Saviors birth!!! TOO many reject these simple healing modalities. I will share 2 remedies I have consistante good results! Oregano oil to immediately be rid of Strep throat. 3 drops in 1/3 cup warm water gargle 3 times& gone! All so I fear no flu as I put together a few high star anti viral oils to make a blend & take 3 drops a day at 1st signs of symptoms & I am able to continue my routine although a bit sluggish, not down & out as the one I got it from who was down & out 5 day’s! So glad I came to search out the Scriptures where our GREAT God hides things in for us to seek out! Not from us, but for those who dare to search for them as treasures! My new online business opening I hope next week I will be sharing some I was told decades ago I would be EMPOWERING folks to overcome this humanistic murder syst1`jonioem that our Creator provided that we would as 3 John 2 says prosper & be in health! God bLESS
I have used Frankincense for 10 years to heal and create less depression. I wish I would have known about this amazing and beneficial oil 40 years ago. I apply a few drops on each temple, on my neck, on the bottom of my feet, on my heart and on my Crown Chakra every other day, and my depression disappears thankfully. It is also wonderful to add drops of Frankincense and Myrrh to your organic face creams. I can’t even imagine not using my oils ( from the #1 oil company in the world) that are wild crafted and 100% organic every day of my life!
Great article and excellent comments
Loved your article. I read an article about the gold referenced in the kings story as being turmeric. Turmeric at the time was so valuable that is was worth more than gold. Namaste!
You can use cocoa butter instead of beeswax? Don’t know the amounts. You’ll have experiment or google.
Thanks. That was really informative. They took my beeswax however and I don’t know where I would find frankencense and Merr .. I knew there was a significance to it for the wise men to have brought it but I didn’t know it was that much of a significance. I’d imagine it helped him in his ability as a healer.
I have an all organic grocery store and cafe, and a few soaps, shampoos, and essential oils. Thanks for sharing.
Can you give name of companys that see Frankincense and Myrrh? Please resond.
Frankincense and Myrrh are eventually the greatest herbals. One can use them blindly and get CURE.
Love this recipe for the skin balm using frankincense and myrrh!!
One question and one suggestion: are you aware of any brand of olive oil that is the least ‘fragrant’ for using to make balms such as this? I often find the oil can override the scents/essential oils I add to it? Also, I would add some Vitamin E to your recipe ~ as you probably know, Vit E is a very effective natural preservative, a great idea since many DIY products such as this can “go off” rather quickly.
I love your insight and articles. One question about this EO recipe.
Can you use other oils like almond or coconut? Is olive oil the best to keep the eo’s stable?
When Frankincense oil is mentioned in the article — do you mean the essential oil (outside of the balm recipe)? It was my understanding that the distillation process was not discovered and widely used until well after the ancient Egyptian/Sumerian times. I have used the essential oil in various applications (face wash, inhaler, etc.), but this makes me wonder if the resin can be infused in to a carrier oil and then used topically? I know there are folks that would use the essential oil neat, but I’ve not had enough herbal or aromatherapy education to feel comfortable with that. However, if the resins of Frankincense and Myrrh can infuse a carrier oil, that is quite something else.
Thanks for the balm recipe! I most certainly will try it.
I suffer from stress and anxiety disorders as well as some depression, it can be paralyzing at times. it has kept me from finding work. I appreciate the emails with a wealth of knowledge and motivation that there’s hope for a better frame of mind and life doesn’t have to be so stressful. thx for that!
Great article, I have recently learned from old folks here in the middle eat that in the old days they used to also drink frankincense for healing, the way they did it is adding 4-5 pieces of frankincense rocks to a glass of water infuse it over night then drink about a spoonful of the infusion a few times a day. The benefits are just like the Essential Oil ones but getting it through a mild and easy way.