The Ancients: Frankincense and Myrrh Essential Oils

Ancient cultures believed Frankincense (Boswellia thurifera) and Myrrh 

 (Commiphora myrrha) resins to be holy. Their fragrance was believed to reach the heavens and commune with God. Pleasant fragrances were associated with the presence of God Afterlife and paradise was associated with exquisite odors. Burning incense and diffusing fragrant odors nourished the souls of the community. The use of fragrant herbs was limited to the priest and priestesses. With the scent released, people sent offerings and prayers, especially for healing.

 Recorded history gives a glimpse of wealthy societies amount of fragrant herbs burned in religious rituals. Babylon burned over 57 thousand pounds frankincense in 1 year. Assyria used almost 60 tons of frankincense for one religious feast. Arabia kept a special fleet of ships to transport frankincense from southern Arabian forests.

            And, in the Bible, the three kings brought baby Jesus Frankincense and Myrrh 

Gifts given only to the kings. Then were burned on hot rocks to release their fragrance and provide healing. The power to heal was sacred. Both fragrance and the repetition of holy words and sounds were part of every ritual. Early churches also used Frankincense and Myrrh to purify their temples as strong disinfectants. The smoke cleaned the air of any evils or negative energy.

            Today, we know the smoke from burning Frankincense produces trahydrocannabinole. This is a psychoactive substance that expands consciousness. The research was done at the Academy of Science in Leipzig, Germany in 1981.

            An Australian, Michael Stoddard, found frankincense produces substances chemically similar to sex hormones. Evidently, religious rituals re-channel that energy. Frankincense has also been used for centuries in India and China for religious purposes.

            The essential oil of frankincense is both sweet and spicy with a hint of camphor. The oil is thick, resinous with a yellow-green color. Its properties are anti-inflammatory and astringent. Frankincense essential oil has a history of treating lung conditions, such as bronchitis, coughs and helps laryngitis and sinusitis. More recently, frankincense has been used for asthma as an inhalant. The main action calms the nervous system, increasing breathing and reducing anxiety.

            Added to a massage oil, skin cream, or lotion, the essential oil is very antiseptic, healing wounds and topical ulcers. It can be used to reduce scar tissue and rejuvenate skin. I use it to reduce wrinkles and aging skin. Ancient Egyptians used the resins in many skin preparations for health and beauty.

            The essential oil of Frankincense is steam distilled from the oleo gum resin produced by trees in North Africa. The resin solidifies into amber colored, pea size lumps. The solidified product is steam distilled, producing essential oil.

            . Myrrh originates from a tree in East Africa. The tree bark is scored to collect resin that is steam distilled to produce essential oil.

            The main action is antiseptic. Ancient Egyptians used it to embalm their dead. It preserves the skin and is used today on aging skin and wrinkles. Myrrh can be effectively used on infected skin and slow healing wounds. The essential oil is safe and nonirritating.

            . Myrrh can be safely used, diluted in carrier oil, on mouth ulcers and bleeding gums. Dilute 2 drops of myrrh in 1 ounce of jojoba oil or aloe Vera gel. Apply to affected area with a cotton swab 2-3x daily until symptoms disappear. A stronger dilution may be applied to ringworm. Dilute 4 drops of myrrh essential oil in 1 ounce of carrier oil. Apply with a cotton swab 3 xs daily.

            Myrrh has also been successfully used for chronic upper respiratory symptoms. It is an excellent expectorant dislodging thick mucous from the bronchia’s and lungs. Use myrrh in steam distillation for coughs and colds. One or two drops in a mister will reduce symptoms and enhance healing. . Myrrh can be combined with frankincense for a speedy recovery.

            Digestive distress can be helped with myrrh in massage oil. Poor digestion, flatulence and spasms can be reduced by adding 3 drops of Myrrh to 1 ounce of warmed carrier oil. Massage in a clockwise motion on the abdomen before or after meals.

            The Chinese use. Myrrh essential oil to treat arthritis inflammation and pain. Dilute 6 drops of essential oil in 2 ounces of sesame oil. Gently massage the affected area 2-3x daily to reduce pain and swelling. Myrrh and frankincense essential oils are expensive. However, only a few drops are needed for treatment of a variety of problems. Be sure you purchase the essential oil and not fragrance oil. The fragrance oils are often toxic when applied topically and will not produce healing.


            Here are a few more recipes for relaxation and healing.

                        Upper Respiratory Massage Oil

In 2 ounces of carrier oil add the following essential oils:

3 drops Frankincense

6 drops orange

1 drop Myrrh

1 drop thyme

Allow to cure 1 hour before applying to upper back and chest.

                        To Enhance Concentration

In 1 ounce of carrier oil, add the following essential oils:

1 drop clove

2 drops rosemary

1 drop lemongrass

3 drops Frankincense

Cure 1 hour and massage 2 drops on temples.





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