Friday- Frankincense and Myrrh

TGIF everyone! I hope that you have a wonderful weekend planned. I am hoping that my computer will be delivered tomorrow or Saturday, Monday at the latest, so my thoughts are really on completing my book. But I am still in a quandary about its format. Also, I really want to cover all of the things that people want to know about essential oils. All the questions that you have wondered about, but have had difficulty finding answers about. So please, if you have any questions about essential oils, using them, blending them, or anything else related to them, let me know. You can either comment here, or you can write me at Please put "book" in the subject line so that I can easily recognize it. Also, if you any specific area of interest that you would like to see expounded upon, please let me know that too. Next week I will be sharing some of my intended chapters with you, but I am pretty flexible at this point, so I will happily consider any of your requests! I really would like to offer the most detailed and user friendly reference book that has ever been published, so, as you can see, my goals are very lofty and your help would be appreciated!

A friend of mine made some frankincense and myrrh soap last night, and as we were discussing all the details that bath and body enthusiasts  like to discuss, I began wondering just how long these fragrances have been around. I know they are mentioned in the Bible, and soon we will be celebrating Christmas, ...please don't shoot me, it really is coming quickly!.... so I decided to get into the spirit of things and take a look at these two oils that date back to the birth of Christ. Today I'll introduce them and the conclusion will be posted next week, on Teaching Tuesday.  

The first thing that I found when I began researching frankincense and myrrh is that they have been in active use as incenses, ritual tools, and for their healing properties since at least 1500 bc. That is 1,500 years before Christ's birth. There have been times in ancient history when they have been considered so valuable that they were traded in equal weight and value to gold. In fact, during times of scarcity, their value rose even higher than that of gold.

Frankincense and myrrh are closely related species of balsams, commiphora myrrha (the myrrh), and boswellia carteri  (the frankincense).  They both originate in Africa and the Middle East, and both are resins. Frankincense is a milky white resin, while myrrh is an oleoresin. An oleoresin is a natural blend of an essential oil and a resin, making it a natural gum. It is waxey and becomes hard and glossy after it is harvested. The gum can be yellowish, clear or opaques, and as it ages, it darkens deeply and white streaks emerge. The resin is harvested from the small, knotted trees, where it is derived from the tree sap, aka the gum resin. When a tree wound penetrates through the bark of the tree and into the sapwood, the tree bleeds the resin. Myrrh gum and frankincense are both such resins. To harvest they wound the trees repeatedly and bleed them of their gum. Then the essential oil is distilled from the resin. Both frankincense and myrrh are prized for their alluring fragrance and both are known for their use as a sacred tool in many cultures. Frankincense Tears are known for their use in consecration, meditation, protection and purifying, while myrrh is known for protection, purification,
healing and magical potency.

Now that we have discussed the very basics, I will leave the rest until next week. So come back Tuesday, when we will explore the ancient uses of these resins, as well as the modern day applications. You may be surprised at what the science is showing/proving about these resins!

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