Myrrh Uses

We don’t post enough about myrrh. Here you go!

What Is Myrrh? What Are Myrrh Uses?

In the horn of Africa, a small native tree, covered in spines, grows in the arid deserts. When the bark is wounded through to the sapwood, the tree exudes an aromatic, oily, yellow oleo gum resin that eventually hardens into a hard yellow-reddish opaque globule that can be easily harvested. The resin has an evocative smell and has been widely used in ceremonies and as medicine. As a result, people have been intentionally wounding and harvesting from the myrrh tree since antiquity.

Myrrh has been famously revered by queens, kings, and wise men. Queen Hatshepsut of Egypt reportedly used myrrh as a perfume and in ceremonies and she sent out an expedition around 3500 B.P. to what is now Somalia in search of more myrrh.1 It has long been important in oils used in religious ceremonies and is mentioned in the Jewish, Christian, and Muslim texts.

While myrrh has several references in the Old and New Testament, those familiar with the Christian religion will recall it was one of the gifts brought to the birth of Jesus from the wise men. By the 7th Century, myrrh had made its way to East Asia, where it was favored and has remained an important part of the materia medica.

The aromatic and medicinal properties of myrrh have never lost favor, as it is still commonly harvested and used today. James Duke estimates that the U.S. annually imports anywhere from 5 to 20 tons of myrrh, while the U.K. annually imports around 30 tons. (Click here to continue reading…)