There is much to be said about Myrrh and much has been written about this fantastic herb. It is responsible for glowing radiant skin, is a great disinfectant for wounds, supports the immune system, enhances the body’s natural defenses and has a powerful history to boot.
A Bundle of myrrh is my well-beloved unto me; he shall lie all night betwixt my breasts. (Song of Solomon 1:13)
Myrrh, a fragrant gum resin, comes from a small bushy tree (Commiphora myrrha and Commiphora Gileadensis), cultivated in ancient times in the Arabian Peninsula, Israel and Ethiopia. Myrrh is collected when the cultivator makes a small cut in the bark, allowing the gum resin to leak out. It is then collected and stored for about three months until it hardens into fragrant globules. It can be used raw or crushed and mixed with oil to make a perfume. It still is in fact. Many fragrances on the market today use myrrh to accentuate their perfumes. It is also used medicinally to reduce swelling and stop pain. This makes a lot of sense in that the gum that leaks out of the tree is meant to heal the tree itself, so it stands to reason that the resin would be packed full of healing properties.
I arose to open to my beloved, and my hands dripped with myrrh, my fingers with liquid myrrh, on the handles of the lock. (Song of Solomon 5:5)
Myrrh for Anointing
Myrrh was also the oil offered to Christ at the beginning and the end of His life. It is listed in the first and last books of the Bible. Jesus was anointed with this highly prized and expensive oil several times in the scriptures:
“While Jesus was in Bethany sitting at the table in the home of Simon the leper, a woman arrived with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume made from pure nard. She broke open the jar and poured the perfume on his head.” (Mark 14:3)
"Take the following fine spices: 500 shekels of liquid myrrh, half as much (that is, 250 shekels) of fragrant cinnamon, 250 shekels of fragrant calamus, 500 shekels of cassia—all according to the sanctuary shekel—and a hin of olive oil. Make these into a sacred anointing oil, a fragrant blend, the work of a perfumer. It will be the sacred anointing oil." (Exodus 30:23–25, NIV
Myrrh for your skin
Myrrh, the very name of it is beautiful. Perhaps that’s why it was used on Esther for six months prior to her marrying King Ahasuerus. Myrrh is referenced quite often in the Bible, about 156 times, but the story of Esther is one of my favorites.
Now when the turn came for each young woman to go in to King Ahasuerus, after being twelve months under the regulations for the women, since this was the regular period of their beautifying, six months with oil of myrrh and six months with spices and ointments for women—when the young woman went in to the king in this way... (Esther 2:12-13, ESV)
As with all essential oils, I always recommend using a good quality 100% therapeutic grade essential oil. Do not cut corners and use synthetic oils. Synthetic oils are toxic and usually do just the opposite of the desired effect.
Drop a few drops of Myrrh into an all-natural moisturizer that you are already using or If you make your own, all the better, here are some super simple tips I suggest:
If you have a favorite carrier oil use that. I love Jojoba oil, its great in helping reduce scarring and absorbs easily. Add a few drops of Myrrh Essential oil and any other essential oil that you hold near and dear. Since Myrrh is not only great for restoring and soothing dry skin and reducing wrinkles and fine lines, it is also a synergistic oil that enhances the quality of any oil it is mixed with. I would also recommend using Argan oil as a carrier oil as it has great anti-aging properties and gives you a beautiful glow as well. Coconut oil is another great carrier and in the summer months’ raspberry seed oil (about 35-50 SPF) and pomegranate oil are my oils of choice due to its SPF qualities (20-25). Myrrh also helps to reduce stress, frustration, and helps carry oxygen to body tissue. It is a wonderful oil for your overall health and wellness, vitality and longevity.
Skin care doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated. Have fun creating your own line of skin care products, they are bound to be more effective and healthy than those expensive name brands for sure.
(Sources: Healing oils of the Bible by David Stewart PH.D.)
Thieves®, an essential oil blend by Young Living, is a beautiful fragrant oil with a pretty fantastic story. There are many versions of this oil by different companies, some just as beautiful as the next, some, not so much. So, if you are going to purchase, I recommend Exodus II™, Young Living® or Edens Garden® who has a variation called the Fighting Five™, previously known as Four Thieves, which is very pleasant indeed. The blend is made up of cinnamon, clove, eucalyptus, lemon, and rosemary. This blend can be rather expensive, so if you’re looking for a smaller amount or you’re not confident about your blending percentages with a carrier oil, I have some options just for you at the end of the article.
How I use this blend
My preference is to diffuse this scent throughout my home, but many people use it directly on their skin. I recommend diluting it in coconut or almond oil and applying it to the feet and chest during cold and flu season, 7 days on, 2-3 days off. It helps fight off any nasties that threaten your good health.
The Story Behind the Blend
There are a few versions of the story they all center around one event, the Bubonic Plague. Out of fear that they might catch the plague, no one wanted to remove the bodies of those that fell victim to this merciless killer, so many bodies were just left unburied. However, it is said that during that time, four thieves went from house to house to rob those who had succumbed to the illness. After the thieves were captured and tried for their acts of robbery, the king offered leniency (actually a demand under pain of death) that they share how they were able to be around those afflicted so long and often enough to rob them, but not be affected by the illness. The king quickly realized that these ‘thieves’ were actually perfumers, who have concocted herbs, essential oils and vinegar. Guess what the herbs were? Right, you guessed it! Cinnamon, clove, eucalyptus, lemon, and rosemary. They put this concoction into their weird beak masks, rubbed vinegar over their bodies and went out a lootin’.
It’s interesting to note here that, during this time of the plague striking Europe, physicians were seen wearing long black robes, wide brimmed hats, and masks that appeared to have a beak (see image above). The reason for doing this is that the masks were said to have contained a combination of herbs, spices, and essential oils that the physicians would breathe in order to keep themselves safe from those afflicted with the illness. Their long black robes were also said to be doused in a similar fragrant concoction.
What we do know for sure, through extensive use and trial with the Thieves™ essential oil blend from Young Living®, is that a powerful combination of clove, lemon, cinnamon bark, eucalyptus, and rosemary have been found to be strong enough to reduce bacterial cultures by 99.96%! This blend was created after years of research results indicated that most viruses, fungi, and bacteria cannot live in the presence of some essential oils.
How wonderful essential oils are. They are unique, beautiful, and most of all effective at getting through the blood brain barrier, where pharmaceuticals cannot. They are safe when used appropriately, and take almost no time to use. In fact, many people are now realizing how special essential oils are and use them daily to treat a variety of chronic illness and problems. If you’re tired of popping pills, or you ‘have tried everything under the sun’ and you find you are still suffering, you might want to look into essential oils and see if they would be a right choice for you.
(Sources: Healing oils of the Bible by David Stewart PH.D., picture by Alchin, L.K. rhymes.org.uk (Nursery Rhymes lyrics and Origins) e.g. Retrieved November 16 2007 from www.rhymes.org.uk)
The more I read and study herbs, the more I realize that with every great herb comes a remarkable story. As if herbs weren’t cool enough all on their own, some come with a really interesting, if not downright amazing history. Every month I highlight an herb that not only has terrific healing abilities, but also comes with an extraordinary story. This month is no exception, as we highlight Plantain and the ‘steps it took to get to North America. I hope you enjoy this month’s Remarkable Herb, Plantain!
You can find plantain along roadsides, meadows, grassy pathways and vacant lots. It may even look like some nuisance weed that needs constant tending. Maybe you already know that Plantain is widely used to heal cuts, wounds and burns and is prized among herbalists, well, this this herbalist anyway.
Here in Vermont, it grows readily in my backyard along a well beaten path and my kids know that when they get a cut or scrape, they can pluck some up, crumple it and stick it right on the wound. It has a great cooling effect and it really does work on contact. However, plantain not only has great medicinal properties, it has such a great history that it has made my Remarkable Herb of the Month!
According to ‘A Russian Herbal’ by Igor Vilevich Zevin, centuries ago, plantain was especially prized by travelers in Russia. Back then, you didn’t travel often, so when you did it was usually only under great duress or necessity, such as to flee persecution, searching for a better way of life, or more favorable cropland. Before transportation, the simplest of trips in Russia were considered extremely difficult and very dangerous (remember they have wolves, yikes!) with many travelers getting sick, injured and even dying in route. The serfs believed this herb was a gift from God to travelers and many folks started to spread plantain seeds along the roadsides to help future travelers (how’s that for caring about others, love it!) They did this while praying to God and blessing the ground. Since the plantain seeds tended to stick to clothing and shoes, the plant was also inadvertently spread by travelers. Some believe that this is how it was spread to North America, literally on the soles of ones’ feet! How cool is that! Whether you believe the lore or not, most people can agree that plantain does have great medicinal properties and should be appreciated by all, especially travelers!
PURE AND SIMPLE
I realized how special arnica was when I had to use it myself after a pretty bad car accident I had in the summer of 2016 (I’ll explain more about that later) First, Arnica, in my opinion, is one of the greatest herbal gifts God has given us. Arnica, or Arnica Montana, when used topically is very effective for the treatment of bruises, painful injuries, aches, pains, torn ligaments and strains. Arnicas biochemical constituent is Sesquiterpene Lactone Helenalin and it is what gives arnica its great anti-inflammatory action. It’s my go to herb for all the bumps, bruises and various other complaints my 7-year-old throws at me, because I know more than likely, it will do the trick. When made into an oil, it works fantastic on a variety of problems ranging from bruises to arthritic joints. I am always amazed when I see an herb work the same or sometimes even better then prescription medication for pain. Better because it’s safe, effective and natural.
Ok, back to my bad car accident. I was driving home one sunny afternoon on a remote stretch of road here in Vermont. I was a few towns away from my home. Initially, when I got into the car, I knew I didn’t feel well. I had a bad stomach ache and I didn’t feel like myself at all. I figured I could get home as it wasn’t that bad yet and started on my way. As I drove, the all too familiar feeling you get when you are about to lose your lunch crept up on me. It intensified so bad that I knew I had to pull over quickly. I looked for a place to pull over but there was no time. My brain wasn’t piecing things together in any straightforward way, so I began to just slowdown in the middle of the road, trying to come to a complete stop so I could put the car in park, but I didn’t get the chance before I passed out. Now, I have never passed out before. I woke up to find a very nice gentleman (whom I did not know but I now just call him my guardian angel), cutting the airbag that deployed from my door and when I found out a few minutes later that I had rolled the car, I couldn’t believe I was, for the most part, alright or at least alive and mostly alright! I had never even gotten into a car accident before, let alone roll the car! However, the next day the pain and discomfort hit me. I could not turn my head and was pretty locked up from my neck down. Thank goodness, I had recently made a batch of arnica compound. I rubbed it on my neck and back. Within minutes, (really) I starting to feel like the tightness was loosening. I had a little more range when I turned my head, and my headache started to lessen. I applied the salve about three times a day until the pain was gone. That was the first time I was so grateful for this herb. Since then, I have used it for a variety of problems and it has never let me down.
Some things to consider:
Thank you so much for reading this post. I sure do enjoy spending time with you! Spring time is here and I hope you get a chance to enjoy all that the pleasant weather has to offer!
Michele Thurston, owner of Pure and Simple Herbals.