Wednesday, September 29, 2010

What is Myrrh?

You may have heard Frankinese and Myrrh alot, but do not know what Myrrh is? According to,

"According to the Bible, the wise men who visited Jesus shortly after his birth brought gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. While gold and frankincense are fairly well known to most people who hear the Christmas story, myrrh is another story. Myrrh refers to the resinous dried sap of a number of trees of various Commiphora and Balsamodendron species. The Commiphora myrrha, the most common source of myrrh, grows natively in Somalia and eastern Ethiopia. The word myrrh comes from the Hebrew murr or maror, which means "bitter."

Myrrh was a symbolically appropriate gift for the baby Jesus because it was used in embalming at the time. Therefore, while gold and frankincense symbolize the infant's royalty and divinity, respectively, myrrh makes reference to His future death. Myrrh was extremely valuable in the time of the Roman Empire, when Jesus was born, and it was used as an incense burned during funerals until the 15th century. The Roman Emperor Nero reportedly burned a year's supply of myrrh at the funeral of his wife, Poppea Sabina, in the year 65 CE.

Myrrh has also been used in mixtures of incense and perfumes since ancient times, a practice which continues to the present day. It has an earthy, bitter odor when burned. Quality myrrh can be identified by its dark color and sticky texture, which indicates a large amount of the fragrant oil that produces a scent when burned. Myrrh can also be found in salves for skin irritations, perfumes, toothpaste, and other toiletries.

Another use of myrrh that dates from ancient times is as an additive to wine. The resin is also an ingredient in the Italian spirit Fernet Branca, created in 1845 by Maria Scala as a medicine. The drink is very popular in Argentina and San Francisco, and it is commonly mixed with cola."


kathyinozarks said...

thank you for this informative post said...

Myrrh blended with Frankincense is one of my favorite holiday scents! Slightly masculine and mysterious without being overkill!

Lori Stoia said...

Kathy you are welcome and Alison thanks for the suggestion. Glad you liked the info.