So precious was myrrh that it was one of the gifts the Wise Men brought to Bethlehem. Tradition holds that myrrh was used 2000 years before Christ. Its uses are varied. The ancient Egyptians often used myrrh as an ingredient in embalming corpses. It also has been used in incense and in perfume.

“A Syrian legend, later adopted by the Greeks, associates myrrh with the goddess Myrrha, daughter of Thesis, the king of Syria; she was forced by Aphrodite to commit incest with her father and then escaped being murdered by him when the gods transformed her into a myrrh tree. The drops of gum resin that come from cuts on the tree are said to be Myrrha’s tears.” [Kowalchik and Hylton, eds., Rodale’s Illustrated Encyclopedia of Herbs, p. 396.]

Myrrh is often used as an ingredient in gargles and mouthwashes, because it is anti-fungal, antiseptic, and astringent. This is the same reason I use it in skin care products. It is infection fighting, anti-inflammatory, and is able to reduce oiliness and cool the skin, making it a desirable ingredient for creams, lotions, and any skin tonics. Myrrh is only partially soluble in water.

Chemical constituents: Volatile oil that contains heerabolene, limonene, dipentene, pinene, eugenol, cinamaldehyde, cuminaldehyde, commiphoric acids, ash, salts, sulphates, benzoates, malates, and acetates of potassa.