We're all familiar with the gifts of the Magi. We may not be as aware of the healing properties of frankincense and myrrh, essential oils with a long healing history.
Frankincense is obtained from the leafy forest tree Boswellia Thurifera. It is a dried resin (tree sap) and occurs naturally as the trees age and produce resin. When resin bleeds out of the tree, it eventually hardens, often in a teardrop shape. In order to help a tree produce more frankincense, the tree can be tapped by scraping the bark, which allows larger amounts of resin to bleed and harden.
Myrrh is the dried oleo gum resin of a number of Commiphora species of trees. Like frankincense, it is produced by the tree as a reaction to a purposeful wound through the bark and into the sapwood.
According to the article Frankincense and Myrrh: The Botany, Culture, and Therapeutic Uses of the World's Two Most Important Resins:
The oleo gum resins produced by trees such as frankincense, myrrh, pine, spruce, fir, and others are a major part of the tree's immune system. Tree sap has antibiotic and antifungal properties which protect the tree from infections, wound-healing properties for closing and regenerating the bark, and pheromone-like signaling mechanisms for repelling insect attackers and attracting the attacker’s natural predators.
When humans use oleo gum resins or essential oils derived from trees, we are utilizing the molecular components of the tree's immune system to boost our own. The general functions of frankincense resin and essential oil can therefore be described as immune-enhancing; antibiotic, antifungal, antiviral, and antiseptic; and wound-healing, with pronounced anti-inflammatory properties.
In recent years, studies have confirmed the healing properties of these oils. Virginia Tech professor John Robertson found frankincense to have "fairly selective anti-tumor activity" without disrupting normal cells. According to this article, Robertson said, "I think this research on frankincense oil suggests that this ancient medicine may have significant modern uses for chemotherapy of non-resectable malignancies."
There are a variety of essential oils on the market. Look for oils that are 100% pure. Examples include those offered by Mountain Rose Herbs, TRUessence, doTerra, and Young Living.
A great way to use frankincense and/or myrrh is to dilute it in a carrier oil such as coconut oil and apply it topically to reflex points and joints.
The words frankincense and myrrh each appear 17 times in the King James Bible.
No doubt we would be wise to heed these lessons of old.