Frankincense and Myrrh have a distinguished history that dates back to ancient biblical times. They are best known historically as the precious gifts presented to the Christ child by the wise men, along with gold. (Matthew 2:11) Have you ever wondered why the wise men chose Frankincense and Myrrh as gifts? All three were valuable commodities that were exported by camel caravans throughout the known world. Only royalty or the wealthy could afford either, making them a fitting gift for the King of Kings. But there's more.
Did you know that Frankincense and myrrh were presented to Christ on other occasions? Myrrh was mixed with wine and offered to him during his crucifixion, to ease the pain. (Mark 15:23) Myrrh was also used in burial preparations. Nicodemus brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes to prepare the body of Jesus for burial, as was the custom at that time. (John 19:39-40) Among the earliest recorded uses of frankincense and myrrh were of Moses and the twelve tribes of ancient Israel. Both were used as a holy offering unto the Lord in anointing oils and perfume. (Exodus 30:22-38)
There are many biblical and other ancient references to frankincense and myrrh. These costly commodities were used not only by the ancient Hebrews, but by the Egyptians and Romans as well. Both were used in embalming and burned as incense for fragrance, purification and in religious rites. Frankincense was used extensively as medicine. The resin was chewed for digestive issues. Ancient Egyptian queens and pharaohs used frankincense and myrrh topically for skin care and rejuvenation, in cosmetics and facial masks. The dark eyeliner that Egyptian royalty wore thickly around their eyes was referred to as kohl. It was made from charred powder from burned frankincense resin.
Where does Frankincense and Myrrh come from?
Both are derived from the resin of trees. Myrrh comes from an Arabian tree known as Balsamodendron myrrh. However, there is no tree known as a frankincense tree. It is derived from the Boswellia trees. It became known as frank + incense because of the prominent odor and steady, long lasting flame it gives when burned. To extract frankincense and myrrh, incisions are made in the tree bark. The sap oozes from the cuts and hardens into beads of resin. The resin is harvested and used in a variety of applications. Frankincense essential oil is made by steam-distilling the natural tree resin. Use only 100% pure therapeutic grade essential oils that are derived from plant sources instead of fragrance oils that may contain synthetic chemicals.
Fortunately we don’t have to rely on camel caravans to deliver these beneficial resins and oils. Frankincense and myrrh are typically sold by herbal companies in volatile (essential) oils, resin and powder form. It can be burned and compounded and used to make incense, perfume, and medicinal tinctures.
Frankincense essential oil can be diffused to relieve respiratory issues such as colds and asthma, or for its relaxing, focus enhancing aroma. Added to salves or carrier oils, it is used to treat dry skin and enhance the healing of skin abrasions. A drop of pure, therapeutic grade frankincense essential oil can be taken daily in a spoon of honey, coconut oil or in a glass of water to boost the immune system. Current research on frankincense and other essential oils are revealing promising findings. Certain species of frankincense have been found to aide digestion, effectively treat asthma, arthritis, ulcerative colitis, kill cancer cells and prevent the growth of tumors. In clinical trials, it was reported to reduce cerebral swelling in brain cancer patients.
Myrrh essential oil can be diffused to relieve respiratory issues, soothe mucus membranes or to enhance focusing and centering. Myrrh is used in various cosmetic and skin care applications to promote healthy, youthful skin. Myrrh is valued for promoting oral health and is used in oil pulling, mouthwash, throat lozenges and toothpaste. It is used to relieve sore throats, toothache, mouth ulcers, and as a breath freshener. A drop of pure, therapeutic grade myrrh essential oil can be taken orally in a spoon of honey, coconut oil or in a glass of water to bolster the immune system, and protect your body from infection. Myrrh has many beneficial properties: antioxidant, antiviral, antifungal, anti-inflammatory and is an expectorant. In recent studies myrrh was found to effectively kill breast and skin cancer cells.
Important: Use of frankincense or myrrh essential oil is not recommended when pregnant or nursing, or by those six years of age or under. This article is not a complete report of frankincense or myrrh, nor is it a guide to usage, and is not intended as medical advice.
About the Author:
Deborah Tukua is the editor of Journey to Natural Living and author of the healthy fresh from the blender recipe book, Naturally Sweet Blender Treats. She is a freelance writer for the Farmers' Almanac andChiropractic Economics magazine and author of the book, Marketing Strategies for Chiropractic Success.
All the Trees and Woody Plants of the Bible by David A. Anderson, Word Books, 1979.
Smith's Bible Dictionary by William Smith, L.L.D., Hendrickson Publishers, 2002
The Revell Bible Dictionary, Fleming H. Revell Company, 1990.
A diffuser and essential oils work in harmony like a gentle breeze dispersing the perfumed fragrance of honeysuckle flowers from the vine into the air. If you’ve ever rubbed rosemary or lavender leaves between your thumb and forefinger, the aroma that lingers on your fingertips is from the volatile oils (essential oils) released from a gland in the plant. Essential oils are the natural, aromatic extracts from botanicals. Plants contain varying compounds; extracted essential oils may have anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antifungal or antiseptic properties.
Diffusing pure, therapeutic essential oils to promote harmony and well-being of the body, mind, and spirit through the senses is referred to as Aromatherapy. As the scent reaches the smell receptors in the nose, it continues to travel along the nerves in the olfactory system to affect the limbic system in the brain, thus affecting the whole person. Diffusing essential oils can evoke a wide range of emotions, as varied as the fragrances emitted. They can have a calming or stimulating effect, improve mental clarity or help clear congested nasal passages. Diffusing essential oils also removes odors in the air, instead of masking them, and can destroy airborne germs and bacteria.
Choosing a Diffuser and Essential Oils
Essential oils and diffusers can be purchased from local health food stores, essential oil distributors and online shops. Synthetic fragrances are not a good substitute for pure, therapeutic essential oils. Dispersing artificial fragrances into your home can lead to allergies and asthmatic reactions. Always use pure, therapeutic grade essential oils.
Diffusers are available in a variety of shapes. Select a cool water diffuser for maximum health benefits. Heat can destroy the beneficial properties in essential oils. Ultrasonic, cool water diffusers use high frequency ultrasonic technology, instead of heat, to vibrate the water inside the unit, and release a fine, fragrant beneficial mist into the air.
Diffusers are easy to use; follow the manufacturer’s instructions, which often include essential oil blend recipes. Add water to the reservoir and several drops of one essential oil or a combination, and then plug the unit into a standard electrical outlet. Diffusers generally run about four hours. Ceramic and soapstone diffusers that use a tea candle, instead of electricity to warm the water and oil are also available. Be sure to use only beeswax tea candles.
DIY reed diffusers can be used with essential oils, although they emit very little fragrance. If buying a reed diffuser ensure that it contains no synthetic oils or artificial fragrances. Reed diffusers do not produce a therapeutic mist, like a cool water diffuser, but it can be used in the home to add a touch of fragrance naturally.
Where to Use Essential Oil Diffusers
Depending on the essential oils selected, diffusers can be used indoors in every room occupied in the home for many purposes: to refresh and invigorate, to soothe and calm, to eliminate unpleasant odors and kill germs, to purify the air, ease a headache, and enhance concentration when studying or working at a computer.
Diffusing Essential Oil Blend Recipes
Eucalyptus oil can be used to help ease the congestion that accompanies a cold. Many essential oil companies carry a breathe-easy blend of essential oils that contain: eucalyptus, lemon, peppermint and rosemary. Consult the manufacturer’s suggested care and instructions to determine how much water and oils to use in your diffuser. Many essential oil/diffuser supply companies include free recipes with their products. The following are provided by Now Solutions. www.nowfoods.com/nowsolutions
Mental Focus Blend - Add the following to water in a diffuser and enjoy: 3 drops of eucalyptus oil, 2 drops each of peppermint oil and tangerine oil.
Energizing Blend – Add the following oils to a diffuser with water and enjoy: 1 drop each of peppermint oil, and rosemary oil and 2 drops of cinnamon oil.
Purifying Blend – Add the following oils to a diffuser with water and enjoy: 1 drop each of tea tree oil and grapefruit oil and 10 drops of lemon oil.
Relaxing Blend – Add the following oils to a diffuser with water and enjoy: 10 drops of lavender oil, and 6 drops of chamomile oil.
Diffuse essential oils in your home for the holidays with these fragrant, seasonal blends.
Gingerbread Aroma - Add the following oils to a diffuser and enjoy: 3 drops of cinnamon, 1 drop of clove, 2 drops of ginger, 1 drop of nutmeg, and 2 drops of vanilla
Melt My Heart Mistletoe - Add the following oils to a diffuser and enjoy: 2 drops of atlas cedar, 3 drops of pine, 1 drop of juniper berry, 2 drops of rosemary, 1 drop of eucalyptus and 1 drop of ylang ylang.
About the Author:
Deborah Tukua is the editor of Journey to Natural Living and author of the healthy fresh from the blender recipe book, Naturally Sweet Blender Treats. She is a freelance writer for the Farmers' Almanac and Chiropractic Economics magazine and author of the book, Marketing Strategies for Chiropractic Success.
Living amidst acres of meadows, hills, woods, creeks, flowing springs and plenty of wildlife, beautiful things in nature surround and inspire me. Feathers are natural beauties that easily catch my eye. When designing or decorating with items from nature, whether its sea shells, acorns, leaves or feathers, I prefer to keep the design simple, so the focus remains on the natural beauty of the object. Today, we’re crafting two feather jewelry items: hair barrettes and jacket pins.
Striking guinea fowl feathers and vintage buttons were used to fashion the two hair barrettes shown in the above photograph. (See the top two items in the photograph to the left.) Although we used guinea fowl feathers for these barrettes, you can use barnyard chicken feathers or any attractive, wild feathers you find. The third item, pictured beneath the hair barrettes and in the other photograph are fashion pins. These look perfect on a winter coat or blazer. Our wild turkey feather pin adds a touch of exotic glamour to a leopard print sweater this fall and winter.
For the Hair Barrettes: Feathers, glue gun, glue sticks, hair barrettes, vintage buttons, opt.
For the Jacket Pins: guinea fowl or turkey feathers, clear adhesive, heavy cardstock, vintage buttons, opt., jewelry pins.
To make a feather barrette, select one feather slightly wider than the barrette. (See barrettes in left photograph above.) Affix hot glue or clear adhesive to the top of the barrette and press the feather into place. Allow to dry completely before using.
To replicate the feather and buttons barrette, (See second barrette shown in the photograph above) select two similar feathers and complimentary vintage buttons. Glue the buttons onto the center of the barrette and press into place. Glue one slender feather onto either side of the buttons and allow it to dry completely.
To craft the fan shaped guinea feather coat pin, (See pin front, the bottom item in the left photograph above) cut a half-moon from heavy cardstock or thin cardboard. Affix the pin to the back using clear adhesive. Glue several guinea feathers to the front side. Glue two vintage buttons using clear adhesive or a glue gun to the front center of the pin where the feathers meet.
To make a wild turkey feather coat pin (Pin front shown on leopard print sweater in above photograph), glue one fluffy feather on top of a larger one. Then glue the feathers to a large button. Glue the jewelry pin to the button back.
About the Author:
Deborah Tukua is the editor of Journey to Natural Living and the author of the healthy fresh from the blender recipe book, Naturally Sweet Blender Treats. She is a freelance writer for the Farmers' Almanac and Chiropractic Economics magazine and author of the book, Marketing Strategies for Chiropractic Success.
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