“What’s myrrh, mommy?”
“It’s a resin with a smokey and balsamic, sometimes bitter, scent. It’s used as a fragrance or to heal wounds.”
“Well, because it has anti-septic….”
“No, mummy! I mean, why would you give that to a baby?! Why not a teddy bear?”
“Er… cos he was a king, hun. You give luxury presents to a king.”
“Being a king sucks then. I’m pretty sure he would have preferred the teddy bear.”
“Me too, hun. Me too.”
Little me didn’t think the three Wise Men were very wise for bringing myrrh, frankincense and gold to baby Jesus. Yep, all pretty stuff, no doubt, but for a baby? I still can’t wrap my head around it.
But myrrh was always the gift that intrigued me the most. We all know what gold and frankincense are. But, myrrh? Who the heck had heard of it before?
What Is Myrrh?
Myrrh is a resin that comes from the Commiphora myrrha tree, which grows in the deserts of Africa and the Middle East. You’ll recognize it as soon as you see it. It’s that unique.
It has white flowers, few leaves and a knotted, twisted shape that cries. Well, not real tears obviously. But you have to cut the trunk to release the myrrh and then wait for it to dry. So, it looks like the tree is crying. Maybe it’s not happy we’re robbing it?
The yellowish orange oil extracted from the resin sometimes ends up in your lotions and potions. Especially perfumes and other fragrances. But, it has other uses, too.
What Does Myrrh Do For Skin?
Good question. Turns out myrrh hasn’t been studied all that much. Wonder why that is? Anyway, here’s what I’ve uncovered so far:
1. Myrrh Has Antioxidant Properties
Ok, this study was done on rabbits, so it’s not the most reliable. But, it seems that myrrh is a powerful antioxidant that can fight oxidative damage (you know, the one that causes wrinkles).
I think there’s some truth in here because pretty much all plants have antioxidants, so why should poor myrrh be the exception? But, I don’t think it’s the best antioxidant out there or that you absolutely need it.
But, if you’re already using myrrh, it’s good to know it may help keep your skin looking young, right?
Related: Common Antioxidants In Skincare Products: Which One Is Better?
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2. Myrrh Has Soothing Properties
Irritated skin? Myrrh can soothe it. I heard it’s particularly good to soothe chapped and cracked lips, but I haven’t tried that myself, yet.
3. Myrrh Has Antibacterial Properties
Myrrh has been used for centuries to heal wounds and prevent infections. And now science has confirmed what ancient wisdom already knew: the resin has antibacterial properties.
The Bottom Line
Myrrh ain’t the most popular ingredients out there and I can’t see it becoming one soon. But, if you want to add a little festive cheer to your beauty routine, tis’ the season to indulge in it.