Myrrh, similar to Frankincense, is perhaps best known in connection with spirituality, religion and, of course, the gifts of the three wise men. At Christmas time, the references to myrrh are inescapable. In fact, myrrh been used in religious rites since Ancient Egyptian times. We’ve all heard of myrrh but what is it exactly and how does it smell?
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What Is Myrrh?
Myrrh is a natural gum or resin harvested from Commiphora trees. The trees are native to Somalia, Oman, Yemen, Eritrea, and parts of Saudi Arabia.
The trees are small and thorny and myrrh is produced from bleeding their waxy sap. As it dries, the gum hardens into tears and the yellowish color darks as it ages.
What Does Myrrh Smell Like?
Myrrh is resinous with an aromatic woody and slight medicinal smell. It can range from bitter and astringent to warm and sweet. Similar to frankincense or pine, it’s a cooling scent.
The resin tends to have a smokier and sweeter smell than essential oils which distilled through steam and have a more medicinal quality.
Benefits of Myrrh
While myrrh is most known for its uses in Ancient Egyptian, Jewish, Christian, and Islamic religious ceremonies, its benefits have been used in traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic medicines and are now being scientifically tested.
Myrrh helps reduce swelling and inflammation and kills bacteria which leads to a number of applications. One of the most common is toothpaste, mouthwashes and skincare but it is also being tested for use for indigestion, pain reduction, and parasitic infections.
Best Myrrh Fragrances to Try
Myrrh was among the earliest perfumes used in prayer, in fact the religious burning of incense gave perfume its name (per fumum — through smoke). It’s still a popular ingredient in many modern Oriental fragrances.
Related Post: What Does Frankincense Smell Like?