Connecting with Myrrh (Myrrha commiphora)
I. Experiment with scent.
Burn the resin or diffuse the oil: for centuries, Myrrh has been used for purification, consecration, and beautification.
(Or enhance your winter celebrations; Myrrh has long been an incense of choice along with its companion Frankincense.)
II. Curl up with some spellbinding stories, or ink some love letters.
Myrrh has a strong connection with desire that goes back to antiquity. The story most connected with Myrrh is that of Myrrha, who fell in love with her own father. While that might not sound like an enticing storyline, the Roman poet Ovid’s mythological retelling in the 1st century BC sheds light on Myrrh’s herbal past: come listen as Orpheus sings the tale.
The resin also shows up in many love spells in ancient papyri and Myrrh was very often used as the ink in these spells (Betz, 1992). Today Islamic schools in Kenya use myrrh ink (Soy, 2015). Want to make ink of your own? For some recipes, Google how to make herbal inks; or, if you do #1, after you burn the resin, grind it down to a paste to be used as the ink base; or simply pour a bit of your myrrh tincture into your ready-made ink.
III. Wash your mouth out.
While this gum resin—a strong vulnerary with anti-inflammatory and astringent properties—is much more than a “go-to” herb for dental health, it’s pretty miraculous (get it? myrrh-a-culous) for gum issues and for clearing up canker sores. It’s also easy to come across in natural oral care products, but you can experiment with diluting myrrh tincture to make your own mouthwashes, too.
Want other ideas? Get a (free) copy of 10 Ways to Connect with Herbs.
Want to know a little more about Myrrh? Get started by visiting the Herbal Etymology Database.
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Betz, H. D. (1992). The Greek magical papyri in translation, including the Demotic spells, volume 1. 2nd edition. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Soy, A. (2015). “Frankincense and myrrh: modern day story of the gifts of Christmas.” BBC. Available here.
N.B. Note that Myrrh may create allergic reactions in some individuals. The author is not responsible for readers’ herbal use; I am a doctor of philosophy, not of orthodox medicine. None of this information is written with the intention of giving medical advice, prescribing, or treating health conditions. Always do your own research on herbs before using them, employ common sense, and/or consult with your health practitioner(s).