As some of the readers of this blog know, I have several facets to me besides that of an artist. One of those facets is that I am a herbalist. This means that I have trained in herbalism which provides me with knowledge of medicinal herbs, how to prepare them and their effect on the body and various disorders.
My herbal side has slipped a bit in recent years as art has taken over, but I still strongly believe in the power of herbs to treat illness and the holistic approach to traditional medicine that western medicine often lacks. I also still grow and use medicinal herbs in preference to most over the counter medicines.
While looking for something entirely different today, I rearranged some shelves and found some myrhh, yes one of the classic Christmas gifts supposed brought to Jesus by the three wise men.
Myrhh is an important resin the herbal world. Myrhh is a resin which is produced by a small, spiny tree or shrub with knotted branches; a member of the same Burseraceae botanical plant family as Frankincense (Boswellia carteri), myrrh and frankincense essential oils have similar therapeutic properties in aromatherapy use.
In Ancient Rome myrrh was priced at five times as much as frankincense Roman funerals to mask the smell emanating from charring corpses. It was said that the Roman Emperor Nero burned a year's worth of myrrh at the funeral of his wife, Poppaea. Pliny the Elder refers to myrrh as being one of the ingredients of perfumes, and specifically the "Royal Perfume" of the Parthians. He also says myrrh was used to fumigate wine jars before bottling. Archeologists have found at least two ostraca from Malkata (from New Kingdom Egypt, ca. 1390 to 1350 B.C.) that were lined with a shiny black or dark brown deposit that analysis showed to be chemically closest to myrrh. The Romans were known to use myrrh as a premier additive to wine, though the latter was far more popular.