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Health Benefits of Frankincense and Myrrh

frankincense tree

Tis the season to write about frankincense and myrrh resins.

These well-known ancient plants are mentioned in many stories such as the Three Wise Men (Magi).

I say, there has to be a lot of truth to the ‘said’ medicinal qualities if the herbs have been utilized for centuries. In truth, the resins of that time were valued more than gold.

There are even stories that stem back before the Bible. Both frankincense and myrrh have been traded in North Africa and the Middle East for over 5,000 years.


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Brief History

frankincense basket color

It is thought that the Assyrians and Babylonians burned the resins during religious ceremonies. As well, the ancient Egyptians bought huge shiploads of the resins from the Phoenicians. The Egyptians used the resins for incense, salves for wounds and sores, perfume and insect repellent. The resins were also key ingredients for embalming.

Rendering the Hebrew Bible, frankincense and myrrh were used in the holy incense. It was ritually burned in Jerusalem’s sacred temples during ancient times. Additionally, the ancient Romans and Greeks imported enormous amounts of the resins. The resins were burned as incense, for various ailments and used during cremations.

During this time, medical experts recognized and documented the numerous medicinal properties such as analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, indigestion, chronic coughs and halitosis. Even the Greek physician Hippocrates mentioned myrrh more often than any other plant reference.

Health Benefits

Frankincense and myrrh are in the same plant family (Burseraceae). They are small shrub-like trees that grow in dry climates such as India, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Ethiopia, Somalia and Oman. The resin of both plants has been used medicinally and for spiritual practices for over centuries.




Boswellia or Frankincense is derived from Boswellia tree. It is mostly used in incense, perfume and aromatherapy.

On the other hand, frankincense has a long list of medicinal properties:

    • Tonic
    • Asthma
    • Diuretic
    • Sedative
    • Digestive
    • Antiseptic
    • Astringent
    • Disinfectant
    • Expectorant
    • Reduce indigestion

And more………

  • Reduces boils and acne
  • Helps fade stretch marks
  • High anti-aging properties
  • Strengthen teeth and gums
  • Strengthens immune system
  • Prevents and eliminates gas
  • Heals wounds and cuts faster
  • Relieves depression and anxiety
  • Emenagogue (stimulates blood flow)
  • Reduces obstructed and delayed menstruation
  • Antimicrobial that helps fight infection of the teeth and gums


Side Effects

According to WebMD, frankincense seems safe for use by the majority of adults. It applied to the skin; it may cause irritation in some people. Since there is not enough known about the medicinal use of frankincense, it should be used cautiously during pregnancy and breast feeding.



Commiphora myrrha or Myrrh is extracted from the gummy resin of the Commiphora Mukul tree. It has a natural medicinal aroma that is warm, earthy and woody. Today it is often found in skin creams, toothpaste and other cosmetic products.


However, this amazing resin has many other medicinal uses:

  • Cough
  • Ulcers
  • Asthma
  • Itching
  • Gingivitis
  • Ringworm
  • Toothache
  • Joint pain
  • Bronchitis
  • Indigestion
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion
  • Cold sores
  • Antioxidant


  • Mouth sores
  • Amenorrhea
  • Canker sores
  • Athlete’s foot
  • Chapped skin
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Dysmenorrhea
  • Conjunctivitis (pinkeye)
  • Sore and bleeding gums
  • Halitosis (bad breath)

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Side Effects

According to WebMD, high amounts of myrrh can potentially cause heart irregularities and kidney irritation. Moreover, other possible side effects include uterine bleeding, lower blood sugar levels, raise a fever and increase systemic inflammation.


woman and incense baskets


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Disclaimer: The statements enclosed herein have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The products and information mentioned in this article are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Information and statements made are for education purposes and are not intended to replace the advice of a healthcare professional. Before starting any diet, seek expert advice.

Picture credit

Myrrh incense holder on tree: Fragrantica
Frankincense: tiffany bridge via photopin cc
Burning incense: amanda farah via photopin cc
Three wise men: TheRevSteve via photopin cc
Frankincense tree: Brangdon J via photopin cc
Boy holding frankincense basket: Rammy Storm via photopin cc
Woman and incense baskets: Wagner T. Cassimiro “Aranha” via photopin cc


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